Dubbo children needing a general anaesthetic before undergoing an MRI scan will by March not have to travel to Orange Hospital.
The arrival of an eight-tonne and $2 million MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) machine at Dubbo Hospital will benefit young and old.
But it is not the only impressive piece of equipment to have been moved into the three-storey and under-construction Macquarie Building on the hospital campus.
Down the corridor from the copper-lined room housing the MRI machine is a "brand new and top-of-the-range" Canon CT scanner, the first of its kind to be installed in Australia.
Half of the hospital's existing emergency department along with the imaging department will "go live" in the new building in March.
The Macquarie Building will connect to the planned Western Cancer Centre where another $2 million machine will be well used.
At this week's launch of demolition works required before the construction phase of the centre can begin, Western NSW Local Health District chief executive Scott McLachlan spoke of the value to the region of it getting a PET/CT scanner.
"That's an advanced screening tool to help pick up cancers much earlier," he said.
"There's very few of those outside of metropolitan cities."
The chief executive also highlighted the future acquisition of a linear accelerator to provide radiotherapy.
"That's all cutting-edge technology so this really will be a world-class environment," he said.
Federal Minister for Regional Health and Member for Parkes Mark Coulton, and state Member for the Dubbo electorate Dugald Saunders inspected the MRI machine on Wednesday.
The state government has paid for the machine with the federal government providing the hospital with a licence to bill Medicare for 3000 scans.
Currently, the hospital's inpatients and outpatients have to go elsewhere for MRI scans including private practices in Dubbo and Orange Hospital.
The state government covers the cost of treating inpatients including scans.
The licence will allow the hospital to offer free scans to outpatients.
"We won't charge them for those tests," Dubbo Hospital general manager Debbie Bickerton confirmed this week.
She reports of at least two inpatients a day being taken by patient transport vehicles or ambulance to a private provider for MRI scans.
"They are not always well," she said.
Having an MRI machine at the hospital would be "much better for them", Ms Bickerton said.
The general manager said the new MRI machine could hold larger people and was able to scan faster.
"So people won't have to be in there as long," she said.
Mr Coulton announced the MRI licence in 2019.
"I'm working hard to ensure people in the bush are able to access the very best of healthcare and this new MRI licence is a great win for the region," he said on Wednesday.
"We also expect this will significantly reduce waiting times for Medicare-subsidised scans."
Mr Saunders said the MRI machine was a "fantastic addition".
"It is something the community has been calling for and something that will be of great benefit to our region," he said.