Burnaby Hospital is expected to get its second CT scanner up and running by early 2022, according to the Burnaby Hospital Foundation. (Shutterstock)

Burnaby Hospital’s $1.5M second CT scanner expected early 2022

The city made a $1-million donation toward the CT scanner in 2019

By Dustin Godfrey | November 18, 2021 |5:00 am

More than two years since the City of Burnaby donated $1 million to the project, a second CT scanner is believed to be just a few months away from installation, according to Burnaby Hospital Foundation officials.

City council voted in favour of the $1-million grant for the project in October 2019, and Burnaby Now reported a month later that the full funding had been secured, with nearly $450,000 in community donations.

The $1 million came out of the city’s community gaming reserves, funding that comes from revenue from the local casino.

Coun. Colleen Jordan said her understanding of the issue was that it was originally expected for September this year.

“But they don’t have the scanner, yet,” she said, adding that the scanner was deemed to have been “really, really, really needed desperately.”

In a BC Lotto Corp ad posted to Global News’ sponsored Believe BC segment in November last year, the Crown corporation indicated the scanner had been bought.

CT scanner delayed by COVID

Burnaby Hospital Foundation CEO Kristy James told the Beacon in an interview that the project is still in the works, and it’s expected to be up and running early next year.

“With last year’s fire, and then the ongoing COVID pandemic putting a strain on hospitals, it’s increased the interruption of receiving it by a short time,” James said.

“[We’re] also completing the retrofitting, because it’s a whole new space we’re putting it into [in] the ER.”

James said she couldn’t say exactly what the timeline was for the scanner to be up and running, but said fundraising was completed in 2020.

“[It] usually takes a year to 18 months, usually, to do any sort of renovations and retrofitting, so we’re probably within a few months behind because of COVID,” she said.

“I don’t think it’s a big shock, when we bring in new equipment or have to renovate things, [that] it can take a bit of time.”

She added that COVID has added a strain on the hospital, and it has also caused delays in getting the CT scanner itself. Asked about whether that was due to supply chain issues or other issues, the Burnaby Hospital Foundation deferred to Fraser Health.

James also deferred questions about how much the new CT scanner cost in total and how much it would reduce wait times for CT scans at the hospital to Fraser Health.

Burnaby Beacon put those questions to Fraser Health in early afternoon Tuesday but did not receive a response by end-of-day Wednesday.

Council contentions

The council decision in favour of the project came with two dissenting votes: Jordan and Coun. Dan Johnston, both still members of the dominant Burnaby Citizens’ Association at the time.

The two councillors, both of whom now sit as independents, cited their concerns about the province downloading the cost of healthcare onto local government.

However, those voting in favour of the grant said that attitude has gotten the city nowhere, and they were tired of waiting on the province.

According to a report to city council at the time, the only existing CT scanner at the hospital has been in operation since 2008, and the hospital is “in need of a new, reliable scanner.”

“The current scanner has broken down numerous times over the past year. Patients have been taxied to the Royal Columbian Hospital in order to receive CT scanning results,” Mayor Mike Hurley wrote in the report.

In all, the foundation was seeking $1.5 million for the project, which is expected to “enable an additional 10,000 exams annually, with overall capacity expected to double to 40,000 exams each year by 2026.”

Burnaby Now reported at the time that the existing CT scanner was slated for replacement, but there had been little appetite from the province to add a second scanner.

James said she believed the existing CT scanner had gotten an upgrade to address some of its problems but deferred to Fraser Health.

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Dustin Godfrey

Reporter at Burnaby Beacon

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