Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is an advanced radiological diagnostic technique that generates a detailed image of the entire body. In Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), the wait time for this critical diagnosis can be even a year.

On a daily basis, citizens complained about the long waiting lists for radiological diagnostics at Tuzla’s University Clinical Center (UKC) and Sarajevo General Hospital.

“The General Hospitals provide standard general X-ray procedure, no-wait ultrasound, as well as CT and MRI examinations.” According to the response, “the waitlist for CT is almost two months,” while “the waiting list for MRI is less than three months.”

According to the General Hospital, if a patient pays for such services, he will receive it immediately and without having to wait.

They point towards a radiology shortage in BiH and the surrounding area, and that MRI has a long waiting because it is a complex high-tech process, with analysis and examination wasting a lot of time and requiring the participation of a large medical team.

UKC Tuzla was contacted for comment after receiving nine new radiological diagnostic devices the previous year.

“The UKC Tuzla Clinic for Radiology and Nuclear Medicine offers diagnostic services in  CT, MRI, ultrasound diagnostics of the breast, blood vessels, abdomen, thyroid gland, standard X-ray diagnostics,  mammography, interventional radiology, densitometry, and hormonal analysis,” according to the university.

They emphasize that the wait time for all the above diagnostics is no more than 30 days, apart from patients who don’t require follow-up exams.

“Emergency patients don’t need to make an appointment, and their diagnosis is done immediately,” said UKC Tuzla. “Oncology patients are free from standard ordering procedures, and their diagnoses are completed in accordance with their treatment plan and council terms.”

People who pay for MRI diagnostics must have a referral from a medical specialist and have no benefit in terms of smaller wait times at UKC Tuzla, where they can book an appointment based on availability, just like patients for whom the costs are covered by the qualified Health Insurance Institute.

How many physicians and radiology engineers are unemployed right now?

In the Employment Agency’s records, the Bosnian-Podrinje Canton (BPC) is the one that has no registered medical radiology engineers, whereas the Canton Sarajevo (CS) has 99.

There are 16 unemployed radiologists in Tuzla Canton (TC), and 44 unemployed medical radiology engineers in Herzegovina-Neretva Canton (HNC) . Posavina Canton has three medical radiology engineers on staff, while West Herzegovina Canton has eight.

Clinical centre directors have recently expressed concern about a shortage of radiologists, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. Institutions appear to be doing not enough to aid the provision of workers in public medical institutions, which could prevent the departure of high educated medical personnel from our nation, and provide citizens with prompt and efficient service.

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