Windsor Regional Hospital first to get provincially funded PET/CT scanner

Windsor Regional Hospital will be the recipient of a new PET/CT scanner through funding from the provincial government.

Hospital CEO says new scanner will cut down on wait times and travel

Windsor Regional Hospital CEO David Musyj speaks about the new PET/CT scanner that will be set up at the Met Campus and can support 600 patients every year. (Meg Roberts/CBC)

Windsor Regional Hospital will be the first-ever recipient of a new PET/CT scanner through funding from the provincial government.

The new equipment will be paid for by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and will support 600 patients a year.

The scanner will mainly serve cancer patients, but will also support cardiac and neurology patients, according to hospital CEO David Musyj. It is expected to be fully operational in 2018.

PET, which stands for Positron Emission Tomography, uses a form of radioactive sugar to produce images.

"This is an amazing announcement for the patients we serve in the Erie St Clair LHIN and beyond," wrote Musyj in a statement following the announcement. "In addition, it is always great to be first!"

The CEO explained that traditionally scanners had to be funded locally by donations or hospital operating costs, but they will now be part of the Cancer Care Ontario provincial funding process.

The scanner will be located at the Met Campus and will share a waiting room with the MRI. 

"There's more and more cancers where we find that PET/CT provides a lot of good, unique important information our previous imaging couldn't give us," said Dr. Sindu Kanjeekal, WRH's chief of oncology.

Dr. Sindu Kanjeekal is the chief of oncology at Windsor Regional Hospital. (Meg Roberts/CBC)

"It adds to all the information that we can gather about a patient, and then it directs [us to] the correct treatment," she added.

Musyj said news of the new state-of-the-art piece of equipment is just the start of similar announcements that will "naturally start to happen" as the hospital moves toward setting up its acute care facility — once that new location is built, the scanner will be moved there.

"By developing a long-term strategy for the PET/CT scans in the province, and through working with our health care partners, Ontario is strengthening its commitment to providing patients with high-quality care for all Ontarians including diagnostic services where early detection can save lives," stated Dr. Helena Jaczek, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care in a media release.

One other scanner in Windsor

There is currently one other scanner at Precision Diagnostic Imaging in Windsor, but Musyj said having the same equipment at the hospital will "mitigate wait times and travel."

The ministry said Cancer Care Ontario will be leading a long-term strategy focused on providing PET/CT scanning across the province based on service needs, patient referral patterns the age of machines and facility capacity.