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GBGH receives funding to operate its first MRI, bringing care closer to home

A group of 11 people posing with a large poster of an MRI machine

The Honourable Robin Martin (back row, centre), parliamentary assistant to Ontario’s Minister of Health, and the Honourable Jill Dunlop (front row, far right), member of provincial parliament for Simcoe North and minister of Colleges and Universities, recently visited Georgian Bay General Hospital. In addition to touring the facility, they formally announced the hospital will receive funding to operate a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine as part of the Diagnostic Imaging services GBGH provides its community.


February 3, 2023 – Announced during an event today with provincial government officials, Georgian Bay General Hospital (GBGH) will receive $800,000 in annual operating funding to begin providing Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) services, expanding access to these important diagnostic procedures. Prior to this commitment, GBGH was the largest acute care hospital in Ontario without an operating or approved MRI. Having an MRI at GBGH is an another opportunity to bring care closer to home for thousands of residents annually who will not need to travel as far – or wait as long – to receive this essential care.

“The Ontario Ministry of Health understands the importance of expanding access to MRI scanners in rural communities, such as Midland”, said Robin Martin, member of provincial parliament for Eglinton-Lawrence and parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Health. “Having an MRI at Georgian Bay General Hospital will help to reduce wait times for this service in Simcoe North, allowing for more timely diagnosis and treatment while lessening the travel burden that is placed on patients and caregivers who currently have to go outside of the area for this service.”

“The province is ensuring hospitals have the funds they need to operate, and at Georgian Bay General Hospital, this means increased access to diagnostic imaging for people within our region,” said Jill Dunlop, MPP for Simcoe North. “For the Midland area, this funding means residents will have more convenient access to care closer to home through access to GBGH’s first-ever MRI machine, and I was proud to work closely with GBGH on this important initiative.”

GBGH’s future MRI will not only serve the hospital’s immediate community, it will assist in adding capacity to the system which reduces wait times across the region. The addition of an MRI in the hospital’s Diagnostic Imaging department will reduce wait times as area residents can be seen in Midland, making more appointments available at local hospitals for patients located in neighbouring communities.

“Our hospital’s strategy is to grow clinical services in alignment with community needs,” says Tim Kastelic, chair, GBGH Board of Directors. “Bringing MRI services to GBGH has been a priority of our hospital over many years now and has been made possible in part through the influential advocacy of MPP Dunlop. Her ongoing support of GBGH’s growth and service expansion has positively impacted many aspects of our hospital, helping us enhance healthcare services for local residents.”

In submitting its proposal for an MRI, GBGH estimates it could eventually operate it 3,900 hours annually or 16 hours per day, five days per week. At this time, the initial funding commitment will enable the hospital to operate the MRI for 2,000 hours per year – or eight hours per day, five days per week – meeting the needs of an estimated 2,000 local patients.

“We are grateful the provincial government has recognized the importance of adding more MRIs to our regional healthcare system,” says Matthew Lawson, president and CEO, GBGH. “We know there are thousands of local residents experiencing lengthy wait times to receive an MRI and who still have to travel long distances when they do secure an MRI appointment. With the MRIs committed to several local hospitals, it will dramatically improve wait times and equitable access to care across Simcoe and Muskoka.”

In order to accommodate the MRI, GBGH will complete some renovations to an existing space and is committed to starting this work as quickly as possible. The hospital hopes to have the new MRI operational within 12 – 24 months, pending the Ministry of Health’s approval of the proposed renovations.

Additionally, as the government funding covers the operations of the MRI (staff, utilities), the hospital must pay for the renovations, as well as the purchase and install of the new equipment. The GBGH Foundation will work with the community and donors to raise the necessary capital funds in support of this project.

“Being able to raise the funds to renovate and purchase this MRI will be a top priority for our Foundation – and we’ve already begun,” says Nicole Kraftscik, executive director, GBGH Foundation. “If anyone has had lengthy waits, and then far distances to travel for an MRI, you will know firsthand how important it is to bring this service here to GBGH. Knowing this, we have already received some inspiring gifts directed toward the MRI and will need the added generosity of our incredible community to improve access to the latest technology in diagnostic imaging, bringing care closer to home.”

MRI is a medical imaging technique that uses magnetic fields and computer-generated radio waves to create detailed images of organs and tissues in the body. This provides better clarity for specific body parts compared to other diagnostic imaging technologies.



Jennifer Moore

Director, Communications & Stakeholder Relations, GBGH

705-526-1300 ext 5177