We have recently learned that the two positron emission tomography (PET) scanners in New Brunswick are both rationing scans to save money. Saint John is running a waitlist for patients in an attempt to not exceed their 'quota'; Moncton has already reached their limit for the province's fiscal year. We also understand the Minister of Health is examining the situation.
In our opinion, limiting access to scans for patients with serious diseases like cancer is unacceptable. PET scans are now the standard of care for some specific images; as we understand this, shutting down PET scanners would mean that those patients would be sent out of province - which the province would have to fund. This gap in our system is ludicrous, and is a perfect example of what happens in our healthcare system when decisions are made with spreadsheets and budget lines instead of being focused on patients.
We call on the Minister of Health to rectify this situation. Patient access to PET scans should not revolve around our fiscal year, but around medical need.
Robert Desjardins, MD FRCPC
President, New Brunswick Medical Society