Date published: 
23 September 2018
Media type: 
Media release
Audience: 
General public

More than 400,000 Australians will now be able to access lifesaving scans for cancer, stroke, heart and other medical conditions with a $175 million investment from the Morrison Government.

Patients in 30 additional locations right around Australia will now be able to access MRI scans when they need it under Medicare.

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, cardiac conditions, trauma and sporting injuries.

The Liberal National Government is helping Australians stay healthy while keeping the cost of healthcare down 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.

Today we announce the first ten locations to receive this new Medicare support, including:

  • Mount Druitt Hospital, New South Wales
  • Sale Hospital, Victoria
  • Royal Darwin Hospital, Northern Territory
  • Mount Barker, South Australia
  • Pindara Private Hospital, Gold Coast, Queensland
  • Northern Beaches Hospital, New South Wales
  • Toowoomba Hospital, Queensland
  • Monash Children’s Hospital, Clayton Victoria
  • St John of God Midland Public and Private Hospital, Western Australia
  • Kalgoorlie Health Campus, Western Australia

Each of these sites has been identified as a location of critical patient need. In many cases hospitals already have this technology ready to provide services from 1 November 2018.

The Morrison Government is committed to providing high quality health services when and where they are needed.

Not only will our new Medicare support ensure patients get the most appropriate treatment and save money, it will also cut down the amount of time patients have to spend travelling to get a scan.

Medicare subsidised MRIs will be accessible in these locations from 1 November 2018, subject to the sites meeting the required approvals and administrative requirements.

Tomorrow we will open a competitive public application process for the location for a further 20 Medicare eligible MRIs and we invite prospective facilities to apply for consideration.

The Morrison Government’s additional 30 sites will bring the total number of fully Medicare eligible MRI machines to 204, a more than 17 per cent increase across Australia.

Earlier this year we boosted Medicare support for a new MRI scan for prostate cancer checks helping 26,000 men each year, as well as a new Medicare listing for 3D breast cancer checks, helping around 240,000 women each year.

Medicare spending is guaranteed and increasing every year from approximately $24 billion in 2017 18 to $28.8 billion in 2021 22.

The Liberal National Government has also announced an additional $2 billion investment in diagnostic imaging over the next decade.

We are retaining the bulk-billing incentive and indexing targeted diagnostic imaging services including mammography, fluoroscopy, CT scans and interventional procedures.

By contrast, Labor has only committed $80 million and not made any commitment to the re-indexation of diagnostic imaging rebates.

Ministers: