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NEW GLASGOW, NS - Nova Scotia hospitals may be getting four, new, multi-million-dollar MRIs, but the union representing hundreds of Technologists across the province says there’s nobody trained to run them.

Karen MacKenzie, Acute Care Spokesperson for the Canadian Union of Public Employees, says, “Staff who run Magnetic Resonance Imaging machines are typically X-Ray, Nuclear Medicine or Ultrasound Techs who go for an extra six months of training just on MRI’s.

“This training has never been available in Nova Scotia,” says MacKenzie, herself a Technologist at Colchester Regional Hospital.

Says MacKenzie, “We’re the first to say these new machines are great for rural Nova Scotia, but two of the locations they’re slated for - New Glasgow and Antigonish - have been plagued with the most severe shortages of Technologists as it is.

“If Health Minister Angus MacIsaac thinks he can simply take existing Techs from the floor to run these new machines, then he has not been hearing our plea for the last three years about not having enough staff. A group of angry technologists from St. Martha’s Hospital in Antigonish picketed his nomination meeting in the summer of 2003 over this very issue,” she says.

Says MacKenzie, “Without trained staff to run these MRI’s, they are simply large and very expensive lumps of metal.”

For further information:
Karen MacKenzie, CUPE Spokesperson for Acute Care, (902) 899-0840 (Cell), (902) 895-8930 (h);
John McCracken, CUPE Communications Rep., (902) 455-4180 (o)