THE HON. BILL SHORTEN MP
LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
CATHERINE KING MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR HEALTH AND MEDICARE
MEMBER FOR LILLEY
LABOR CANDIDATE FOR LILLEY
LABOR CANDIDATE FOR DICKSON
LABOR TO DELIVER MEDICARE-FUNDED MRI SCANS FOR BRISBANE’S NORTHSIDE
The people of Brisbane’s northside will benefit from better access to affordable life-saving medical scans under a Shorten Labor Government.
Labor will deliver a full Medicare-funded MRI licence to The Prince Charles Hospital, ensuring locals can access the scans they need close to home without paying high out-of-pocket costs.
This is part of Labor’s Fair Go Action Plan to protect Medicare and fix our hospitals.
The Prince Charles is a major Brisbane hospital with over 600 beds. It has a particular speciality in heart imaging and has two MRI machines as part of its Centre of Excellence in Cardiovascular MRI.
However neither MRI machine has a full Medicare licence – meaning Medicare doesn’t cover scans for most outpatients.
Labor will upgrade one of these MRIs to a full licence, expanding access to bulk-billed MRI scans and cutting wait times.
A bipartisan Senate inquiry recognised Brisbane’s northside as an area of major shortage a year ago.
The Government’s own data shows that the Brisbane North Primary Health Network has one of the lowest numbers of fully eligible MRIs per capita in the country.
The Liberals have acknowledged there’s a shortage but after nearly six years in power they’ve done nothing about it.
That’s typical of the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Government. They know there’s a problem – but they’re too distracted by their own divisions to actually fix them.
This announcement builds on Labor’s commitment to also deliver an MRI licence to nearby Redcliffe Hospital. Elsewhere in Queensland, Labor has also promised an MRI licence for Gladstone.
MRI scans are used to detect and diagnose conditions that affect soft tissue – including tumours and cancer – and can mean the difference in detecting a disease as early as possible. But they only attract a rebate if they are performed on a machine with a licence.
Labor has a proud record on MRIs, granting 238 licences when we were last in office. That means hundreds of communities are benefiting from the early detection and diagnosis of disease today because of Labor’s investment.
The Liberals on the other hand neglected this issue for most of their time in office, granting just one a year in their first five years. It has only been in recent months they have recognised their dismal failure in this space and moved to match Labor’s commitments.
Labor has already announced 10 new licences for public hospitals around the country. We will still deliver a further 10 licences through a transparent application process if we win Government.
Labor’s investment in MRI licences comes on top of our commitment to invest an extra $2.8 billion in public hospitals.
We will reverse the Liberal public hospital cuts and ensure our emergency departments and hospital wards have the doctors, nurses and hospital staff to keep up with record demand.
Labor can afford to protect Medicare and fix our hospitals because we are tackling unfair tax loopholes and making multinationals pay their fair share.
FRIDAY, 18 JANUARY 2019