Earlier this month the CAR sounded the alarm to national news media, alerting the public of the significant backlog for medical imaging in Canada. With the latest COVID-19 variant infiltrating the healthcare system, Canadians requiring medical imaging for various conditions are once again being told they must wait, as hospitals fill with COVID-19 patients.
For the second time in two years, non-urgent and elective surgeries and procedures are being cancelled across the country due to provincial directives or a lack of health human resources. The further cancellation and postponement of medical imaging, on top of an already lengthy backlog, will most certainly mean some tests will come too late, and some patients will never recover from otherwise treatable conditions.
As radiologists are keenly aware, prior to the pandemic, Canadians were already waiting an average of 50 to 82 days for CT scans and 89 days for MRI imaging. This is 20 to 52 days longer than the recommended 30-day wait time. Due to COVID-19 disruptions, waitlists continue to increase, putting patients with non-emergent conditions at risk. In addition, radiologists, medical radiation technologists and sonographers alike are experiencing high levels of burnout.
The CAR took this opportunity to reach out publicly to describe the severity of the situation by issuing a press release on January 12 advocating for an investment of $1.5 billion in medical imaging equipment and health human resources. As a result, over 560 media stories were generated and showcased on various news outlets across the country including the Globe and Mail, CTV News, La Presse and Global News.
“We could not be more pleased with the reaction of the media. This coverage provided an opportunity for the radiology community to be heard and for Canadians to understand the severity of the situation. It also provided an occasion for the CAR to once again reach out to MPs to communicate the need for an investment in imaging,” said Dr. Soulez, President, CAR.
CAR is seeking immediate action to reduce wait times!
The @liberal_party election promise was to invest $6B to address wait times. CAR is urging an investment in medical imaging be included Federal #Budget2022. #WaitTimes #cdnpoli https://t.co/lvKihrcAAM
— The Canadian Association of Radiologists (@CARadiologists) January 12, 2022
During the 2021 Election, the Liberal government recognized this urgency and committed to invest $6 billion in wait times, specifically mentioning MRI. With the Federal Budget unveiling only a month away, the timing is ideal. The CAR is hopeful that we will see an allocation of funding from the Federal government in medical imaging.
Both Dr. Gilles Soulez and Dr. Ania Kielar, Vice-President, CAR were the key spokespeople for this campaign. Their leadership is greatly appreciated, and they did a stellar job of representing their peers across the country.