PM Transcripts

Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 15424

New Medicare Eligible MRI Services in North-West Tasmania

Photo of Howard, John

Howard, John

Period of Service: 11/03/1996 to 03/12/2007

More information about Howard, John on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 12/07/2007

Release Type: Media Release

Transcript ID: 15424

I am pleased to announce that the Australian Government will fund a Medicare eligible Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) unit in north-west Tasmania. This unit will serve both the north-west and the west coast regions, effectively from Devonport to Strahan and Queenstown.

This is the first of three new sites which were funded in the 2007-08 Budget to improve access to MRI services in under-serviced metropolitan and regional areas. This Budget measure brings the number of Medicare eligible MRI units in Australia to 115 compared to only 18 in 1998.

MRI is a valuable tool in the diagnosis and treatment of many diseases and conditions such as cancer, stroke and heart disease.

Currently, there are three Medicare funded MRI machines in Tasmania, two in Hobart and one in Launceston. This announcement of a Medicare eligible MRI in north-west Tasmania will significantly improve access to this important medical service for the 110,000 residents living in north-west and western Tasmania.

The new unit is expected to provide up to 15,000 MRI scans over the next four years at a cost to government of about $1.2 million each year in Medicare benefits.

A service provider will be sought through a competitive tender process and it is the Government's expectation that concession card holders and children will not incur any out-of-pocket costs for MRI services provided at this unit.

The Government remains committed to ensuring access to MRI technology and is currently considering the location of the other two units announced in the Budget.

I expect this to be announced in the near future.

Transcript 15424