The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists (RANZCR) applauds Opposition Leader Bill Shorten’s announcement in the budget reply that if elected Labor will significantly increase access to vital scans for Australian cancer patients.
This announcement is part of their $2.3bn Medicare cancer plan. Cancer patients require multiple visits to specialists, imaging and treatments and have shouldered significant out of pocket costs as a result. This has resulted in some patients delaying or missing out on essential tests such as MRI.
RANZCR President Dr Lance Lawler said “Cancer affects one in two Australians at some point in their lives and they must have timely and affordable access to the care they need. These patients require imaging at several stages of their cancer journey including diagnosis, staging, treatment planning and assessment and ongoing monitoring to look for disease recurrence.”
Australia has lagged behind other OECD countries in terms of access to MRI. This investment coupled with quality measures could position Australia as a global leader in the quality and appropriate use of imaging for cancer.
RANZCR has been advocating for increased access to MRI and it is a high priority for our members this election. We thank the Opposition for listening to the concerns of patients and clinicians and acting to address barriers in Medicare.
Cancer patients will now have a choice of any MRI machine close to where they live. Dr Lawler said “This is the first time a political party has recognised the unfair and restrictive MRI licencing system and has committed to levelling the playing field for cancer patients”.
RANZCR also welcome the addition $433 million for specialist consultation with cancer doctors including radiation oncologists.