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System exploited: Taxpayers foot bill for free tourist mammograms

Luke Grant

Foreign tourists are said to be exploiting an administrative loophole in Australia’s BreastScreen program.

Taxpayers are reportedly paying for the free mammograms of international visitors, with Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt launching an inquiry into the issue.

“No state or territory requests evidence of residency or citizenship to be provided by women attending a breast screening services. You have to provide an Australian address for contact,” says Professor David Currow, CEO of Cancer Institute NSW.

It’s thought this loophole is giving foreign tourists a platform to abuse and rort the system.

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard has promised “ appropriate action” in response, as some women claim people are bringing their relatives from China to partake in the free service.

Though many are saying Australia is a soft touch when it comes to medical tourism, Currow urges women to not get caught up in the politics of the story.

“The most important issue is that 1 in 2 women who are eligible to participate in something that saves lives, are not participating,” he says.

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Luke Grant
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