MRI at GP Super Clinic
Wednesday, 30th June, 2021
By Nardia Keenan
Patients will now be able to undergo diagnostic testing on a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machine at the GP Super Clinic.
The official opening on Monday was conducted by Mayor Darriea Turley and was attended by Wilyakali elder Mrs Maureen O’Donnell who is fondly known as Aunty Maureen.
The MRI has been eagerly awaited since the GP Super Clinic announced last year on February 25 that it would have an upcoming MRI service in collaboration with North West Radiology.
Dr Funmi Komolafe thanked the Director of North West Radiology, Mr Trevor Heaft, and Member for Barwon, Mr Roy Butler MP, for all their efforts with the MRI.
Mr Butler was represented at the opening by Mrs Karen Nash, who said that Mr Butler has been advocating on behalf of Dr Funmi and Mr Heaft for a Medicare rebate for the MRI.
The MRI will be used in many diagnoses, including for tumours and strokes and for conditions of the joints, spine and organs.
It works by a patient laying down inside the machine and a magnetic field temporarily realigning water molecules in the patient’s body. Radio waves cause these aligned atoms to produce faint signals that create cross-sectional MRI images that look like slices in a loaf of bread.
The machine can also produce 3D images which can be viewed from different angles.
Very detailed images are one of the benefits of an MRI, but it also has no radiation exposure and causes no pain.
Dr Funmi said that the lack of this important diagnostic equipment had discouraged specialists, such as orthopaedic surgeons.
“The lack of adequate diagnostic facilities can be a deterrent to attracting more GPs and specialists to our region, as it adds an extra level of challenge inpatient care when compared to our colleagues who practise in the cities.”
Dr Funmi explained that when a patient travels to another city for an MRI scan it not only impacts the patient, who is often unwell and anxious, but also families and carers.
“Not uncommonly, the patient, families or their carers have to take time off work or off their usual engagement to attend the appointment.”
While the government provides some help through the Isolated Patient Travel and Accommodation
Assistance Scheme (IPTAAS), trips away incur additional costs.
Dr Funmi added that border restrictions, due to Covid, present additional challenges to patients in the Broken Hill region who need to travel.
“We have had reports from some of our patients who have been declined services in certain hospitals on arrival during periods of border restrictions because they are from New South Wales.”
Dr Funmi said that patient response to the new MRI had been positive.
“They are very grateful and excited and supportive.”