A letter from the radiologists’ association to BC’s health minister warns the province could see a “tsunami of cancer cases” if delays in medical imaging are not addressed.
The letter, shared with CTV News Vancouver and dated Sept. 26, said “hundreds of thousands of patients” are waiting for medical imaging.
“We know that timely access to medical imaging can save lives and help prevent disease progression,” said a letter to Adrian Dix from the Radiological Society of BC.
“Delays in medical imaging cause delays in diagnoses, specialist referrals, surgeries, medical treatments, cancer care and more.”
The letter echoed concerns in another message to Dix last week, which estimated there were one million patients waiting to see specialists in the province.
“We see first-hand the decline in specialist care every day and we are tired and frustrated; the inability to provide BC patients with the specialized care they need and deserve is soul-destroying,” signed more than 200 specialist doctors. , said.
The BC Ministry of Health issued a statement acknowledging the letter sent by the specialists last week.
“We want to reassure the public that we always meet with physicians when there are concerns or suggestions about how to improve services,” said a comment from a spokesperson sent to CTV News Vancouver.
“All physicians, including specialists, have avenues to address their concerns through BC physicians who represent them in negotiations with the government,” the statement said.
The radiologists’ association asked Dix to address four key areas: training more medical imaging technologists, upgrading equipment and reducing wait times for breast imaging. It also expressed an urgent need for emergency funding for community imaging clinics, similar to funding announced last month for primary-care providers.
“Like family physician clinics, CICs are facing rapidly rising costs due to inflation. Many of these clinics are at risk of closing or reducing services due to increased costs,” the letter said.
“If this happens, it will have a catastrophic impact on medical imaging wait times. All those imaging studies will come to acute care facilities that are already overwhelmed.”
The BC Radiological Society said it is “willing to work with (the health minister) to develop concrete solutions to the remaining issues,” but the work to address funding issues at CICs “needs to begin now.”
With files from Penny Daflos of CTV News Vancouver