AFTER years of relying on other facilities, Bathurst hospital is set to have its own operational MRI machine by the end of the 2022.
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Bathurst hospital received $4 million in funding from the NSW Government in 2020 to purchase the much-needed equipment, although it was uncertain where exactly that equipment would be housed.
Now, a site has been identified and assessed, with it agreed that a new room would be built between the hospital's main entrance doors and the entry to the emergency department.
The early stages of work is set to begin on Monday.
Bathurst Health Service general manager Cathy Marshall said it was "very exciting" to be able to have work finally get under way.
A MRI machine on site will end the hospital's reliance on other services when patients need these scans.
"At the moment, inpatients who are sick have to be transferred either into town or to Orange, which can be unpleasant for them to go into the back of an ambulance, and it also increases their length of stay in hospital," Ms Marshall said.
"This is just wonderful. It's really going to help our patients."
As construction starts, visitors to the hospital can expect to face some disruptions in the car park.
Ms Marshall said that the car park will be switched to one-way traffic, meaning cars must come in via the Howick Street entrance and exit onto Mitre Street.
Entry from Mitre Street will be prohibited.
Ms Marshall encouraged people to drive more slowly during the construction period.
The MRI is expected to be operational from November 11, with specialist staff to be employed prior to that.
"We hope to have the staff on deck by the time the MRI opens at the end of the year," Ms Marshall said.
Deputy premier and Member for Bathurst Paul Toole welcomed the news that construction would be starting, saying the hospital was in need of the machine.
However, he said it is now up to the Federal Government to provide the licence so the costs can be brought down for patients.
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