NEW CLINIC: High-tech MRI craned in as service relocates
GLADSTONE residents will have access to the latest radiology technology, including a 3T MRI machine, as Central Queensland Radiology moves to a bigger location.
The new clinic, due to open November 12, will house the MRI technology, along with an ultra low-dose CT scanner and four ultrasound rooms.
Central Queensland Radiology operations manager for Gladstone and Biloela Susan Jochheim said the 3T MRI would make life easier for those who previously travelled to Rockhampton for the service.
"The facility will provide patients with easy access, which has been limited, and just is a new experience in radiology," Ms Jochheim said.
"It will be a lot more personal, a lot more relaxing and streamlined.
"Everyone often talks about being claustrophobic in an MRI.
"This magnet has the biggest bore size so it will be a nicer experience for the patient going into it and also allows a larger patient access to the machine."
She said the 3T MRI machine would allow prostate and breast imaging, brain and spinal cord injury scans and the diagnosis of "cancers of a smaller nature".
Central Queensland Radiology managing director Dr Siavash Es'haghi said the new practice would reduce patient wait times and also offer health and chest screening for mining workers.
At present, MRI scanning services cannot be bulk-billed in Gladstone.
Dr Es'haghi said residents would sometimes pay upwards of $200 to have a scan done locally.
Ms Jochheim said the purchase of the new machine coincided with the hope that Gladstone would soon be approved for an MRI bulk-billing licence.
"Applications are due in the next couple of weeks and we are in the process of applying, so it's a matter now of waiting for the government to assign those licenses," Ms Jochheim said.
"In the new year it will result in us being able to offer the patient a rebateable MRI which will be bulk billed."
Applications were previously made for rebateable MRI services in 2011 and 2013 but were unsuccessful both times.
Gladstone has been without a bulk-billed service since 2015 when the mobile-service licence was relocated to Rockhampton.
Ms Jochheim said she was positive about the outcome of the most recent application.
"We're very hopeful and that's why we've gone ahead and made this (MRI) purchase," she said.
The new facility on Dawson Road will see a full transition from the previous one on Phillip Street and is expected to attract four new roles.