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Patients in Lithgow and throughout the region will now be able to access lifesaving scans for cancer, stroke, heart and other medical conditions, with the Federal Government announcing a new MRI licence for Lithgow District Hospital.

This MRI licence means locals will be able to access a Medicare rebate for an estimated 3,354 services a year – saving lives and reducing the costs for patients.

An MRI is a commonly used medical scan which gives a detailed view of the soft tissues of the body such as muscles, ligaments, brain tissue, discs and blood vessels. It is used by doctors to diagnose and monitor a number of different medical conditions including cancer and trauma or sporting injuries.

Federal Member for Calare, Andrew Gee said this will be the first MRI machine for Lithgow District Hospital.

“There was extremely hot competition from around Australia to get one of these MRI licences, but in the end the case for Lithgow was undeniable,” Mr Gee said.

“It means a great deal not only for local health professionals, but it also means patients will no longer have to travel long distances for scans. In previous cases, some patients have had to travel up to 100km for an MRI scan.

“This MRI licence builds on Lithgow’s existing medical services and will help to anchor health services in Lithgow for decades to come.

“I’d like to thank all of the community members who have worked so hard for so many years to secure this licence. Many thought this wouldn’t happen, but it’s arrived at last.”

Minister for Health Greg Hunt said the Federal Government is helping Australians stay healthy and keeping down the cost of healthcare for families.

“Our plan for a strong economy means we continue to deliver record funding for essential services such as Medicare, public hospitals and life-saving medicines,” Minister Hunt said.

“Not only will our new Medicare support ensure patients get better treatment and save money, it will also cut down the amount of time patients travel to get a scan.”

“Our investment in MRI licences of over $375 million over the forward estimates for 50 new locations around the country delivers on the Government’s commitment to improve access and outcomes for patients.”