Health Minister Ted Flemming announced plans for 3T MRI for Saint John

Health Minister Ted Flemming announced plans for 3T MRI for the Saint John Regional Hospital on Tuesday. (CBC)

The Saint John Regional Hospital will become home to Atlantic Canada's first hospital-based 3T magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner through a new agreement, announced on Tuesday.

The provincial government, the Horizon Health Network and Saint John Regional Hospital Foundation will partner on the project.

‚ÄčThe foundation has launched a campaign to fundraise and donate $1.5 million toward the $4 million MRI machine.

The installation of the scanner will put the Saint John Regional Hospital in a position to deliver world-class health care to all New Brunswickers requiring access to MRI technology, providing reduced wait times and more accurate treatment for patients in programs such as oncology and neurosurgery, officials said.

Magnets in MRI systems are rated using a unit of measure known as a Tesla (T).

hi-mri-machine-20120718

The Saint John Regional Hospital Foundation had offered to put up $1 million for a 3T MRI unit in 2012, but the provincial government rejected the offer.

Saint John doctors have been calling for a 3T scanner for years. They contend 3T machines produce higher resolution and finer imaging, which results in better diagnoses and better surgery and treatment plans for patients with conditions such as brain tumours.

In 2012, the provincial government faced criticism over its decision to purchase a less powerful, 1.5T MRI for the Saint John hospital for $1.8 million.

The Saint John Regional Hospital Foundation had offered to put up the extra $1 million for the more advanced 3T unit for the city, but the provincial government rejected that offer.