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Recent schedule changes to courier flights to Kalgoorlie-Boulder could have serious implications for the delivery of important medical services.

Radioactive isotopes used in scanning for cancer and heart disease were not on the usual flight bound for the Goldfields yesterday, as the flight by Australian Air Express, a subsidiary of Qantas, had been moved to an hour earlier. Director of Nuclear Medicine at Telemed Peter Tually said the unannounced change to the morning flight meant couriers were unable to load the material in time for delivery.

As the isotopes have a short decay time, they cannot be transported on a flight later in the day, as this does not leave enough time to use them for injection and imaging.

The radioactive material is delivered every Monday and the need for services elsewhere in regional WA means a replacement batch cannot be brought to the Goldfields on another day this week.

Mr Tually said while the ground staff in Perth were usually helpful in getting the material delivered on time, yesterday’s setback had already caused delays for patients awaiting diagnosis.

“This is very annoying and inconvenient to patients,” Mr Tually said.

“The downstream effects of this are significant, both clinically and commercially."