New MRI coming to Nanaimo

The B.C. Surgical and Diagnostic Imaging Strategy continues to make progress, as construction is underway on Nanaimo Regional General Hospital’s (NRGH) second MRI machine.

Patients in the central Vancouver Island area will benefit from increased access to MRI exams and shorter wait times when the second MRI machine opens in spring 2020.

“People in Nanaimo are already benefiting from the B.C. Surgical and Diagnostic Imaging Strategy launched last year by government,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “Through this strategy, Island Health performed 28% more MRI exams in 2018-19 compared to the previous year, including 11,264 scans at NRGH. This $5.5 million investment to add a second MRI at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital will make it easier for people to access to this important diagnostic tool when they need it.”

Expanding the number of MRI suites on Vancouver Island is a key part of the diagnostic strategy, as is fully utilizing existing machines to increase volumes again this year. A total of 49,346 scans were performed across Island Health in 2018-19. At Nanaimo Regional General Hospital, 11,264 scans were performed, nearly 2,000 more than in 2017-18.

In 2018-19, wait times for Nanaimo Regional General Hospital in the 50th percentile decreased from 70 days to 34 days, and wait times at the 90th percentile decreased from 166 days to 76 days. This was achieved in part due to increasing the volume of MRIs, done 24/7 at the hospital in the last year

The total project cost is $5.5 million, with $3.3 million provided by the Province of British Columbia through Island Health and $2.2 million provided by the Nanaimo Regional Hospital District. This investment builds on the recently announced first MRI for Langley Memorial Hospital to open in summer 2020, the second MRI installed at Surrey’s Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre in May, and the purchase of two MRI community clinics in Abbotsford and Surrey last year.

The B.C. Surgical and Diagnostic Imaging Strategy launched in March 2018 and through the strategy’s first year (2018-19) performed 233,369 MRI exams province-wide. This is a 23% increase over the 189,376 exams performed in 2017-18.

Read the full release from the BC Ministry of Health at


Media Contacts

Ministry of Health 
250 952-1887 (media line)

Dominic Abassi
Island Health 
250 755-7966