The Turnbull Government will provide a Medicare-eligible MRI licence at the Kalgoorlie Health Campus, as the first response to a Parliamentary Inquiry into the availability and accessibility of diagnostic imaging equipment around Australia.
Western Australia, and in particular Kalgoorlie, has been identified as an area of critical need.
Our commitment ensures important medical scans will now be available to local patients and means patients in Kalgoorlie will no longer need to drive 600kms to Perth to access a scan.
In March, Western Australia’s Health Minister Roger Cook announced a $3 million commitment for an MRI machine in Kalgoorlie – pending a Medicare licence.
Western Australian Senator Peter Georgiou made significant representations in support of this licence.
West Australians have less access to MRI services than Australians in other states with 1.1 MRI machines per 100,000 people, compared with the national average of 1.4.
Waiting times are also longer than the national average so we are pleased this new licence will benefit thousands of patients.
The Government will shortly respond in full to the entire Senate Inquiry recommendations.
In the last Budget we announced an additional $2 billion investment in diagnostic imaging over the next decade, which Labor have not matched.
By contrast, Labor has only committed $80 million and not made any commitment to the re-indexation of diagnostic imaging rebates.
Only last month we boosted Medicare support for a new MRI scan for prostate cancer checks helping 26,000 men each year, as well as a new Medicare listing for 3D breast cancer checks, helping around 240,000 women each year.
Medicare spending is guaranteed and increasing every year from $24 billion in 2017-18 to $28.8 billion in 2021-22 to support healthcare for every Australian.