Community Support Called for Fairer and Affordable MRI for Greater Geelong
Epworth Geelong’s campaign for a full MRI licence was launched today with the support of Federal Member for Corangamite Sarah Henderson.
“I am delighted that the Morrison Government has committed to fund 30 Medicare subsidised MRIs across the country and am strongly backing Epworth’s campaign for a MRI licence,” Ms Henderson said.
Epworth Geelong accommodates Victoria’s most advanced MRI technology, which is vital in providing lifesaving scans for patients suffering from trauma, brain disorders, heart conditions, cancer, and stroke, among other conditions. Without Medicare eligibility for the unit, patients are required to either pay full fees or travel to alternative locations for essential diagnostic services.
The hospital has more than 250 licensed beds, an emergency department and an intensive care unit, and provides cardiac and neurosurgical services to the region. There are very few, if any, hospitals in Australia of this size and breadth of services without onsite Medicare-subsidised MRI.
The Greater Geelong region is one of the fastest growing in the country, but with only two fully Medicare-eligible MRI units, the community is at a distinct disadvantage when compared with much smaller regional populations including Bendigo, with three fully eligible units, and Ballarat and Warrnambool, each with two.
Patients should not have to compromise on health outcomes based on accessibility and affordability, but unfortunately this is the reality for some individuals and their families.
The community campaign for this issue will create awareness about fairer access to subsidised MRI in Geelong. The signatures generated will be a representation of community support for Epworth Geelong’s application to the Federal Minister for Health, the Hon. Greg Hunt MP, for Medicare eligible MRI.
If a full licence is allocated, patients will have access to bulk billed MRI for eligible scans at Epworth Geelong and the community will benefit from reduced wait times for existing services in central Geelong.
With the rates of mental illness on the rise in Australia, particularly in young people, we decided to open up the can of worms and speak to clinical psychologist, Hannah Hawkes, about the elephant in the room.
“A full MRI licence at Epworth Geelong means that patients will no longer compromise on health outcomes based on affordability.”
A record number of graduate nurses and midwives are set to join the Epworth team in February and March this year, for an exciting opportunity to consolidate their theoretical and clinical skills.
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