Latest medical imaging technology arrives to Vancouver Island through Victoria Hospitals Foundation’s Imaging is Power campaign; local Radiologists initiate and endorse upgrade to six powerful pieces of equipment for better patient outcomes

The Victoria Hospitals Foundation (VHF) has launched its largest campaign, with a goal of raising $11 million to fund new medical imaging technology and equipment at Royal Jubilee Hospital (RJH) and Victoria General Hospital (VGH). The campaign, titled Imaging is Power, will replace and upgrade six key pieces of imaging tools: three MRIs, one CT Scanner, one SPECT/CT Scanner, and one C-Arm.

Through the campaign, the Foundation parallels that medical imaging never stops in our hospitals. 500 people undergo scheduled scans everyday at Royal Jubilee and Victoria General hospitals, which are the referral sites for more than 860,000 Vancouver Islanders.

“Imaging equipment is powerful; it is often the catalyst to the care that follows and serves every kind of patient, from pediatrics to seniors, from cardiac to stroke. This campaign will ensure the next decade of scans performed in our hospitals will be an improvement to what we currently have access to,” says Avery Brohman, Chief Executive Officer of the Victoria Hospitals Foundation. “As a Foundation we are actively listening to our community and our care teams, and this campaign is responding to enhancements needed in our hospitals that can be accomplished through donor support”.

The campaign will first focus on the three MRI machines that will be refurbished using revolutionary innovation: two at VGH and one at RJH. For a cost of $2 million each, the machines will be stripped down and rebuilt from the magnet up. This installation is more cost effective, will be far less disruptive to everyday hospital care, and is kinder to the environment. It is one of the first projects of its kind in Canada.

“This is an exciting project we are embarking on, and the efficiency of revolutionizing and rebuilding this equipment—rather than completely replacing it—means we can continue to prioritize the needs of our patients without disrupting care and adding to existing wait times. By replacing outdated machinery with new, best-in-class components, we can achieve the benefits of a brand-new MRI system for a third of the cost, and serve our community and patients as efficiently as possible,” says Dr. Alan Andrew, Radiologist and Medical Director, Island Health Medical Imaging. “This innovative approach will preserve the durable magnetic core of the system, while completely rebuilding the technology, software, and structure around the magnet. It’s revolutionary, and we are grateful to the community members who wish to support us in this endeavor.”

The Foundation is proud to be supporting this innovative project initiated by Dr. Andrew and his colleagues. Imaging is Power will also support the purchase of:

  • One new CT scanner at VGH at a cost of $3.5 million. The machine being phased out accounts for more than 15,000 scans each year and was purchased in 2008, making it the oldest CT scanner on Vancouver Island.
  • One new SPECT/CT scanner in Nuclear Medicine at RJH, costing $3 million. The machine being replaced is 20 years old.
  • One new C-Arm in the RJH Catheterization Lab at a cost of $2 million. The current C-Arm is used for 2,000 patients each year and, at 13 years of age, no longer meets the required standards of practice.

By replacing these six imaging tools, which are 13-22 years old, supporters of Imaging is Power will be empowering radiologists and other physicians, as well as their patients. Equipment like CT Scanners and MRI machines provide images used for prevention, diagnosis, treatment, follow-up care, and emergency care. Ensuring our clinicians have reliable and state-of-the-art technology, brings clarity as they plan their patients’ course of care.

At a news conference hosted on October 4, 2023 at Royal Jubilee Hospital, three patient spokespeople acknowledged the importance of this campaign:

  • “With her complex health needs, Odette will need an MRI every year for at least the next four years to ensure her health. Odette is just one of many patients whose care journey begins with imaging like a MRI scan. These scans are our lifeline.” —Sophie Shackleton, mother to Odette, who was born with skeletal dysplasia, or dwarfism. Read her full story here.
  • “In July 2018, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer through a baseline blood test. As a precaution, my doctor ordered a MRI scan and there was the real story: the cancer was spreading. I am confident that MRI scan paved the way for the care that saved my life and it’s so important to ensure our hospitals, care teams, and patients continue to benefit from MRI advancements.” —Dr. Ralph Lapp, an Orthopedic Surgeon and former patient. Read his full story here.
  • “MRI allows my care team to make micro-shifts in my Multiple Sclerosis treatment, if needed. The truth is, as a patient, to see there’s no new disease activity on the MRI scan is extremely empowering and uplifting.” —Rahul Ray, husband, father, community builder, and MS patient at RJH. Read his full story here.

Fundraising has already begun and donors have raised $1.7 million so far.

“The strongest hospitals across the country have the strongest philanthropy surrounding them,” says Avery Brohman, Chief Executive Officer of the Victoria Hospitals Foundation. “Our donors play an integral role in advancing the latest and greatest hospital equipment, but they will not stand alone in this campaign. Strategic partnerships with the Capital Regional Hospital District, the Ministry of Health, and Island Health will ensure the size and scale of a project like this can be achieved. All together, we can do so much.”

Contributions to Imaging is Power can be made at, by calling 250-519-1750, by visiting the Foundation office on the RJH campus, or by mailing a cheque to Wilson Block, 1952 Bay Street, Victoria BC, V8R 1J2. All denominations make an impact.