Province launches MRI strategy, funds increased number of scans

Demand for medical imaging in B.C. has never been greater. Premier Christy Clark and Health Minister Terry Lake today announced a new four-year strategy for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) services to help health authorities increase patient access to MRI scans.

“With an ageing population, health authorities face increasing demand for medical imaging services,” said Premier Clark. “This is what having a strong, growing economy allows us to do – invest in a new strategy to address waitlists throughout the province, and continue to deliver the services British Columbians depend on.”

“We recognize that access to MRIs has been a challenge and this strategy will make sure we better meet the health care needs of British Columbians now and into the future,” said Health Minister Lake. “By improving how we manage MRI diagnostics, we can provide families with peace of mind that comes with faster diagnosis and treatment.”

The MRI strategy takes a two-pronged approach. The first priority is to increase the number of scans—adding up to 65,000 more annually by the end of four years to help address increasing demand and existing wait lists. The ministry and health authorities will also review the governance, service delivery and funding models for MRIs, to ensure an accessible, sustainable medical imaging system.

“We see the difference access to MRIs make in the lives of patients each and every day,” said Dr. Stuart Silver, clinical section head and acting medical director, medical imaging services, Island Health. “On the ground, we look forward to the strategy enhancing patient care and improving speed of diagnosis to get people back to their lives.”

Health authorities are currently finalizing plans for increasing their MRI volumes, including how quickly increases can be put in place. Health authorities have committed to increase the number of MRI exams performed annually by 45% by year four of the strategy. Budget allocations for MRIs will increase correspondingly, providing up to an additional $20 million in annual funding for these services by year four. Health authorities will also be developing plans for improving timeliness, ensuring appropriate referrals for service and increasing geographic access to MRIs in the future.

MRI scan volumes will be increased by extending operating hours for MRI machines, so more patients can be served each day. This means that some patients will be scheduled to receive their scans during evening or night-time hours. Health authorities may also contract private facilities to perform additional procedures.

British Columbia’s strong economic growth and fiscal discipline have enabled government to return a dividend to British Columbians by investing to further improve patient access throughout B.C. Over the past decade, B.C. has acquired 16 new MRI scanners for hospitals, for a total of 25 – a 178% increase. This has helped B.C. significantly increase the number of MRIs done in the public system over the past 10 years from 67,030 in 2004-05 to over 143,000 in 2014-15.

Health authorities will also provide more evidence-based guidance to physicians to ensure they order the best type of scan to meet each patient’s specific medical needs. MRI scans are important diagnostic tools; however different types of medical imaging can be used to diagnose certain conditions. In some cases, an x-ray, ultrasound, Computed tomography (CT) or Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan may be more appropriate.

Ensuring the right advanced imaging service is provided to British Columbians in a timely fashion will help manage wait lists and provide for smarter, more effective service at the patient level. Today’s announcement supports government’s priority of timely and appropriate access to needed health services through a truly integrated health care system that works for patients.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a safe and painless test that uses a magnetic field and radio waves to produce detailed pictures of the body’s organs and structures. MRIs are used to diagnose a number of medical conditions, including abnormalities of the brain, as well as tumours, cysts and soft-tissue injuries in other parts of the body.

Is Surrey becoming a capital of crime? Five targeted shootings in last two days

Police wants your help

Statement from Officer in Charge regarding shooting investigations

Over the past two days Surrey has experienced 5 shootings and 1 male from Langley was found with injuries sustained from an unrelated shooting on the Surrey/Langley border.
These incidents are of great concern and I want to assure the public that we are actively investigating each of these files. The 6 occurrences resulted in 3 injured males who all attended hospital and have since been released. The victims have been primarily uncooperative with police.
This morning a briefing was held with our investigative units as well as other partner agencies. At this point, we believe that all 6 of these shootings were targeted, and 4 are related. The most recent shooting on a residence last night and the Langley male that was shot are not believed to be connected to the first 4 shootings.
The 4 related shootings involve people who are involved in low level drug crime. From the intelligence that has been gathered so far, there is nothing to indicate that these incidents are tied to organized gangs. However, these people are clearly violent and have shown a complete disregard for public safety.
This is a critical time in our investigation and we are asking anyone with information on any of these events to contact the Surrey RCMP or Crime Stoppers if you wish to remain anonymous.
Specifically, our investigators are
interested in knowing more about the activities of 5 males who are believed to be involved in the 4 related shootings:
• Pardip BRAR (Delta resident, age 20)
• Indervir JOHAL (Surrey resident, age 21)
• Amrit KULAR (Surrey resident, age 20)
• Pardeep SINGH (Surrey resident, age 20)
• Sameh MOHAMMED (Surrey resident, age 20)
All 5 of these individuals are known to police.
In addition, we are looking for 3 vehicles that are believed to be associated to the males and shootings:
• Grey Volkswagon PASSAT or JETTA
• Black ACURA TL
• White sports utility vehicle
While we have engaged other law enforcement partners as we typically do during investigations like these, the Surrey RCMP have retained carriage of these investigations. I will reiterate that, at this point, we do not believe that any of these events are tied to high level gang activity.
For those involved in these shootings or people who know them – I ask you to think about the safety of your family, friends and the general public. The manner that you have chosen to resolve this dispute is careless and unacceptable.

For the citizens of Surrey, I offer you my commitment that we are working extremely hard on all of these events – not only to solve the cases that have occurred but to safeguard against any further incidents.
-Surrey RCMP Officer in Charge Chief Superintendent Bill Fordy
• On March 10 at approximately 4:00AM Surrey RCMP were advised that a male had been dropped off at a local hospital suffering of gunshot injuries. Police attended the hospital and obtained the victims details but were unable to identify the origin of the man’s injuries. The 20 year old man was treated and released from hospital.
• On March 10, at 6:45PM Surrey RCMP was advised by BC Ambulance Service that they were on route to a shooting with a male victim in the area of 127th Street and 78 Avenue. The victim, a 20 year-old Surrey man, was transported to a local hospital where he was treated for his injuries. The male has since been released from hospital.
• On March 10, at 11:00PM Surrey RCMP received several reports of gunshots heard in the area of 128 Street and 76 Avenue. Police immediately attended the area but all parties had departed. Police were told by witnesses that 4 dark colored vehicles were seen departing the area at a high rate of speed immediately after the sounds of gunshots. Police were able to recover some evidence from this location.
• March 11 at 1:30PM Surrey RCMP responded to a report of a white SUV type vehicle that was seen chasing a black Acrua at a high rate of speed and once in the area of 132 Street and 80th Avenue the occupants of the white SUV shot at the black Acura. Both vehicles fled the area immediately. Police recovered shell casing from this area.
• On March 11 at approximately 11:50PM Surrey RCMP responded to a call regarding a male with a gunshot injury in the area of 193 Street and 80th Avenue. That male was transported to hospital to be treated for his injuries. The male was identified as a 28 year old Langley man. It has not been determined as to where that shooting took place. This incident appears to be drug related and targeted.
• On March 12 at approximately 3:30AM Surrey RCMP responded to a report of shots fired at a residence in the area of 94 Avenue and 126 Street. Once police arrived all parties had departed, there have been no reports of injuries related to this shooting. Police do not feel this instance is related to the shootings for the 10th of March. Police have recovered evidence related to shots being fired from the area.