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Much-needed MRI machine now in Broken Hill

Wednesday, 2nd June, 2021

By Emily McInerney

The GP Super Clinic’s fully-fledged MRI scanning machine has gone live and is the first of its kind for the city.
In February last year, the GP Super Clinic announced they would be installing a state-of-the-art MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) service on their premises.
MRI scans are useful in the diagnosis of several conditions and are becoming the preferred mode of radiological investigations in many cases.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of the body is performed to evaluate organs of the chest and abdomen including the heart, liver, kidneys, spleen, bowels, pancreas, and blood vessels, as well as the bladder and reproductive organs like the prostate and the ovaries.
MRI scans work by using a powerful magnetic field, radio waves and a computer to produce detailed pictures of internal body structures. MRI does not use radiation (x-rays).
The GP Super Clinic plans had always had a full radiology service including a fully-functional MRI service.
The Clinic’s Dr Funmi Komolafe said the MRI machine performed its first scan during the week and they were excited to have it go live.
“It is the first real MRI of its kind, the first fully-fledged MRI scan machine in Broken Hill,” she said.
“Prior to this, patients needed to travel to get a comprehensive scan and would have to go to Adelaide.”
Dr Komolafe said the machine is available to everyone in Broken Hill and the surrounding region.
She said results take two to three days to come back.
“Referrals are welcome from all services, including the hospital, which is highly convenient as we are right across the road.”
Dr Komolafe said there had been some hold-ups due to COVID but they were happy to have it up and running now.
“Right from the start of the Super Clinic development, our objectives have been to meet gaps in healthcare in the region. Needing an MRI service was one of the gaps we are happy to fill.
“It’s been a long process to put the service together and it has taken a lot of planning and collaboration. It was our vision to provide this service.”
The MRI service will complement the currently-operating Pain Management Program in confirming diagnoses, excluding sinister causes of pain and will complement the existing radiology service.
It will facilitate accurate diagnoses where cancers or tumours are suspected, and assist in the monitoring of oncology patients.
Situated right across the Broken Hill Base Hospital, it should be convenient for patients seen at the hospital to have access to the service.
Patients will now have the option to not travel out of Broken Hill for MRIs of the regions of the body like the prostate, head, abdomen, and chest, as they currently do.
This will go a long way to minimising the expenses incurred by IPTAAS, lessen the time taken off work for the residents of Broken Hill who work, and reduce the inconvenience for families and carers.
Dr Komolafe said it was also their hope to become licensed by the Government to help offset the costs of the scans.
“Normally MRI’s are Medicare-funded, but specific locations are licensed. This is determined by the Federal Government.
“We have asked for a license and we are hoping the Government support us in this.
“It would mean patients don’t have to pay out of pocket to receive a scan.
“In the view of border closures and the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus, it is more important than ever that an isolated community can provide a Medicare-funded MRI service that is licensed.”

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