Mark Clairmont |

HUNTSVILLE A Muskoka MRI is just over a year away.

And this morning MPP Graydon Smith announced $800,000 in funding for staffing when it does arrive at Huntsville District Memorial Hospital sometime in 2024.

That’s after the hospital’s foundation raises the $5 million needed to buy and install it.

MPP Graydon Smith made the announcement this morning of $800,000 in annual funding for an MRI in Huntsville when up and running in 2024. Joining him were MAHC board chair Moreen Miller, left, Dr.  Jason Blaichman, HDMH foundation chair Katherine Crane and hospitals CEO and president Cheryl Harrison.

Muskoka Algonquin Hospital’s stroke recovery centre is the only one in Ontario without an MRI — relying on CTs and x-rays to treat patients.

It’s half the money needed as part of a $10.5 million diagnostic imaging retrofit in Huntsville.

When up and running the non-radiation machine will service 5,000 patients, said Dr. Jason Blaichman, head of diagnostic imaging at the two hospitals in Huntsville and Bracebridge.

He called it an “indispensable asset.”

Currently 9,000 imaging scans are performed.

Smith said the operational money will be part of MAHC’s annual funding and is one of 27 hospitals to receive $20 million on government MRI funding.

MAHC president and CEO Cheryl Harrison called the MRI and cash to run it “transformational.”

But with cancer cases rising, she said, an MRI important, particularly with an aging Muskoka population.

It will operate in addition to the CT-scanner.

Huntsville has been a stroke recovery centre since 2006.

Also attending today’s announcement were new district chair Jeff Lehman, new Huntsville Mayor Nancy Alcock and Bracebridge Mayor Rick Maloney who was briefly interim mayor when Smith didn’t run again.

The news follows Premier Doug Ford’s announcement last spring that the province is committed to two new hospitals in Muskoka — one in Huntsville and one in Bracebridge.

Muskoka’s regional stroke recovery centre at HDMH is the only one in Ontario without an MRI scanner. If foundation fundraising goes as expected, it should be un and running for all of Muskoka next year, says foundation chair Katherine Crane.


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