Positron Emission Tomography (PET)

About access to Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and nuclear medicine imaging services in Australia.

Page last updated: 26 October 2016

Positron Emission Tomography (PET)

Positron Emission Tomography (PET) is a nuclear medicine technology that uses short-lived radioisotopes to enable the non-invasive imaging of metabolic functions within the body. While computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) primarily provide information about anatomical structure, PET can image and quantify biochemical and/or physiological function. This is important because functional changes caused by disease, such as cancer, are often detectable before any structural abnormalities become evident.

    Claiming Medicare benefits

    The requirements for claiming Medicare benefits for PET scans are listed in the Diagnostic Imaging Services Table. See Category 5 of the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS). They state that the service must be performed by an appropriately qualified person, in a comprehensive facility that can provide a full range of diagnostic imaging services and cancer treatment services and be provided using equipment that meets certain requirements, and only following a referral from a recognised physician or specialist consultant.

    All PET providers must complete a PET Provider Statutory Declaration prior to being eligible to claim Medicare rebates. Statutory declarations can be obtained directly from the Department of Human Services.

    Additionally, as PET and nuclear medicine items are located on the Diagnostic Imaging Services Table, all sites must be accredited under the government’s Diagnostic Imaging Accreditation Scheme prior to performing Medicare eligible PET scans.

    Medicare eligible PET unit locations by Australian state and territory

    New South Wales— Positron emission tomography (PET) units

    Practice name
    NSWRoyal Prince Alfred HospitalMissenden Road
    Camperdown NSW 2050
    NSWPRP Imaging Gosford43 William Street
    Gosford NSW 2250
    NSWPrince of Wales HospitalBarker Street
    Randwick NSW 2031
    NSWLiverpool HospitalCorner of Elizabeth and Goulburn Streets
    Liverpool NSW 2170
    NSWNorthern Nuclear Medicine185 Fox Valley Road
    Wahroonga NSW 2076
    NSWWestmead HospitalDarcy Road
    Westmead NSW 2145
    NSWSt Vincent's General Hospital390 Victoria Street
    Darlinghurst NSW 2010
    NSWLismore Base Hospital60 Uralba Street
    Lismore NSW 2480
    NSWSouthern Cardio-Vascular Ultrasound Services479 Crown Street
    Wollongong NSW 2500
    NSWIllawarra PET Centre348-352 Crown Street
    Wollongong NSW 2500
    NSWMacquarie Medical Imaging3 Technology Place
    North Ryde NSW 2113
    NSWNepean HospitalDerby Street
    Penrith NSW 2751
    NSWWaratah Imaging31 Dora Street
    Hurstville NSW 2220
    NSWHunter New England Imaging2 Edith Street
    Waratah NSW 2298
    NSWRegional Imaging201-239 Borella Road
    East Albury NSW 2640
    NSWRoyal Northshore HospitalReserve Road
    St Leonards NSW 2065
    NSW Hunter Radiology 710 Hunter Street
    Newcastle West NSW 2302
    NSWHunter Imaging Group10 Sydney Street
    Gateshead NSW 2302

    Victoria— Positron emission tomography (PET) units

    Practice name
    VICSt Vincents Hospital Melbourne41 Victoria Parade
    Fitzroy VIC 3065
    VIC.Austin Hospital145 Studley Road
    Heidelberg VIC 3084
    VICPeter Maccallum Cancer Centre2 St Andrews Place
    East Melbourne VIC 3002
    VICBarwon Health the Geelong Hospital272-322 Ryrie Street
    Geelong VIC 3220
    VICThe Alfred55 Commercial Road
    Prahran VIC 3181
    VICBox Hill Radiology1 Arnold Street
    Box Hill VIC 3128
    VICLake Imaging Ballarat101 Drummond Street
    Ballarat VIC 3350
    VICEpping Diagnostic Imaging and MRI175 Cooper Street
    Epping VIC 3076
    VICFrankston Private Radiology24-28 Frankston-Flinders Road
    Frankston VIC 3199
    VICMoorabbin Hospital823-865 Centre Road
    Bentleigh East VIC 3165
    VICWestern Private Hospital44 Eleanor Street
    Footscray VIC 3011
    VICBridge Road Imaging84 Bridge Road
    Richmond VIC 3121
    VICHealthcare Imaging KnoxKnox Private Hospital
    262 Mountain Hwy
    Wantirna VIC 3152

