18 new MRI scanners for Belgian hospitals

Belgian health minister Maggie De Block (Flemish liberal) has announced the arrival of 18 new MRI scanners at Belgian hospitals soon.  The new scanners should put an end to long waiting times for CT scans.

CT scans are different from MRI scans.  Too often CT scans are being prescribed when MRI scans would be more appropriate.

CT scans involve the use of X-rays that if repeated may pose a threat to patients' health.  Their inappropriate use is also a waste of money.  MRI scans don't use X-rays and are less dangerous, especially when several scans are needed.

The increase in the number of MRI scanners takes their total to 139.  At present some hospitals simply don't possess an MRI scanner even though it's a pretty basic tool for a hospital to have.

The purchase of the new scanners was agreed with regional health ministers, who will designate which hospital (groups) will benefit.  Hospitals will have to pay the purchase price.  Operational costs, some 315,000 euros per scanner per year, are borne by the federal government.  The operation shouldn't have any impact on the budget because the extra MRI scanner will reduce the need for CT scans.  All should be operational in three years' time.  

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