Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce, is urging local communities to help secure more MRI services in the region.
The competitive public application process to determine the location for 20 Medicare eligible MRI licences, is now open.
“It was great to see a new MRI machine commissioned in Tamworth Hospital recently and the potential is so much more for patients here in the New England should we secure a Medicare licence,” Mr Joyce said.
“So I strongly encourage prospective local facilities to apply for consideration for an MRI licence to access lifesaving scans for medical conditions.”
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. It is used by doctors to diagnose and monitor number of different medical conditions including cancer and trauma or sporting injuries.
The Government has already announced 10 locations to receive Medicare subsidised MRIs from 1 November 2018, subject to the sites meeting the required approvals and administrative requirements.
The total of 30 sites to receive Medicare subsidised MRIs will provide more than 400,000 Australians access to lifesaving scans with a total $175 million investment from the Morrison Government.
Minister for Health Greg Hunt said the Liberal National Government is helping Australians stay healthy and keeping the cost of healthcare down for families.
“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,” Minister Hunt said.
Medicare spending is guaranteed and increasing every year from approximately $24 billion in 2017?18 to $28.8 billion in 2021?22. The Liberal National Government has also announced an additional $2 billion investment in diagnostic imaging over the next decade.
The Coalition Government is retaining the bulk-billing incentive and indexing targeted diagnostic imaging services including mammography, fluoroscopy, CT scans and interventional procedures. By contrast, Labor has only committed $80 million and not made any commitment to the re-indexation of diagnostic imaging rebates.
More information about the MRI licensing application process is available here.