Update on overdue MRI review coming soon

Eastern Health is promising to have an update soon on its review of MRI wait times that it originally said would be completed two weeks ago.

Four weeks ago Health Minister Susan Sullivan said it would be done in two weeks

Eastern Health is promising to have an update soon on its review of MRI wait times that the provincial health minister  originally said would be completed two weeks ago.

It's not clear if the update from the health authority will be a status report or the completed review itself.  

Health Minister Susan Sullivan says she directed Eastern Health to review its wait lists for MRI tests. (CBC)
Health Minister Susan Sullivan announced the review after a woman on the Burin Peninsula told CBC News she was waiting too long for an MRI to help determine if her cancer can be removed.

Sullivan said the review would take two weeks …Liberal leader Dwight Ball wants to know what has happened.

"Four weeks are up now. So we're looking for the answers," he said Friday.

Both Ball and NDP leader Lorraine Michael said they have a hard time believing minister Sullivan's offer of a two-week review was sincere.

MRI wait times are a well-documented problem right across Canada.

Michael said a comprehensive review would require long-term planning and co-ordination that doesn't appear to be in place right now.

"I would love to hear her saying they're looking at that possibility of really co-ordinating patients being able to go around the island to different machines so that the wait times are lessened," said Michael.

A spokesperson for Sullivan said the minister is waiting for the update and looking forward to it.

Concerns about MRI wait times were highlighted by Fortune resident Sylvia Letournel, who was scheduled Jan. 12 to have an MRI scan that had originally been scheduled for June.

Letournel, who has a family history of bowel cancer, had her appointment rescheduled to an earlier date after she told CBC News that she belived she was waiting too long for an MRI.  She was pleased that her appointment was changed but wonders whether others are not as fortunate.

"Eastern Health should've done this long ago," Letournel said in January reacting to news that the province had launched a review.

In a statement Jan. 11, Eastern Health said that it was "totally unacceptable" that Letournel was told she would need to wait until June to learn whether her cancer was operable.

Sullivan said she had questions about what motivated Eastern Health to act on the case of Letournel, who was interviewed by CBC in January.

"If it's because of media that this has happened, then that's absolutely unacceptable," she said.