CONSTRUCTION to bring an MRI service to Bathurst Hospital is expected to start within months, according to the Western NSW Local Health District.
And it says a new ear, nose and throat (ENT) surgeon will be recruited to replace a surgeon who recently retired.
The NSW Government announced in September last year that it would provide around $4 million to Bathurst Health Service to add MRI equipment to the hospital.
It followed the Bathurst Health Services Action Group penning an open letter to state Member for Bathurst Paul Toole listing the equipment shortfall the group had identified at the hospital.
The list included an MRI machine.
Western NSW Local Health District chief executive officer Scott McLachlan told the Western Advocate the process is now advanced.
"We're well underway in planning the MRI for Bathurst," he said.
"We expect to start construction of the new facility for that in the next four months and expect to have that open by July in 2022.
"That will see a significant benefit in patients being able to access an MRI both from the emergency department and in patient beds that would have normally needed to go downtown to the private MRI or up to Orange.
"That will be a significant enhancement to the service."
The Advocate reported last month that Bathurst patients needing ear, nose and throat surgeries were being offered treatment in a Sydney private hospital in response to a new shortage of local specialists.
A spokesperson for the health district said at the time that the problem was the result of one of the two ENT specialists who routinely operate across the Bathurst and Orange hospitals taking "unplanned extended leave".
In an update to the Advocate, Mr McLachlan said the health district would be recruiting for a new ENT surgeon to provide additional surgery in Bathurst.
"I know there's been some concerns recently about patients needing to leave Bathurst," he said.
"That was purely as a result of the two ENT surgeons that have supported Bathurst and Orange for some time both having some health issues and needing to stop working for a period of time.
"And one of those [surgeons] has just landed his retirement with us, so we'll be out recruiting for that role."
He said the health district expects "to be able to increase the amount of ENT surgery for Bathurst".