Hos­pi­tal com­plete, no MRI

Kalgoorlie Miner - - NEWS - Te­gan Guthrie

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.

Pic­ture: Mary Meagher

State Health Min­is­ter Kim Hames with lo­cal lead­ers and health of­fi­cials at the hos­pi­tal yesterday.

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