NDP will cut health care wait times by investing in 4 new MRI machines

NDP Leader John Horgan on Monday promised to build on the BC NDP’s progress to cut health care wait times by investing in four new MRI machines.

“Ensuring British Columbians have faster access to quality health care has never been more important,” said Horgan. “[B.C. Liberal Leader] Andrew Wilkinson’s plan to hand the wealthy and the well-connected a big tax giveaway would mean fewer resources for hospitals and longer wait times for people. Those are the wrong priorities, especially right now.”

Horgan made the comments in front of the Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria, home to one of eight new MRIs around the province that have helped cut wait times for exams in half. A new, sate-of-the-art PET/CT at the BC Cancer Centre is also helping ensure people on Vancouver Island can get cancer diagnostic services closer to home.

“Thanks to the progress John Horgan has made, thousands of people on Vancouver Island can now access the care they need without having to travel to the mainland,” said Grace Lore, the BC NDP candidate for Victoria-Beacon Hill. “Now is not the time to go back to a government that puts the wealthy and well-connected before the services families count on.”

Despite doubling the amount families paid for medical premiums, the old BC Liberal government allowed wait times for MRIs to become the longest in Canada. Horgan warned that Wilkinson’s plan to cut $3 billion in taxes for wealthy speculators and BC’s biggest businesses would put the BC NDP’s progress to reduce wait times at risk. 

LATER in Richmond, Horgan said that in addition to cutting wait times for people in Richmond, almost 25,000 more people got an MRI last year across the Fraser Health Region under Horgan – a 50 per cent increase from 2016/17 under the BC Liberals.

“It’s never been more important for people in Richmond and across the province to access quality health care close to where they live,” said Horgan. “Now is not the time for Andrew Wilkinson’s plan to hand the wealthy and well-connected a big tax giveaway that would mean fewer resources for hospitals and longer wait times for people. We can’t afford that.” 

The NDP said Horgan and the NDP government took decisive action to help people with a new tower for the Richmond Hospital, moving forward with a plan to build a new state-of-the-art emergency department and intensive care unit.

It pointed out that when asked about Horgan’s plan to bring more services and better care for people in Richmond, star BC Liberal candidate Jas Johal refused to get behind the project, suggesting it wasn’t a priority over saving money.

“For a government to make announcements today and say they’re going to spend millions and millions of dollars in the future — that’s all fine and good, but the revenue at this point has just gone off a cliff.” (Jas Johal, Global News, July 2, 2020) 

Quick facts on MRI wait times:

  • Under the BC Liberals, BC had the longest wait times for an MRI in Canada.
  • Northern Health had the lowest MRI rates per capital in the entire country.
  • Horgan and the BC NDP have cut MRI wait-times in half, by 125 days. Half of people now get their MRI within 47 days.
  • The BC NDP government increased the number of MRIs performed each year each year by 45% from 173,678 to 252,531 last year.
  • A re-elected BC NDP government will add four new MRI machines in the next year at: Ridge Meadows in Maple Ridge, Langley Memorial Hospital, Vancouver General Hospital, and St. Paul’s Hospital.