Two Gladstone businesses are applying for a Medicare-funded MRI licence.
Two Gladstone businesses are applying for a Medicare-funded MRI licence.

BUSINESS PLEA: 'Gladstone needs a bulk-billed MRI service'

TWO Gladstone businesses are hopeful they will be among 20 to receive a bulk-billed MRI licence from the Federal Government.

I-Med Radiology and Imaging Queensland, owner of Central Queensland Radiology, confirmed they would both apply for the Medicare-funded licences after the tender process opened this week.

If either were successful it would give Gladstone residents access to bulk-billed MRI scans, which are used to detect and diagnose conditions including tumours and cancer.

The closest bulk-billed service to Gladstone is Rockhampton.

Imaging Queensland chief operating and executive officer Helen Stevens said a full Medicare licence would complement the new service they are set to open in Gladstone in early November with the latest MRI technology.

After two unsuccessful attempts in 2011 and 2013 for a Medicare licence for the Gladstone service, Ms Stevens hopes the Federal Government realises how vital it is for the region.

She said Gladstone patients either paid $200 or more for the scan or travelled to Rockhampton to access the bulk-billed service.

"It doesn't make sense to me, Gladstone needs a bulk-billed MRI service, but the Government hasn't been allocating new licences for a few years," Ms Stevens said.

Federal Member for Flynn, Ken O'Dowd in his Gladstone office on 3 April, 2018.
Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd. Matt Taylor GLA030418KENO

This week the Federal Government announced the first 10 locations to receive new Medicare-funded MRI licences.

With applications open for the 20 remaining licences, Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd said he would continue to push for one to be granted for Gladstone.

The region has been without a bulk-billed service since 2015, when the mobile-service licence was relocated to Rockhampton.

Meanwhile, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten announced last Friday that if elected, he would grant one MRI licence to Gladstone.