Health boost a Labor pledge

Danielle RaffaeleNorth West Telegraph
Deputy premier and health minister Roger Cook and MLA Kevin Michell at Hedland Health Campus
Camera IconDeputy premier and health minister Roger Cook and MLA Kevin Michell at Hedland Health Campus

Labor is promising $6 million for a potentially life-saving MRI unit at Hedland Health Campus if re-elected this coming March.

The announcement comes are part of a series of health related election promises and would also include increasing the Patient Assisted Travel Scheme subsidy to $100 per night and increasing the number of paramedics for the region.

As part of the promise the Labor government is pledging to provide incentives for general practitioners to work in the regions, to prevent agonising wait times for medical attention.

Aboriginal health was also a focus, with $2.7 million set aside to house Puntukurnu Aboriginal Medical Service Staff at Jigalong.

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Meanwhile, Karratha Health Campus is expected to receive a $10 million cash splash to bolster its services.

Health minister Roger Cook said the immediacy of health care for people in the regions was vital for communities like Hedland.

“Our commitments to healthcare in the Pilbara will ensure more local residents have access to quality health services closer to home,” he said.

“This is welcome news for patients who would otherwise have to fly to Perth and have an MRI.

“(The funds are) a commitment that means we can enhance services here not only in the Hedland community but in other parts of the Pilbara.”

Mr Cook acknowledged that increased specialist medical staff as well as new machinery in the regions was vital .

“You can have as many MRI machine as you like, but unless you’ve got the professionals that stand next to them - the cancer specialists and so on - there will still be a need for people to travel,” he said.

Pilbara MLA Kevin Michel said the funding promise was in response to a large community outcry for localised medical services.

“Pilbara residents have raised with me the need for increased services, so they can receive critical medical services here in the Pilbara,” he said.

“I am very pleased to have secured these funding pledges for the Pilbara.”

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