Labor pledges Medicare-funded MRI licence for Fairfield Hospital

Prospect MP Hugh McDermott, Fowler MP Chris Hayes, Opposition health spokeswoman Catherine King and McMahon MP Chris Bowen.
Prospect MP Hugh McDermott, Fowler MP Chris Hayes, Opposition health spokeswoman Catherine King and McMahon MP Chris Bowen.

McMahon MP Chris Bowen said a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) unit at Fairfield Hospital will help with "early diagnoses and assistance" of conditions that affect soft tissue – including tumours and cancer.

Mr Bowen was joined by Opposition health spokeswoman Catherine King, Prospect MP Hugh McDermott and Fowler MP Chris Hayes for the announcement on Tuesday that, if elected, a Labor government will deliver a Medicare-funded MRI licence to Fairfield Hospital.

"An MRI is really important. At Fairfield Hospital, which has been here for more than 30 years, it doesn't have an MRI machine," Mr Bowen said.

"One of the most important things is to get early diagnoses, early assistance in the care plan. You don't know if you're going to need one [MRI] and it's really important members of our community have access to that."

The pledge is part of Labor’s Fair Go Action Plan to protect Medicare and fix hospitals.

MRI scans, which are used to detect and diagnose conditions as early as possible, only attract a rebate if they are performed on a machine with a licence.  Unlike the alternative – CT scans – MRIs do not use ionising radiation.

Mr Bowen said Labor granted 238 MRI licences when they 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," he said.

"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."

Opposition health spokeswoman Catherine King said: "We know an MRI is necessary when it comes to early diagnoses particularly of things like cancer. We want to make sure people are able to do that in the best and most affordable way possible."  

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