New pledges: Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon (right) and Page MP Janelle Saffin are introduced to Adrian Connell, site manager for Lahey Constructions, while inspecting construction work at the Grafton Base Hospital yesterday.
New pledges: Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon (right) and Page MP Janelle Saffin are introduced to Adrian Connell, site manager for Lahey Constructions, while inspecting construction work at the Grafton Base Hospital yesterday.

$3m pledged for MRI

A LABOR election pledge of $3 million to fund an MRI machine for the Lismore Base Hospital was greeted with delight yesterday.

“It's fantastic news forlocal patients to have an on-site machine at the Lismore Base,” Chris Crawford, chief executive of the North Coast Area Health Service, said.

He said the pledge was part of an ongoing upgrade to rural health services, which meant the region's hospitals would be able to offer the same ‘best practice' services that were available in metropolitan hospitals.

Funding for the 3T magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine was part of a package of health equipment initiatives announced by Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon while visiting Grafton Base Hospital yesterday.

Lismore Base was also promised $175,000 for new operating theatre lights under health reforms being proposed by Labor if it is re-elected on August 21.

Labor would also fund more elective surgery and emergency department equipment at the Casino and Grafton hospitals, Ms Roxon said.

Casino hospital will be given $243,000 for a breathing machine, bladder scanner, an ECG machine and special camera equipment for gynaecological surgery.

This equipment is being funded under the Federal Government's $200 million flexible funding for emergency departments, elective surgery and sub-acute care – funding for which was provided for in the 2010-11 Budget.

Ms Roxon was at Grafton hospital to tour its revamped emergency department and three new operating theatres. She also announced $10 million in funding for stage two of the works at Grafton hospital.

Federal Page MP Janelle Saffin said: “This election the people of Page have a clear choice – more health and hospital funding under a Gillard Labor Government, or a return to cuts to health services under Mr Abbott.”

The Coalition would rip money out of the health system, including scrapping funding for emergency departments and cutting funding for GP Super Clinics, Ms Saffin said.

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