Mt Druitt loses MRI funding

Mount Druitt Hospital has been dealt a major blow by the federal government.

The government has axed funding for a MRI scanner, promised by former prime minister Kevin Rudd just before the election.

Retired Chifley MP Roger Price started the campaign for an MRI many years ago.

It’s been continued by his successor Ed Husic.

“We fought long and hard to secure the $6 million for MRI facilities at Mount Druitt Hospital,” Mr Husic said.

 ‘‘To learn that service is being axed by treasurer Joe Hockey  just months after being fully funded by the Labor Government is insulting to people of Sydney’s west who will now have to travel greater distances again for diagnosis. With one callous stroke of the treasurer’s pen, it has been taken away.

Mr Husic spent most of last year collecting 4000 petitions in support for the MRI.

He publicly vented frustration at his federal Labor colleagues after it was announced $20 million be spent on the production of children’s film 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

‘‘I don’t need 20,000 Leagues of Sea. I need an MRI at Mount Druitt Hospital," he told Sky News in April.

The federal Department of Health and Ageing told the Star at the time that there were no plans to grant a licence and has been ‘‘unaware’’ of a community campaign.

The MRI was among $500 million worth of health and research cuts by the government.

“This government has no shame,” said Mr Husic.

“It has absolutely no regard for the health and wellbeing of people living in Western Sydney. I promise I will not let up in the fight to have MRI services restored.’’

Reaction on the Star’s Facebook page was mixed.

‘‘Who cares who is to blame ? The fact is that once again, western Sydney hospitals suffer,’’ Gail Campbell Dukes wrote.

But Sally Reedy added:

‘‘An MRI scanner is the last thing Mt Druitt hospital needs there is far bigger priorities required like 24 hr anaesthetic cover. No good providing an MRI scanner when the hospital can’t even operate on the problem if one is found. They don’t even have a neurosurgeon.’’

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