A PETITION with more than 4000 local signatures supporting a bulk-billing licence for MRI scans in Griffith has been dealt a significant blow.
The Area News, in conjunction with the Griffith community, has campaigned for Medicare to issue a licence so patients could stop endangering their lives by postponing scans because they were too expensive or it was too difficult to travel to Wagga.
In a severe set-back, the petition circulated by Griffith's only facility with an MRI scanner, Insight Radiology, was addressed to the wrong parliament.
The petition was addressed to the president of the legislative council of NSW despite being intended for the federal parliament where matters concerning Medicare can be dealt with.
Riverina MP Michael McCormack, said with the wrong address the petition could not be debated in parliament.
"Unfortunately the petitions committee and therefore the parliament cannot accept (the petition) in its current form but I have sent Insight Radiology a copy of the correct form,” Mr McCormack said.
“I encouraged Insight Radiology to still send the petition to the upper house of NSW parliament even though they can’t help with the immediate query, because that would help to get the issue out to another political arena and would raise the concerns among more politicians in general.
“It’s not a complete set-back, I have been able to raise the issue with Assistant Minister for Health Senator Fiona Nash who is passionate about rural health.”
The manager of Insight Radiology, Alan Pham, was understandably disappointed with the news but refused to give up on the cause.
“We will make sure every avenue for getting the petition before parliament is exhausted before we start all over again with the correct document Michael McCormack sent us,” Mr Pham said.
“We will send the current petition to the NSW parliament on Mr McCormack’s advice to raise as much awareness about the issue as possible.
“Even without the petition, Mr McCormack has been able to speak with the Assistant Minister for Health, so the ball is rolling and that was the purpose of the petition in the first place.
“At the end of the day the petition is not the be-all and end-all and we’re staying positive.”