Patients denied MRI care without MRI rebate

A SENIOR radiologist at the Tweed Hospital has revealed some patients are going without vital MRI scans because they can't afford them.

"Tweed's situation is critical, we see lots of patients who don't have the financial means to pay for an MRI and struggle to afford an integral part of medicine," the senior clinician, who asked not to be identified, said.

"Patients ... at the hospital are being denied funding for tests that their specialists need to look after them, whereas at Gold Coast and Lismore the patients have access to that funding and arguably the need here is greater."

The clinician said the technology was considered "exotic or special" a decade ago but wasn't today and was now used for all fields of medicine.

"It's far more effective than CT in diagnosing stroke, which can be life threatening or disabling, to find brain tumours or aneurysms, and that's just the brain," he said.

"In children, the alternative of CT carries a life-time of risk to cancer which while small, can add up. That's why we stress the role of MRI in paediatrics."

Richmond MP Justine Elliot, Able Medico managing partner Mark Graeme and Medical Staff Council chairman Dr Mike Lindley-Jones launched a campaign for a full MR license for the Tweed Hospital on Saturday.


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