Patients in Gympie and throughout Wide Bay will now be able to access lifesaving scans for cancer, stroke, heart and other medical conditions, with Member for Wide Bay Llew O'Brien announcing a new MRI licence for Gympie Radiology.
"This MRI licence means local people will be able to have MRI scans for free, in Gympie," Mr O'Brien said.
"They will no longer have to travel to the Sunshine Coast to access bulk-billed scans to diagnose issues like breast or prostate cancer, stroke, and cardiac issues.
"The Gympie community and its medical professionals have worked with me to bring bulk-billed MRIs to Gympie, and I am delighted the Liberal National Government can now deliver this essential service.
"I congratulate Dr Drew McMenamin and his team at Gympie Radiology on the success of this application and look forward to big difference this new local service will bring to people in the area."
This MRI licence means locals will be able to access a Medicare rebate for an estimated 3,354 services a year – saving lives and reducing the costs for patients.
An MRI is a commonly used medical scan which gives a detailed view of the soft tissues of the body such as muscles, ligaments, brain tissue, discs and blood vessels.
It is used by doctors to diagnose and monitor a number of different medical conditions including cancer and trauma or sporting injuries.
Patients will receive the Medicare-covered MRI services from March.
"The community has fought for this, the medical fraternity has fought for this, but above all else as local member Llew O'Brien has made the case that there is an amazing level of need within the community," Minister for Health Greg Hunt said.
Minister Hunt said the new MRI licence would not have been possible without the work of Mr O'Brien and the Gympie community, and the service would deliver real, practical results.
"We know that it's a long way to the nearest MRI so (it means) better care for patients, earlier diagnoses, and better health outcomes," he said.
Mr Hunt said the Liberal National Government is helping Australians stay healthy and keeping down the cost of healthcare for families.
"Our plan for a strong economy means we continue to deliver record funding for essential services such as Medicare, public hospitals and life-saving medicines," Minister Hunt said.
"Not only will our new Medicare support ensure patients get better treatment and save money, it will also cut down the amount of time patients travel to get a scan."
"Our investment in MRI licences of over $375 million over the forward estimates for 50 new locations around the country delivers on the Government's commitment to improve access and outcomes for patients."
"Unlike Labor we have also committed to reduce the cost for patients by indexing targeted diagnostic imaging services including mammography, fluoroscopy, CT scans and interventional procedures."
"Under the Liberal National Government, Medicare spending is guaranteed and increasing every year from $24 billion in 2017–18 to $28.8 billion in 2021–22 to support health care for every Australian."
"The Government is committed to delivering improved health services which includes increased hospital funding with an extra $8 billion for hospitals taking it to $29.5 billion over five years," Minister Hunt said.
The Liberal National Government's strong economic management ensures the continued record investment of funding into vital health initiatives including mental health, life-saving medicines, Medicare and hospitals.