The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists (RANZCR), has welcomed the Federal Government’s announcement today regarding indexation of ultrasound and X-ray services.
This is a long overdue win for Australian patients, and an issue RANZCR has spent several years advocating for.
“Indexation will allow more Australian patients the opportunity to afford ultrasound and X-ray services, which are essential and the first diagnostic test for many common health conditions and injuries,” RANZCR President Dr Lance Lawler said.
Dr Lawler said successive Australian governments have failed to introduce indexation of radiology for more than two decades, meaning rebates no longer cover the costs of providing these vital services through Medicare.
Analysis by RANZCR and the Australian Diagnostic Imaging Association (ADIA) found that patients were increasingly out of pocket when they needed an ultrasound. This has resulted in the average gap for ultrasound reaching $106 per service, with patients paying around half the cost of ultrasound from their
Many Australians are therefore being forced to choose between risking their health by not doing a scan or paying the gap payment themselves
“Many Australians are therefore being forced to choose between risking their health by not doing a scan or paying the gap payment themselves,” Dr Lawler said. “This also puts immense pressure on clinical radiologists to manage their workload while providing safe, high-quality services.”
The burden of out of pocket costs is even greater for women because much of their diagnostic imaging is ultrasound based which has been chronically underfunded by Medicare. “Ultrasound, for instance, is often used for gynaecology conditions and during pregnancy, so this is a big win for women across the country,” Dr Lawler said.
“RANZCR’s top priority is the health and wellbeing of Australian patients, and it will continue to advocate for patients to ensure they can access affordable imaging.”