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Public’s support necessary to refurbish region’s MRI machine

Pictured with the current MRI machine at QHC-BG is charge MRI technologist Terry Lightle and MRI technologist Tracy Lightle.

Pictured with the current MRI machine is charge MRI technologist Terry Lightle and MRI technologist Tracy Lightle.

Quinte Health Care’s four hospitals are joining forces to raise more than $1 million needed to refurbish the Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machine located in Belleville.

The hospital foundations in Picton, Trenton, Belleville and North Hastings launched the Re-Imagine Campaign to keep the vital diagnostic service available. The MRI has reached the end of its lifespan and all the working parts, including the computer and software, but excluding the magnet, must be replaced.

A surge in patient volume and operational hours resulted in increased wear and tear and is the reason for the upgrade. MRI volumes within QHC have increased by 30 per cent over the past four years.

The foundations are reaching out to patients and their families who have received exceptional care at QHC hospitals to pull out all the stops to raise just over $1M for this replacement with BGHF fundraising for $481,000 or 47.35 per cent, TMHF fundraising for $324,000 or 31.90 per cent and the PECMHF fundraising for $170,000 or 16.79 per cent. The NHFDC will use unrestricted funds to pay for their $40,000, a 3.96 per cent share. Each portion was based on a percentage of the number of patients in each catchment area who use the MRI.

“PECM Hospital Foundation’s mission is to raise funds to advance health care for the people of Prince Edward County. Nearly 1,300 County residents benefit every year from the MRI machine located at Belleville General Hospital, so we are pleased to be partnering with Trenton, North Hastings and Belleville to refurbish this essential piece of diagnostic equipment,” said Monica Alyea, chair of the PECMH Foundation.

MRI is a medical imaging technique used in radiology to scan the anatomy and the physical processes of the body in both health and disease. MRI scanners use strong magnetic fields and radio waves to form images of the body.

Originally installed in 2008 and purchased through the Tri-County Healthcare Foundation’s Imagine Campaign, the MRI took over 9,290 images last year. The wait times to access QHC’s MRI machine are among the best in the province at nine days while the provincial target is 28.

Medical equipment is expensive and has a short lifespan. Unlike many medical costs, equipment is not funded by the government and it is expected the community finances the replacement of medical equipment through the work of hospital Foundations.

The upgrade will improve the image quality with enhanced imaging to diagnose smaller abnormalities. Scanning time is to be faster and quieter. The patient table is moveable with better ergonomics thus improving safety for those with mobility issues.

The magnet, which is still intact, will be re-installed resulting in significant cost savings since the entire unit doesn’t have to be replaced, which would have cost more than $2M.

The renovation is slated for this winter with downtime expected to take three weeks. Any emergency scans in the interim will be accommodated at Kingston General Hospital.

“Our only goal is to make care the best it can be for everyone who needs the services available at BGH,” said Peter Knudsen, Foundation Chair. “We are very pleased to join QHC’s other funding partners to provide the hospital with the new MRI. As business people we applaud the decision to reuse the existing magnet and save $1 million. As health care users we are excited about the many improvements to care the new MRI will make possible.”

“TMHF is committed to funding tomorrow’s health care today. In our ongoing support of the area’s MRI, the TMH Foundation is pleased to assist financially in the upgrade of this valuable diagnostic tool,” said Phil Wild, chair of the TMH Foundation.

“Using funds donated for the purchase or replacement of equipment is essential to the delivery of health care for the patients of North Hastings. By accessing funds that have not been restricted we are able to financially support this campaign. Last year over 300 patients from North Hastings benefitted by having access to the MRI machine at the Belleville site,” said Kim Bishop, chair of the NHFDC.

To make a donation, contact Penny Rolinski PECMHF executive director at 613-476-1008 ext. 4503 or email or visit

Filed Under: Local News

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  1. wevil says:

    very true Dennis

  2. Dennis Fox says:

    After recently going through this MRI procedure and waiting months for it – I can tell you that we need more than one machine in one hospital. This is a basic service that people of this region need. While I understand that such machinery is paid for by community fund raising, it nonetheless should make us all the more cheesed-off when we see any level of government waste our tax dollars. Look at the 16 councillors in PEC and then look at how they decided to spend $190K on 29 trees to replace the ones they took out. Don’t tell me the money comes from another source – it all comes from the taxpayers. Maybe we need to re-thik about how hospital are funded?

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