Mid­land MRI scan-dal

Midland Reporter - - News - Lynn Gri­er­son

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.

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