Edmonton doctors say long wait times for MRI and CT scans are getting worse

Edmonton doctors are again sounding the alarm about long wait times for MRI and CT scans. They say delays are getting worse. At one local hospital, they see patients waiting over a year.

“How much would you like it if I would tell you, ‘Look, you may have a cancer, but I can’t give you a diagnosis for a year?’ It’s pretty stressful, I would say,” said Dr. Ernie Schuster, president of the Edmonton Zone Medical Staff Association.

According to the Edmonton Zone Medical Staff Association, the average wait for an MRI at the University of Alberta Hospital is now 375 days.

For a CT scan at the Leduc Hospital, the wait is 275 days, the association says.

Members say doctors have resorted to asking patients to pay out of pocket for private scans, which they say can cost between $375 and $800.

“I just tell them, right now, right up front, I say: ‘Can you pay for this? Because I really need this soon.’

“And if you’re lucky enough and you’ve got a patient who can pay, fine, we can move on. But if the patient cannot pay, then we have a real problem,” Schuster said.

“Some doctors we know have actually paid for their own patients to get it done privately because they just needed to move on with this.”

Schuster says MRI and CT scans are needed to diagnose someone with cancer, MS, or other serious health issues.

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