Saskatchewan patients needing medical imaging procedures will benefit from a new mobile magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner that will be temporarily deployed in Regina in 2024 for a 24-month period, while more permanent plans are underway. 

The Government of Saskatchewan is investing $2.4 million to install and lease the mobile MRI to increase capacity by approximately 5,000 patients over the next two years. A request for proposals (RFP) process will be initiated in early 2024 to determine a vendor for the unit. The unit will be temporarily installed at the Regina General Hospital (RGH) and then relocated to the Pasqua Hospital once the infrastructure to house the unit is in place, providing short-term relief and greater efficiency in Regina. 

“We are committed to reducing wait times for MRI scans that are needed to determine next steps for patients’ diagnosis and treatment,” Health Minister Everett Hindley said. “With the increase in capacity, we ensure patients are receiving timely health care interventions. Work is ongoing to permanently increase medical imaging volumes provincially, to sustain these efficiencies long term.”  

With the implementation of the mobile MRI unit, the Pasqua Hospital will be able to perform hospital-based MRI scans typically sent to the RGH, as well as provide more options for referrals from the southern half of the province. We have seen success in Saskatoon with shortened wait times for MRI patients, and this additional capacity in Regina will ensure patients in that community and southern Saskatchewan benefit from the additional capacity. 

“Having another MRI in Regina will allow the Saskatchewan Health Authority to see more patients from southern Saskatchewan and address the increasing demand for this important service at our other facilities,” Saskatchewan Health Authority Provincial Clinical and Support Services Vice President Bryan Witt said. “Using an MRI is becoming increasingly important in the diagnosis and assessment of many different conditions including stroke, breast cancer, and cardiac function among many others. Having an MRI located directly in our hospitals also provides more access to MRI for our inpatients who increasingly rely on this imaging as part of their hospital journey.” 

The mobile unit is expected to be operational by summer 2024 to provide hospital-based MRI scans.