Collingwood hospital to be equipped with first MRI scanner as part of $20M provincial investment
As Ontario's health care system continues to struggle with staffing shortages and the impact of a tri-demic of respiratory illnesses, the Ford government is hoping new MRI machines will help to ease some challenges.
The province is investing $20 million to build 27 new MRI scanners in rural Ontario hospitals, including Collingwood General and Marine Hospital (CGMH), which will get its first MRI machine.
"Five thousand people a year are being taken from this hospital to other communities for these scans," said Collingwood Mayor Yvonne Hamlin. "That's a lot of people travelling some distance to get much-needed care."
CGMH President and CEO Michael Lacroix hailed the announcement as a means of helping to take away some of the stress felt by patients.
"The travel burden that's been placed on patients and their caregivers has been immense over the years," Lacroix said. "This will ensure that residents from our servicing municipalities have the ability to stay close to home."
While welcomed, Lacroix admits the new machine is only a small component to fixing the challenges of an aging and cramped hospital.
CGMH is currently within phase 2 of its expansion plan with its area municipalities, Collingwood, Wasaga Beach, the Blue Mountains and Clearview Township.
"The need for medical services, availability to people who are moving here, there's been a huge demand, an increase by the growth," said Clearview Township Mayor Doug Measures. "We're working together to try to bring this hospital through as soon as possible."
Deputy Premier and Health Minister Sylvia Jones was in Collingwood Monday to make the announcement.
Jones confirmed the province is waiting on the hospital's phase 2 proposals to move onto the next step of funding.
"It's part of our commitment to improving healthcare across Ontario," Jones said. "In the current pathway, we have over 50 different hospital plans and projects."
According to the Collingwood hospital, the tentative timeline to begin construction on a new building is by 2027.
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