The ALP says it would grant a Medicare MRI licence at Batemans Bay Hospital if it wins the next federal election – if the NSW Government funds the machinery.
Gilmore candidate Fiona Phillips said Batemans Bay patients had to drive to Nowra to use the nearest bulk-billed MRI.
“Labor will fund a Medicare MRI licence at Batemans Bay Hospital so locals can finally get the scans they need close to home without being hit with high out-of-pocket costs,” Ms Phillips said on Saturday, September 22.
The party has also called on the state government to install a CAT scanner at the hospital – something Batemans Bay GPs have requested for several years.
“Labor is calling on the NSW Government to upgrade the hospital’s radiology department to provide CT (CAT scan), ultrasound and x-ray services – and funding an MRI machine. Labor’s commitment is contingent on this upgrade,” Ms Phillips said.
“We believe it should be your Medicare card, not your credit card, which determines your access to great healthcare in Australia.”
In 2016, Moruya radiologists investing in a private MRI machine complained that a Medicare rebate remained out of sight.
Earlier this year, Batemans Bay GPs and VMOs Andrew Gibson and David Rivett called for a CAT scanner to be installed in the hospital.
Dr Gibson has been publicly campaigning for a CAT scanner since August 2013.
The ALP said MRI scans were safer for children than CAT scans.
“The Liberals have completely neglected MRI scans, granting only five MRI licences during five years in office,” Ms Phillips said.
“In contrast, Labor granted 238 licences when we were in office.
“MRI scans are used to detect and diagnose conditions that affect soft tissue – including tumours and cancer – and are critical in the early detection of many diseases.
They are particularly important for children and young people because unlike the alternative – CT scans – MRIs do not use ionising radiation. Children’s Healthcare Australasia says that for every 1,000 CT scans, a new case of cancer is created in an Australian child.
“Labor will deliver another 20 licences across the country.”