Federal funding lifeline: Peel state’s top pick for MRI benefit

Patients in the Peel region will have easier access to lifesaving scans for cancer, stroke, heart and other medical conditions after the federal government announced an upgraded MRI licence for SKG Radiology.

The full MRI licence for SKG means locals will be able to access a Medicare rebate for an estimated 3,719 services a year – saving lives and reducing the costs for patients.

The Medicare-covered MRI services are expected to be in place from March, 2019.

Families shouldn’t have to worry about whether a trip to the doctor will require an expensive MRI they can’t afford.

Canning MP Andrew Hastie

Canning MP Andrew Hastie said it was “really exciting news” for the community.

“Patients across the Peel region will have access to eligible bulk-billed MRI scans and will no longer have to pay hundreds of dollars for the service,” he said.

“Families shouldn’t have to worry about whether a trip to the doctor will require an expensive MRI they can’t afford.”

An MRI is a commonly used medical scan which gives a detailed view of the soft tissues of the body such as muscles, ligaments, brain tissue, discs and blood vessels.

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It is used by doctors to diagnose and monitor a number of different medical conditions including cancer, trauma and sporting injuries.

Global Diagnostics has held a full MRI licence in the Peel region and has been bulk billing patients who fall under the eligibility criteria since 2014.

The upgrade will allow SKG Radiology to also have a full MRI licence, offering easier access to patients in Mandurah who need scans.

Federal health minister Greg Hunt said it was important to help Australians stay healthy while keeping the cost of healthcare down for families.

“Our plan for a strong economy means we continue to deliver record funding for essential services such as Medicare, public hospitals and life-saving medicines,” Mr Hunt said.

“Not only will our new Medicare support ensure patients get better treatment and save money, it will also cut down the amount of time patients travel to get a scan.

“Our investment in MRI licences of over $375 million over the forward estimates for 50 new locations around the country delivers on the government’s commitment to improve access and outcomes for patients.”

Federal health minister Greg Hunt with Canning MP Andrew Hastie during a previous visit to Mandurah. Photo: Marta Pascual Juanola.

Federal health minister Greg Hunt with Canning MP Andrew Hastie during a previous visit to Mandurah. Photo: Marta Pascual Juanola.

Mr Hunt said the government was committed to delivering improved health services including an extra $8 billion for hospitals, taking the total over the last five years to $29.5 billion.

“We have also committed to reduce the cost for patients by indexing targeted diagnostic imaging services including mammography, fluoroscopy, CT scans and interventional procedures,” he said.

“Under the Liberal national government, Medicare spending is guaranteed and increasing every year from $24 billion in 2017/18 to $28.8 billion in 2021/22 to support health care for every Australian.”