To help address increasing demand and wait times, the Saskatchewan government is investing to add capacity for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) services in its two largest cities.
Mayfair Diagnostics will start delivering publicly-funded MRI services via a new machine in Saskatoon and continue providing them with an extension in Regina.
The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) has awarded the contract, which annually calls for 10,000 MRI scans.
“In the last three years, we’ve increased capacity for MRIs by about 11 per cent but the demand, the referrals, has increased by 18 per cent so our wait lists have gotten longer… we need to rectify that,” Health Minister Jim Reiter said on Wednesday. “Certainly our MRI wait list is too long and we think this is… one of many steps forward to help improve that.
Mayfair plans to see its first patients in Saskatoon’s clinic on Aug. 4, 2020.
Regina’s clinic has been providing radiology services since 2011 and delivering MRI scans since 2014.
To receive an MRI at Mayfair, patients need to consult with a doctor, who will review their symptoms, determine if one is required and then refer them, according to the company.
“We rely on our officials dealing with the medical community, the Saskatchewan Medical Association, with doctors, to ensure that there aren’t any unnecessary referrals but in the meantime, it’s important that we have capable capacity and, again, that’s what today’s about,” Reiter said.
The three-year contract with the third-party provider is worth $14 million.
Saskatchewan NDP Leader and family doctor Ryan Meili said last week that the contract with Mayfair Diagnostics pulls economic opportunities from the province. He also said the government passed over a bid from a group of Saskatoon radiologists to go with the Calgary-based company.
The province said a fairness consultant was hired to oversee the request for proposal process.
— With files from Anna McMillan