BATHURST'S public hospital will be able to purchase its own MRI machine, eventually bringing an end to the need to transport more than 200 patients a year to other facilities for the scans.
Member for Bathurst Paul Toole announced on Tuesday that the NSW Government would provide around $4 million to Bathurst Health Service to obtain MRI equipment.
He said the Western NSW Local Health District's Clinical Services Plan for Bathurst identified that the city will benefit from having a MRI service available on site.
"It is so important because it means that people won't need to be taken down to the private facility in the CBD. They won't have to leave town to use the MRI machine, which will be based at the Bathurst hospital," Mr Toole said.
"We know that as part of the future planning for this area, it has been raised by the staff, it has been raised by the administration and by community groups, the need for a MRI machine and that's why I'm pleased that, in lobbying the Minster [for Health] Brad Hazzard, we've been able to get the $4 million to see it delivered in the future."
While the money has been secured for the machine, it will be another 18 to 24 months before it will become available for use.
The local health district has to determine how the MRI, which requires a highly specialised space, can be accommodated on the Bathurst Health Service Campus.
General manager of the hospital, Cathy Marshall, said those talks are happening now.
She indicated beds would not be lost in an effort to accommodate the service.
"The MRI machine was part of our clinical services plan, which also sees into the future that we'll require more beds," Ms Marshall said.
"We had Health Infrastructure here last week looking at our footprint in view of working with architects to look at the future needs and services of Bathurst and that master plan will come up with options for us going forward and we hope that plan will be completed by December."
With the MRI machine will come new jobs for medical professionals, with the list of positions expected to become available including two radiographers, administration support and additional nursing staff.
James Harvey, general manager for imaging services for the local health district, said the intention is to hire people who will be based in the local area, not locums.
"We ideally try to recruit within the community, but if we have to, hopefully it attracts people to the the community as well, which is always a great thing," he said.