The Independent Member for Denison, Andrew Wilkie, will join radiologists and radiology industry representatives to call on the Federal Government to end the 20-year Medicare rebate freeze on X-rays and scans in next week’s budget.

Andrew Wilkie MP, Independent Member for Denison
Sally Williams, General Manager, Regional Imaging Southern Tasmania
Dr Raj Doolabh, radiologist
Chris Kane, Senior Policy Officer, Australian Diagnostic Imaging Association
WHEN: 12:00pm TODAY 2 May
WHERE: Parliament House lawns HOBART

“The Prime Minister made an election commitment that he would end the Medicare rebate freeze for X-rays and scans,” Mr Wilkie said. “But the Government has reneged on their promise and is telling radiologists that the freeze won’t be lifted.”

“This will hit especially hard in Tasmania. Not only is our health system is already at breaking point, but we have the highest mortality rate for diseases like breast cancer and pancreatic cancer, which often require these radiology services.

“Alarmingly, 10,000 Tasmanians every year decide not to get X-rays and scans that their doctor refers them to get because of the cost. The out-of-pocket cost for radiology services can be hundreds of dollars and, for some X-rays and scans used to diagnose and treat common cancers, it can be over $1,000.

“Let’s not forget too that Tasmanians have a higher reliance on government pensions and payments and the public health care system. For example one in three Tasmanians are concession card holders compared to the national average of one in five, and 78.4% of people over 65 receive the Age Pension compared to the national average of 74.6%.

“Radiologists here in Tasmania are doing the best they can to offer these services despite being starved of funding by the Federal Government. But the situation can’t continue like this. The Prime Minister must keep his promises and lift the freeze so that Tasmanians can get the health care they need.”
Independent Member for Denison, Andrew Wilkie