A Senate inquiry in Hobart today has heard that a critical cancer treatment diagnostic machine is in mothballs despite high cancer rates in the state, Australian Greens Leader Christine Milne said.
"After years of campaigning for a PET scanner for Tasmania we ended up with two based in Hobart, and now one is not being used," said Senator Milne.
"Cancer specialist Dr Rob Ware told the inquiry the decision to put a second machine in Hobart was a shocking waste and had deprived people of care.
"The PET machine should have gone to the north of the state to better service half of the state's patients.
"I would like to hear from the state and federal governments if the public machine can be moved to the north so people don't have to travel to Hobart or Melbourne for treatment.
"Dr Seidel from the Royal Australian College of General Practice told the inquiry that Tasmania comes last of all the states in terms of cancer treatment surgery waiting times.
"Dr Seidel also pointed out Tasmania's rural GP shortage could be worsened by cuts to a rural GP training scheme, and teen pregnancy rates could increase because co-payments and cuts to welfare could discourage GP visits.
"The inquiry has heard from witness after witness that co-payments and health cuts will affect Tasmania more than other states because of our poor social outcomes.
"It is obvious we need to reform our health care system but slugging the most vulnerable in the community with extra costs is not the answer," Senator Milne said.