CATHERINE KING MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR HEALTH AND MEDICARE
MEMBER FOR BALLARAT
LABOR CANDIDATE FOR CHISHOLM
LABOR TO DELIVER MEDICARE-FUNDED MRI SCANS FOR MELBOURNE’S EAST
Residents of Eastern Melbourne will benefit from affordable access to life-saving medical scans under a Shorten Labor Government.
Labor will deliver a Medicare-funded MRI licence to Box Hill Hospital so locals can get the scans they need close to home without being hit with high out-of-pocket costs.
This full Medicare licence comes on top of Labor’s plan to allow hundreds more MRI machines across the country to bill Medicare for cancer scans.
These commitments are part of Labor’s Fair Go Action Plan to strengthen Medicare and fix our hospitals.
The Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Government has cut $183 million from Victorian hospitals – slashing $13.97 million from Eastern Health alone.
That’s equivalent to nearly 21,000 emergency department visits or 34,000 outpatient appointments. It could also pay for 537 knee replacements or nearly 4,000 cataract extractions.
The people of Melbourne’s east deserve better.
This MRI announcement builds on our commitment to deliver MRI licences to other public hospitals across Melbourne, including at Monash Children’s Hospital, Heidelberg Repat Hospital and Werribee Mercy 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. And we will improve care and drive down out-of-pocket costs for cancer patients with our $2.3 billion Medicare Cancer Plan.
Labor can afford to protect Medicare and fix our hospitals because we are tackling unfair tax loopholes and making multinationals pay their fair share.
THURSDAY, 11 APRIL 2019