Blue Mountains News
Labor to Deliver Medicare-Funded MRI Scans for the Blue Mountains
Member for Macquarie, Susan Templeman, said Labor will fund a Medicare MRI licence at Blue Mountains District ANZAC Memorial Hospital in Katoomba so locals can finally get the scans they need, close to home, without being hit with high out-of-pocket costs.
“This will be very welcome news for local doctors and health professionals who have raised their concerns with me about the lack of MRI services in the Mountains, and the hundreds of people who have already signed our petition calling on the Government for an MRI at Katoomba,” Ms Templeman said.
“Katoomba Hospital currently has a comprehensive radiology department that also provides CT, ultrasound and x-ray services,” she said.
“As part of this announcement, Labor is calling on the NSW Government to install an MRI machine at the hospital so Labor can grant the licence.
“The Nepean Blue Mountains Primary Health Network has fewer full MRI licences per capita than the national average and is in the bottom third of Primary Health Networks. There is clearly a real need for this licence.
“The Nepean Hospital MRI unit is so fully booked that I’m regularly told people are getting appointments as early as 5am or as late as 10pm on a Friday night.
“A bipartisan Senate Inquiry earlier this year recognised that Western Sydney has a shortage of access to subsidised MRI scans,” she said.
“It also heard that a lack of affordable MRI services meant that children were at risk of being overexposed to the radiation of CT scans.
“We know that the risk of cancer increases with age, with 60 percent of cancers diagnosed after the aged of 65,” Ms Templeman said. “According the last census, one in two residents in the Blue Mountains is aged 50 and over, and one in five is aged 65 and over."
“Particularly without access to a Medicare-funded MRI, people have few options,” she said. “Even if they are able to pay high out-of-pocket costs, there is no machine between Lithgow and Penrith.
“A Medicare subsidised MRI in Katoomba, will not only be of huge benefit to residents in the Blue Mountains, it would help take the pressure off the scarce resources available in Western Sydney,” she said.
“It should be your Medicare card, not your credit card, which determines your access to great healthcare in Australia – that’s why Labor is committed to making health care more affordable.
“The Liberals have completely neglected MRI scans, granting only five MRI licences during five years in office – and the latest only as a result of a dodgy deal with One Nation in Western Australia. In contrast, Labor granted 238 licences when we were in office, with hundreds of communities benefiting from the early detection and diagnosis of disease today because of Labor’s investment.”
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