Midland MRI scan-dal
THE health of east metropolitan residents could be at risk without a fully licensed MRI service at Midland hospital, according to a local politician.
Unlike other areas of Perth, patients using St John of God (SJOG) public hospital cannot access the full range of MRI services under Medicare.
Swan Hills MLA Jessica Shaw and East Metropolitan MLC Matthew Swinbourn are calling on the Federal Government to issue a full MRI licence.
Ms Shaw raised her concerns in State Parliament last week while urging residents to sign a petition.
“It is completely unacceptable that people in Ellenbrook and the Hills do not have full Medicare access to MRI services at the local SJOG Midland Public Hospital,” she said.
“My constituents have to pay up to $1000 per scan for some services at the public hospital. If they are able to travel to Royal Perth, Fremantle or Sir Charles Gairdner hospitals, or the Joondalup Health Campus, those same scans would be covered by Medicare.”
Ms Shaw said it would cost the Government an extra $500,000 a year to provide a full MRI service in Midland.
“A lot of people in this area are doing it tough; many simply can’t afford to pay for these services,” she said.
Midland hospital chief executive Michael Hogan said the hospital’s MRI scanner at Perth Radiological Clinic was partially funded by Medicare.
“For regionally-based residents, it can be a great inconvenience having to travel to a facility, such as Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital,” he said.
“It can also lead to delays in appointments and treatments.”
He pointed out that patients admitted to Midland hospital do not pay outof-pocket costs when they require an MRI test during their stay.
A Perth Radiological Clinic spokeswoman said the MRI licence scheme limited the number of MRI scanners that attract a Medicare rebate.
“Community patients do not have access to a Medicare rebate for 80 per cent of approved Medicare MRI investigations if accessed locally,” she said.
Private in-patients likewise do not have access to a Medicare rebate for 80 per cent of approved Medicare MRI investigations, and nor would their health fund contribute towards the cost.
Swan Hills MLA Jessica Shaw and East Metropolitan Region MLC Matthew Swinbourn outside St John of God Public Hospital in Midland.