THE Clarence Valley will have access to affordable magnetic resonance image (MRI) scanning before the end of the year.
Federal Member for Page Jan- elle Saffin has secured two of the 30 Medicare eligibility licences for MRI scanning offered across Australia for her electorate.
These licences allow for bulk billing of fees for MRI scanning when the patient is referred by a specialist.
The service will be available at Clarence Valley Imaging in Fitzroy St, Grafton and at Lismore Base Hospital.
Ms Saffin said the Grafton MRI scanner would come on line by the time the Medicare licence for MRI scans came into effect on November 1.
"Medicare eligibility for the MRI machine is part of the Government's Diagnostic Imaging Review Reform Package and means local patients will benefit from access to faster diagnosis of medical conditions," Ms Saffin said.
"MRI uses magnetic fields to generate images that help diagnose illness and is particularly important with cancer and stroke patients."
A partner in Clarence Valley Imaging North Coast Radiology Group, John Mulholland, said the MRI licence was another example of how the North Coast of NSW was playing a leading role in bringing affordable health care to the people.
"This will have added benefits for the Clarence Valley," Dr Mulholland said.
"Having MRI scanning available cheaply will attract more specialists to the region.
The managing partner of North Coast Radiology Group, Lincoln Gillam, said there are great benefits for patients through using MRI scanning.
"The key point is that having MRI service available in the local community reduces the need for CT scans and hence reduces medi- cal radiation exposure to the population," Dr Gillam said.