CANNING MRH Andrew Hastie has broken a promise to the people of Canning by not ending the freeze on funding of radiology services in Medicare and perpetuating a new “Medicare lie” to families, according to a Mandurah radiologist.
Peter Leaver, from SKG Radiology Mandurah, said the promise to index radiology services with the new Medicare funding was broken, instead only increasing Medicare funding for 59 scans out of 891 and not until 2020.
But Mr Hastie said it was rich of SKG to try and smear the Government on spending when its own multi-national parent company drew revenue of more than $5 billion in 2015-16.
“If SKG is so concerned about the well-being of the people of Canning they should consider putting money into reducing the cost of their services, rather than the $4.4 million of their parent company’s director,’’ he said.
Dr Leaver said cancer sufferers in Canning needing an ultrasound for breast or testicular cancer, PET scans for melanoma, cervical, ovarian or lung cancer or an MRI for multiple sclerosis or colorectal cancer would have to pay large gaps or have new gaps introduced or have restricted access to new technologies.
He said the Government’s broken promise to fund health services locally was disappointing for patients at a time of increasing pressures on families in Canning.
“I’ve heard Mr Hastie speak about the pressures families are under trying to put a roof over their head and he even made a speech about mining workers losing their jobs when 390 people found themselves out of work,’’ Dr Leaver said.
“That’s why they are skimping on their health services and not getting vital treatment, housing is too expensive, FIFO workers are losing their jobs in Canning and health treatment is something they are opting to do without.
“Medicare is still broken and it’s costing Australians on average $100 per service in out of pocket costs and will cost much more for scans such as a CT or MRI.”
Dr Leaver urged Mr Hastie to end the 19 year freeze on Medicare rebates for diagnostic scans.
“After 19 years it is becoming unviable to offer services to patients that will help save their life through early diagnosis, particularly cancer, without gap fees increasing” he said.
Mr Hastie said the Government rejected the claim of a broken election commitment.
“Commonwealth funding for radiotherapy has increased by around 27 per cent over the past four financial years,” he said.
“As part of a $97 million package, the Government is retaining bulk billing incentives for pathology and diagnostic imaging, including blood tests, x-rays, scans ands Pap smears.”
Mr Hastie said the Government would also introduce indexation for targeted diagnostic imaging services, including mammography, fluoroscopy, ST scans and interventional procedures from July 1, 2020 for the first time since 2004.