THE HON CATHERINE KING MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR HEALTH AND MEDICARE
MEMBER FOR BALLARAT
CHRIS HAYES MP
CHIEF OPPOSITION WHIP
MEMBER FOR FOWLER
LABOR TO DELIVER MEDICARE-FUNDED MRI SCANS FOR SYDNEY’S SOUTH WEST
Residents in Sydney’s south west will benefit from affordable access to life-saving medical scans under a Shorten Labor Government.
Labor will deliver a Medicare-funded MRI licence to Fairfield Hospital so locals can get the scans they need close to home without being hit with high out-of-pocket costs.
This is part of Labor’s Fair Go Action Plan to protect Medicare and fix our hospitals.
After years of Liberal neglect on MRI licences, Western Sydney was identified in a Senate inquiry last year as an area of major shortage.
But instead of investing in new services like an MRI licence for Fairfield, all the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Government has done is cut from NSW hospitals – slashing $17.2 million from South Western Sydney Hospitals alone.
That’s equivalent to 26,000 emergency department visits or 42,000 outpatient appointments. It could also pay for 660 knee replacements or nearly 5000 cataract extractions.
The people of Sydney’s south west deserve better.
Labor’s announcement builds on our commitment to also deliver an MRI licence to nearby Mt Druitt Hospital.
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.
They are particularly important for children and young people because unlike the alternative – CT scans – MRIs do not use ionising radiation. Children’s Healthcare Australasia says that for every 1,000 CT scans, a new case of cancer is created in an Australian child.
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’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.
TUESDAY, 12 MARCH 2019