THE HON BILL SHORTEN MP
LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS & ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDERS
MEMBER FOR MARIBYRNONG
THE HON CATHERINE KING MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR HEALTH AND MEDICARE
FEDERAL MEMBER FOR BALLARAT
LABOR CANDIDATE FOR MAYO
LABOR TO DELIVER LIFE-SAVING MEDICAL SCANS FOR THE ADELAIDE HILLS
People living in the Adelaide Hills region will benefit from more affordable access to life-saving medical scans under a Shorten Labor Government.
Labor will deliver a new Medicare-subsidised MRI licence to Mount Barker District Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital, meaning people will no longer have to travel Adelaide to access subsidised scans.
This will help people living in Normanville, Kangaroo Island, Victor Harbor, Goolwa, Murray Bridge and Mannum who currently need to travel up to four hours to Adelaide for an MRI.
Labor will act to end the Turnbull Government’s failure on MRIlicences.
Currently, people who undergo scans at Mount Barker have to pay hundreds of dollars out of their own pockets, or travel long-distances to find affordable scans. As a result, people from the region make more than 7000 trips into Adelaide each year for scans.
The Country SA Primary Health Network – including Mount Barker – has the lowest number of full Medicare MRI licences per capita in Australia. As a result, people wait an average 36 days after they have been referred by a specialist for Medicare MRI services.
This licence is one of 20 Labor will deliver nationwide – because we understand that improving access to health care is about improving people’s quality of life.
MRI scans are used to detect and diagnose conditions that affect soft tissue – including tumours and cancer – and are critical in the early detection of many diseases.
If someone cannot access a Medicare MRI they can be forced to pay high out-of-pocket costs or join lengthy waiting lists. Some people choose to forego the scans altogether, potentially putting their lives at risk.
Labor ‘s commitment will benefit everyone in the region and take pressure off MRI services in the city.
The Turnbull Government has completely neglected MRI scans, granting only five MRIlicences during five years in office – and the latest only as a result of a dodgy deal with One Nation in Western Australia.
Laborby contrast granted 238 licences when we were in office, with hundreds of communities benefiting from the early detection and diagnosis of disease today because of Labor’s investment.
A Shorten Labor Government will grant 20 MRI licenses, with the first ten licences reserved for public hospitals such as Mount Barker District Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital. The remaining licences will be awarded via a transparent application process under a Labor Government.
Malcolm Turnbull and Georgina Downer have been completely silent on this issue – because they only care about looking after the top end of town, not the health needs of the community. They are so out-of-touch that they don’t get why an MRI licence is a priority for the Adelaide Hills.
Labor is prioritising Australia’s health care and hospitals – we will reverse Malcolm Turnbull’s hospital cuts and provide a desperately needed MRI licence to the Adelaide Hills region. We can afford to do that because we’re not giving $17 billion away to the banks.
FRIDAY, 13 JULY 2018