Radiology service scrapped

NORTH Coast Radiology has scrapped four part-time nursing positions and will also close its Lismore-based cardiovascular unit next week.

General manager Bruce Tually said the part-time positions had been made redundant as part of a restructure, but would be replaced by a full-time position at St Vincent's Hospital.

The cardiovascular unit, or angiography suite, provides an angiogram service to the local community.

An angiogram is a medical imaging technique used to visualise the inside of blood vessels and organs of the body, particularly the arteries, veins and heart chambers.

Mr Tually said it was no longer viable to provide the service since the recent opening of an angiogram suite at the Lismore Base Hospital.

“We were cognisant of the timing of this closure and restructure,” Mr Tually said.

“We didn't want to leave people without a service so we have waited for the Lismore Base Hospital service to open.

“But it is simply not sustainable to retain the service and it is becoming increasingly difficult to remain viable, and that's right across the diagnostic imaging industry.”

Mr Tually said a rebate freeze on imaging services between 1998 and 2008 had placed increasing pressure on services nationwide.

An Access Economics study commissioned by the Australian Diagnostic Imaging Association showed the average loss on Medicare examinations was $33 between 2008 and 2009 and that 89pc of practices were making a loss.

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