Posted: March 20, 2023

A year-long joint fundraising campaign by St. Mary’s General Hospital and Grand River Hospital foundations has raised $10 million toward magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in both hospitals and resulted in the completion of an MRI upgrade at Grand River Hospital.

$7.6 million will bring home the first MRI to St. Mary’s General Hospital, while $2.4 million has helped to upgrade the second MRI machine at Grand River Hospital.

“Our community recognized the need and stepped up in a big way – for healthcare and for this region. This shared success shows us that when communities come together for a cause, great things happen,” says Susan Dusick, President and CEO, St. Mary’s General Hospital Foundation.

Grand River Hospital’s current MRI unit was replaced in early 2022 thanks to a generous donation from Equitable Life of Canada and is funded to operate close to 24/7 to produce 17,000 scans each year. It is anticipated that its second, upgraded unit which came online in February, will produce an additional 4,500 scans.

“This second MRI machine will help us to reduce wait times for elective outpatient cases by more than half, from seven months to 90 days or less,” says Natisha Lal, Integrated Director, Medical and Diagnostic Imaging at Grand River and St. Mary’s hospitals. “However, the true impact to our community will take time to fully realize. These machines have the best in technology, improving both efficiency and patient experience. As we get up to speed, we expect we will see additional efficiencies that will further increase access to care and reduce wait times.”

St. Mary’s, home to the Regional Cardiac Centre and Chest Centre, is the only hospital in the region and the only cardiac program in Ontario without an MRI. Construction for the first MRI at St. Mary’s is planned for July 2023. The hospital expects to see patients in January 2024.

With the money raised and completed construction, this means for the first time, there will be three MRIs serving the Waterloo Region, a growing population of more than 620,000.

Expanding MRI capacity in the region means better outcomes for patients: faster diagnosis and reduced travel burden and its associated costs.

Together, St. Mary’s General Hospital and Grand River Hospital plan to operate all three MRIs as part of an integrated program which will leverage an established shared team of radiologists and administrative leadership. This integrated approach provides standardized imaging, improved efficiencies and ultimately improved patient access and experience.

“Fundraising projects like this one, which really focus on community need and partnership, are so important to our team here at the hospital and hospital foundation,” says Natisha. “The Joint Hospital MRI Fund will see both hospitals equipped with the best diagnostic tools to support the timely care of patients across our communities. This is fantastic news.”

While the Joint MRI Fund between both hospitals has wrapped up, individuals can still support access to MRI by contributing to Cambridge Memorial Hospital Foundation’s MRI campaign.

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Grand River Hospital

Media contact:

Cheryl Evans, Manager, Communications and Engagement

Cell: 226-749-0689

Grand River Hospital is one of Ontario’s largest community hospitals with an outstanding team of 5,000 dedicated health care workers and volunteers. We provide services and support to more than 840,000 residents at our two campuses and satellite locations in Waterloo Region and Guelph Wellington. We take pride in the ways we collaborate with our health system partners, our region’s academic and innovation communities, and diverse community stakeholders as we work toward providing a world class experience for patients, families and team members.

St. Mary’s General Hospital Foundation

Media contact:

Alyssa Lai, Associate Director, Communications and Marketing

Cell: 519-489-0751

St. Mary’s General Hospital Foundation is a charitable organization dedicated solely to generating financial support for the lifesaving care provided by St. Mary’s General Hospital. Funds donated by the community through St. Mary's General Hospital Foundation go toward vital equipment, construction and resource requirements for St. Mary’s General Hospital which are not covered by or exceed funding provided by the Ontario Ministry of Health.