The present public MRI delivery model is not meeting the requirements of all Canadians.
Waiting lists are long, staffing is poor and the funding is either inadequate or not being allocated in the most optimal way. There is widespread public dissatisfaction with wait times.
The provinces are unlikely to agree that MRI should become an insured health service under a new Canada Health Act.
Proponents of a two-tiered system argue that a parallel private MRI system reduces wait times in the public system as those able to pay can opt to access the private system.
The result is more funds are available on a per capita basis for the public system. This would relieve pressure on the public system, thus ensuring its survival.
Some believe Canada’s health care system will eventually evolve into something similar to what is available in Sweden or Germany, where there is a mix of private and public health delivery and the waiting lists are almost non-existent.
In terms of available diagnostic imaging equipment on a per capita basis, Canada lags well behind many of the industrialized nations.
It is estimated that private MRI clinics now represent 10% of the market. The demand for MRI diagnostic imaging is forecast to grow at 6% a year over the next decade.