Joint Media Release with Minister For Health The Hon Greg Hunt MP and Country Liberals Candidate for Solomon Kathy Ganley
Patients in the NT will now be able to access lifesaving scans for cancer, stroke, heart and other medical conditions with the Coalition Government announcing a new MRI licence for Royal Darwin Hospital, Country Liberals Senator for the Northern Territory, Nigel Scullion, and CLP Candidate for Solomon, Kathy Ganley, said.
This MRI licence is expected to benefit 4,000 Territory patients a year through a Medicare rebate and provide an estimated 5,500 services a year.
An MRI is a commonly used medical scan which gives a detailed view of the soft tissues of the body such as muscles, ligaments, brain tissue, discs and blood vessels.
It is used by doctors to diagnose and monitor number of different medical conditions including cancer and trauma or sporting injuries.
Senator Scullion said the Country Liberals were delivering better health services for Territorians.
“The Coalition Government is absolutely committed to ensuring Territorians have access to the same level of amenity as people living in other parts of Australia and I am pleased that Territorians will have easier access to MRI scans as we know early diagnosis of diseases and injuries can save lives and reduce recovery time,” Senator Scullion said.
“Under the Coalition, public hospitals in the Territory will receive $2 billion in Commonwealth funding over the five years to 2024-25, an additional $667 million compared to the previous five years – a funding increase of 50 per cent. The Country Liberals are delivering better health care for Territorians.”
Mrs Ganley said the new MRI licence together with the PET scanner and cyclotron showed the Country Liberals’ ongoing action to improve cancer services in the Northern Territory.
“The CLP at a Territory and Federal level fought hard to deliver the $15 million federal funding required to build the new PET scanner and cyclotron to ensure Territorians are provided the best cancer services possible. This new MRI licence will add to health services available to Territorians for not just cancer but a variety of medical conditions and at less cost due to the Medicare rebate,” Mrs Ganley said.
Royal Darwin Hospital is among ten locations to receive Medicare subsidised MRIs from 1 November 2018, subject to the sites meeting the required approvals and administrative requirements.
Minister for Health Greg Hunt said the Liberal National Government is helping Australians stay healthy and keeping down the cost of healthcare for families.
“Our plan for a strong economy means we continue to deliver record funding for essential services such as Medicare, public hospitals and life-saving medicines.” Minister Hunt said.
“The Morrison Government is committed to providing high quality health services when and where they are needed.
“Not only will our new Medicare support ensure patients get better treatment and save money, it will also cut down the amount of time patients travel to get a scan.”
A competitive public application process will also determine the location for a further 20 Medicare eligible MRIs and the government invites prospective facilities to apply for consideration.
The total of 30 sites to receive Medicare subsidised MRIs will provide more than 400,000 Australians access to lifesaving scans with a total $175 million investment from the Morrison Government.
Medicare spending is guaranteed and increasing every year from approximately $24 billion in 2017 18 to $28.8 billion in 2021 22.
The Liberal National Government has also announced an additional $2 billion investment in diagnostic imaging over the next decade.
We are retaining the bulk-billing incentive and indexing targeted diagnostic imaging services including mammography, fluoroscopy, CT scans and interventional procedures.
By contrast, Labor has only committed $80 million and not made any commitment to the re-indexation of diagnostic imaging rebates.
The Liberal National Government is helping Australians stay healthy while keeping the cost of healthcare down for families.