Patients wait up to two months for MRI scans

Patients wait up to 60 days for an appointment to get an MRI scan in Luxembourg Photo: Matic Zorman

Patients wait up to 60 days for an appointment to get an MRI scan in Luxembourg Photo: Matic Zorman

Patients in Luxembourg in need of an MRI scan must wait up to 60 days for an appointment, the health ministry said on Friday amid a debate whether a diagnostic centre that opened in Grevenmacher in April is legal.

Wait times to get an MRI scan in Luxembourg have dropped since 2018 as four new MRI machines have become available.

The Robert Schuman hospital in Kirchberg has the longest delays, with patients having to wait around 60 days for a scan last year. This was down more 73 days in 2018. At the CHL in Luxembourg City, the CHdN in Ettelbruck and the Chem in Esch-sur-Alzette wait times were also down.

Hospitals carry out around 45,000 scans a year. Urgent cases are seen more quickly, the health ministry said in answer to a parliamentary question on Friday.

To further reduce these delays, a medical centre in Grevenmacher opened in April offering MRI and CT scans in addition to X-rays. But the centre is embroiled in a dispute with the ministry over its legal status.

While the ministry had to grant the centre a licence to buy the MRI scanner after a Luxembourg court ruled it would be unconstitutional to prevent them from doing this, by law only hospitals can be diagnostic centres.

Health minister Paulette Lenert (LSAP) earlier this month had threatened to shut down the centre. The doctors at the Potaaschbierg medical centre on the other hand have said the hospital laws, which would prevent it from operating the MRI machine, do not apply to it.

Lenert on Friday said the ministry is finalising a draft law, which would allow MRI machines to be operated outside of hospitals.

As part of the 2018 to 2023 coalition agreement, the government pledged to review ambulatory care and offer more medical services regionally.

There is no hospital in Luxembourg’s east, where Grevenmacher is located, and mayor Léon Gloden (CSV) had supported the opening of the disputed medical centre to improve access to healthcare in the area.