Tamworth Hospital has welcomed the first patients to undergo magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) treatment for cancer, stroke, heart and other medical conditions, supported by the Federal Coalition Government’s new Medicare-funded MRI licence.
Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce, said the new MRI licence means locals will be able to access a Medicare rebate for an estimated 3,354 services a year.
“This is a major milestone for health care in this electorate, saving lives and significantly reducing travel expenses for patients who otherwise would have had to travel to metropolitan centres for treatment,” Mr Joyce said.
“I said to the people of the New England that we would get this service for them and now we see the hard-won results of that effort being delivered here today.”
Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson said the leading edge technology of Tamworth’s $211 million hospital is further enhanced by the new MRI licence.
“We had a record 20 young doctors start their careers in Tamworth early this year. It’s a case of ‘build it and they will come’ and yes they’re coming here in numbers,” Mr Anderson said.
Executive Director Rural and Regional Health Services, Hunter New England Local Health District, Susan Heyman, said the new service will be a major benefit to the community.
“Tamworth Hospital has always provided an extensive and high quality imaging service to its inpatients. Now with the granting of the MRI licence we are pleased we can expand our service to benefit the broader local community.”
The new MRI licence, which has been operational since April 1, allows for the scanning of all eligible patients with referrals from their doctor, not just those admitted into hospital for care.