    Queensland— Positron emission tomography (PET) units

    Practice name
    QLDWesley Medical Imaging 451 Coronation Drive
    Auchenflower QLD 4066
    QLDSouth Coast Radiology Southport103-113 Nerang Street
    Southport QLD 4215
    QLDGold Coast University HospitalHospital Bvd
    Southport QLD 4215
    QLDQueensland X-Ray Mater Private Hospital301 Vulture Street
    South Brisbane QLD 4101
    QLDPrincess Alexandra Hospital 199 Ipswich Road
    Woolloongabba QLD 4102
    QLDTownsville Hospital100 Angus Smith Drive
    Douglas QLD 4814
    QLDQueensland X-Ray Mater Hyde Park9-13 Bayswater Road
    Hyde Park QLD 4812
    QLDThe Royal Brisbane and Womens HospitalButterfield Street
    Royal Brisbane Hospital QLD 4029
    QLDQScan Southport119-123 Nerang Street
    South port QLD 4215
    QLDQueensland X-Ray St Andrews Toowoomba Private Hospital280 North Street
    Rockville QLD 4350
    QLDCairns HospitalEsplanade Road
    Cairns QLD 4870
    QLDSunshine Coast Medical Imaging3 Lyrebird Street
    Buderim QLD 4556
    QLDHerston Imaging Research Facility3 Butterfield Street
    Herston QLD 4006

    South Australia— Positron emission tomography (PET) units

    Practice name
    SARoyal Adelaide HospitalNorth Terrace
    Adelaide SA 5000
    SATennyson Specialist Centre506-520 South Road
    Kurralta Park SA 5037

    Tasmania— Positron emission tomography (PET) units

    Practice name
    TASRoyal Hobart Hospital48 Liverpool Street
    Hobart TAS 7000
    TASRegional Imaging Tasmania 31 Argyle Street
    Hobart TAS 7000

    Western Australia— Positron emission tomography (PET) units

    Practice name
    WASKG Radiology12 Salvado Road
    Subiaco WA 6008
    WASir Charles Gairdner Hospital Hospital Avenue
    Nedlands WA 6009
    WAOceanic Medical Imaging Hollywood PET-CT Centre 85 Monash Avenue
    Nedlands WA 6009
    WAPerth Radiological Clinic57 Shenton Avenue
    Joondalup WA 6027
    WATelemed-Global DiagnosticsBussell Highway
    Bunbury WA 6230
    WA Fiona Stanley Hospital102-118 Murdoch Drive
    Murdoch WA 6150

    Australian Capital Territory— Positron emission tomography (PET) units

    Practice name
    ACTThe Canberra HospitalYamba Drive
    Garran ACT 2605

    Nuclear medicine imaging

    Nuclear medicine is a medical specialty that involves the administration of a small amount of a radioactive medication (radioactive pharmaceutical, or radiopharmaceutical) into the patient. This makes the patient weakly radioactive for a short time and the images are made from the ionising radiation given off (emitted) from the patient. The radioactive medication is most commonly injected into the blood stream via a vein, but it may be also be administered by other methods.

    While nuclear medicine is primarily used for imaging purposes, it can also be used to treat some diseases and conditions. When nuclear medicine is used for treatment purposes, the dose of the radiopharmaceuticals is usually higher, and is usually administered directly to the organ being treated.

    Common nuclear medicine applications include the diagnosis and treatment of hyperthyroidism (Grave's Disease), cardiac stress tests to analyse heart function, bone scans for orthopaedic injuries, lung scans for blood clots, and liver and gall bladder procedures to diagnose abnormal function or blockages and also cancer treatment.

    In order for a nuclear medicine imaging service to be eligible under Medicare, the service must be performed by a specialist or consultant physician, or by a suitably qualified person acting on behalf of a specialist. The final report of the service must also be compiled by the specialist who performed the preliminary examination of the patient and administered the dosage of radiopharmaceuticals.

    For further information please email the Accreditation team.