FEDERAL MP Andrew Laming has called on the state government to buy an MRI machine for Redland Hospital.
Health Minister Steven Miles has lashed back, putting the onus on the federal government which grants MRI licences.
Mr Laming said an MRI at Cleveland was outside the hospital, 14 years old and limited by a partial licence.
This meant that a Medicare rebate was available only for brain and knee scans.
“The MRI is outside Redland Hospital, meaning real issues for our inpatients and emergency patients that need urgent scanning,” Mr Laming said.
Mr Laming said he was campaigning for an MRI at Redland Hospital to treat inpatients primarily, as was available at other hospitals.
“There is no point taking sick patients on trolleys out of the hospital,” he said.
Mr Laming said there were nearly 276,000 people in the Redland Hospital catchment area.
“The national MRI ratio should be one for every 150,000 people,” Mr Laming said.
He said a single machine at Greenslopes was swamped by demand and many Redlanders needing an MRI were too frail or ill to travel to the city for a simple scan.
“The current waits for public hospital MRI around Brisbane are as long as 70 days and rarely is reporting done on the same day,” Mr Laming said.
“With Labor promising a second MRI to Redcliffe, it is long overdue for Redlands to have its first.”
Mr Miles said there needed to be more rigour around the federal selection process for which areas received a licence.
“For instance, why has the Morrison government announced a full licence for a private hospital on the Gold Coast ahead of public hospitals like in Redlands?,” Mr Miles said.
“I look forward to Mr Laming getting to the bottom of why this is.”
He said Queensland Health would welcome the opportunity to expand access to Medicare eligible MRI services through the federal government’s licensing program.
“In the meantime, the Palaszczuk government will continue to deliver more and better services for the people of Redlands including expanding the Redland Hospital emergency department, expanding theatre capacity, increasing birthing suite options, establishing an eight-bed intensive care unit and increasing carparking,” Mr Miles said.
Bowman Labor candidate Tom Baster said Redland Hospital patients should have ready access to MRIs because it was a valuable and almost indispensable clinical tool.
“Andrew Laming's government announced 30 new MRI licenses in September with 20 licences open to expressions of interest from hospitals and operational from March next year,” Mr Baster said.
“Is Mr Laming lobbying the federal Health Minister Greg Hunt, and assisting Metro South Health behind the scenes, to secure one of these available licenses for Redland Hospital that he must be aware is up for grabs?”
The MRI debate comes just months after a brawl between Mr Laming and Mr Miles over state and federal government funding of Redland Hospital.