Mount Gambier secures long awaited MRI

Mount Gambier secures long awaited MRI

Benson Radiology is moving immediately to install an MRI machine in its Mount Gambier and Districts Health Service clinic in a major boost to the region’s health services.

Following recent positive discussions at a State and Federal level, building works to accommodate the MRI within the clinic will get under way in the coming weeks, with a view to the scanner becoming operational in approximately two months.

Benson Radiology Chief Executive Graham McGeagh says the result is welcome news for the South East, given the extensive work that has gone into lobbying for the MRI over many years.

“Our Practice, together with community leaders such as the Member for Mount Gambier Troy Bell MP, Federal Member for Barker Tony Pasin MP and Mount Gambier orthopaedic surgeon Dr Barney McCusker have worked extremely hard to bring this issue to the attention of our politicians,” Mr McGeagh said. 

“I pay tribute to them and other members of the local community who have helped us keep the issue in the spotlight and have played a pivotal role in harnessing the broader Mt Gambier community to lobby for what will be a substantial improvement to health services in the region.”

Country Health SA South East Regional Director Jayne Downs welcomed the news that an MRI would become available locally.

“It will be another valuable tool for doctors in the diagnosis and investigation of a range of health issues; and will complement the services that Benson Radiology currently provides to the Mount Gambier and District Health Service,” Ms Downs said.

Mr McGeagh says while Benson Radiology is pleased to be able to install and operate the MRI, the attention must now turn to obtaining a licence for Medicare rebates from the Federal Government.

“We applied for a MRI Medicare licence in 2012 but were unfortunately unsuccessful, so we’ll continue to work closely with Tony Pasin to secure a licence for the benefit of the community,” he said.  

As only the state’s second regional centre to gain an MRI scanner outside metropolitan Adelaide, Benson Radiology’s MRI service will significantly reduce the need for invasive diagnostic surgery, while eliminating the need for patients to travel four to five hours to the nearest MRI in Adelaide or Warrnambool.

“The travel is not only uncomfortable and inconvenient for many patients, it’s costly, with many locals needing to find accommodation so they can coordinate their specialist and imaging appointments,” Mr McGeagh said. 

The MRI scanner and its installation will be fully funded by Benson Radiology, demonstrating its ongoing commitment and investment in the South East’s health. 

Mount Gambier MP Troy Bell said he was delighted to have assisted in bringing an MRI to Mount Gambier.

“More than 3,500 people signed a petition requesting an MRI facility in Mount Gambier and I will be writing to each and every one of them thanking them for their support,” Mr Bell said.

Dr Barney McCusker welcomed Benson Radiology’s news, saying it was a great credit to the region’s parliamentary members Troy Bell and Tony Pasin who persistently advocated the region’s need.

“Now the patients of south-eastern SA and western Victoria will have access to technology that most other Australians have had access to for some time,” he said.

Pictured above: Mount Gambier MP Troy Bell with Benson Radiology CEO Graham McGeagh.

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