MRI wait times in Manitoba growing: Report

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WINNIPEG — Manitoba’s auditor general says people are waiting longer for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) tests, and not enough is being done to prevent unnecessary tests from clogging the system.

In a 43-page report, auditor general Norm Ricard says as of last June, the average wait time for MRI tests was 23 weeks — almost twice as along as the wait five years earlier.

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The report says there are few safeguards in place to prevent unnecessary tests, even though another study found up to 20 per cent are inappropriate or not needed.

Ricard also says hospitals and other centres did not track MRI wait times by their assigned priority level, and fewer than half of urgent scans were completed within targeted times.

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The auditor also says some patients have received faster service because they were covered by private insurance or workers compensation.

The report contains 24 recommendations, including standardized request forms for MRI tests and a centralized system for processing requests.

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