Gladstone a step closer to MRI licence after Beers' campaign
QUEENSLAND'S Health Minister has backed a campaign to secure a public Magnetic Resonance Imaging licence for Gladstone.
Labor candidate for Flynn Zac Beers met with the state's health minister Steven Miles in Brisbane last month to brief him on the campaign he launched calling for the region to have a bulk-billed MRI service.
While the granting of MRI licences is a matter for the Federal Government, Mr Beers said it helped to have the state minister "in our corner".
Gladstone has two MRI machines but neither have a licence for a Medicare rebate.
This means outpatients who can't afford the full cost - about $200 - need to travel to Rockhampton or forego the scan.
Securing more MRI licences was something Labor Leader Bill Shorten highlighted in his speech at last Saturday's Queensland Labor State Conference. "We will deliver more MRI machines for towns in the regions, on the coast and in the outer suburbs, we will fund more urgent care clinics, we will make sure chemotherapy units for Queenslanders battling cancer are more available," Mr Shorten said.
Gladstone has not had an MRI licence since 2013.
It is understood the licence was relocated to Rockhampton due to there being a small number of patients using the service.
Mr O'Dowd said the Federal Government's Minister for Health Greg Hunt has launched a review into MRI licences, with the allocation set to be guided by the advice of medical experts.
"Even this week, I am holding meetings in Gladstone in relation to this exact situation with industry representatives," he said.
"We are retaining the bulk billing incentive and indexing targeted diagnostic imaging services including mammography, fluoroscopy, CT scans and interventional procedures."
Meanwhile Labor has signalled it is preparing for an early poll, with Mr Shorten last week announcing a $500 million bitumen to bridge bonanza. Funding Gladstone's Port Access Road is included in the plan, which also promises up to 300 "wider, stronger bridges".