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Noosa Still Lacking When It Comes To Medical Technology

Noosa remains the largest regional area in Australia without a full MRI Medicare licence and Noosa Radiology is calling for this to be a focus in the lead-up to this weekend's Federal Election.

With a burgeoning population, locals do not have access to Medicare-subsidised, lifesaving scans, such as cancer, stroke, heart, trauma, sporting injuries and other
medical conditions.

Noosa Radiology, the region’s largest radiology clinic, has repeatedly applied for a full MRI licence to ensure all patients have access to timely medical services.

Noosa Radiology’s Managing Radiologist, Dr Drew McMenamin, said the majority of patients currently have to travel 45 minutes north or south (to either Gympie or
Kawana) to have a bulk-billed MRI carried out.

In a recent allocation of 50 MRI Medicare licences by the Federal Government Department of Health and Aging - Noosa missed out yet again.

“All Australians should be entitled to equal access to essential healthcare services.

Including MRI,” Dr McMenamin said. “Per capita, Noosa is the largest regional area in Australia without access to a fully licenced MRI”.

“Along with our local doctors, we now have 40 visiting specialists each week to Noosa Hospital and consulting rooms. This in turn is seeing more than 5000 patients
each year being forced to travel long distances to get a rebated MRI scan.

“Access to quality healthcare for more than 52,000 locals is vital. Instead, what we have in most instances, are long travel times and long waitlists for Medicare eligible
outpatient scans”.

Dr McMenamin said he was calling on local MPs and politicians ahead of this weekend’s election to commit to solving the serious local health issue.

“Noosa Radiology has been providing comprehensive Radiology service to our region for 10 years – yet we are still to receive a full Medicare licence for MRI
services. As a result, the majority of our patients, including patients from Noosa Hospital and Eden Rehabilitation Hospital, have to travel 45 minutes to have access to Medicare eligible MRI,” he said.

Noosa Radiology has received more than 8,000 signatures of support in a petition from patients, referring Specialists, GPs and Allied Health Professionals to receive a
full MRI licence.

“We have seen applicants North and South of Noosa considered favourably so we remain hopeful but would like action taken quickly to rectify this situation,” Dr
McMenamin said.

“Not only would this upgraded Medicare licence improve the quality of health care services locally, it would attract more specialists to the region.”

“We are asking for the support of our local MP Llew O’Brien and the Federal Government to support the Noosa region with timely access to this essential medical
service.

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