Hospital complete, no MRI
Kalgoorlie-Boulder could remain without an MRI machine for some time, after health authorities confirmed it was not considered at all during the near-$60 million redevelopment of Kalgoorlie Hospital.
Visiting the city yesterday for the official completion of the seven-year Kalgoorlie Health Campus upgrade, Health Minister Kim Hames said there were several locations around the State that were in need of an MRI machine.
He said while the radiology department at the new hospital had been completely upgraded, including a new CT scanner, the Commonwealth Government restricted the number and availability of MRI licences.
“Because it costs so much to manage them, the Commonwealth Government is concerned people will do MRI scans for everything, so it would be a huge increased burden of costs to the Commonwealth,” Dr Hames said.
“So they restrict the numbers and the availability.
“Our complaint is that per head of population, we have nowhere near as many as the other States.”
Dr Hames said he had written a letter to Federal Health Minister Sussan Ley asking for WA to receive enough MRI machines in critical areas to bring it in line.
According to WA Country Health Service regional director Geraldine Ennis, an MRI scanner was not considered during the redevelopment.
“There is a site available for an MRI, but it is not something that we are thinking of doing immediately,” Ms Ennis said.
“But that does not mean to say in the future we won’t, but at the moment it is not part of the plan.”
Yesterday’s official opening marked the completion of the final phase of the redeve- lopment, including a cancer centre, specialist and outpatient facilities, and allied health services.
It also marked the completion of two accommodation units for chemotherapy patients coming from outside of Kalgoorlie-Boulder for treatment. Ms Ennis said she was thrilled to see the redevelopment completed, saying the level-four hospital was now better positioned to support more patients locally, rather than sending them to Perth.
“The staff have been inconvenienced and so have the public, so for the project to finally be completed is really nice,” Ms Ennis said.
“I think we will always do more locally and continue to grow in our services but there are certain services that we will always have to send people out to the tertiary hospitals for.”
Ms Ennis said the next step was upgrading the renal dialysis unit, with seven additional renal chairs expected to be acquired in October, followed by the construction of a 19-bed hostel which will provide accommodation for people returning or travelling to Kalgoorlie-Boulder for the service.
State Health Minister Kim Hames with local leaders and health officials at the hospital yesterday.