A petition calling for a positron emission tomography (PET) scanner to be located at the Wagga Base Hospital has been tabled in parliament, a month before the technology is set to arrive at a local private facility.
Wagga MP Joe McGirr tabled the petition, which he said had about 800 signatures from community members.
Dr McGirr said PET scans were used in cancer detection and treatment, and currently the closest facility was in Albury.
"I think people recognise that people with cancer, particularly advanced cancer, the travel to Albury and back can be difficult and the facility at Albury is reaching capacity," he said.
"There's been a concern in the community to have one of these PET scanners here."
The petition was started by Wagga local Mick Ward, who said he decided to fight for a PET scanner at Wagga Base Hospital after meeting a stranger who was distressed at how difficult it was to get an appointment at the Albury facility.
Mr Ward said it was important for the country to have the scanner locally, and it would help people in the surrounding towns as well.
"We've got to stand up and get it passed for Wagga because I reckon its very, very important, they've been talking about it for a long time," he said.
Wagga's first PET scanner is set to be installed at I-MED Radiology's Calvary Hospital clinic in November, but Dr McGirr said it was important that service be publicly available.
"It's good news and it would be good if public patients had access to that," he said.
Dr McGirr said NSW health minister Brad Hazzard had informed him work was currently underway on an agreement that would allow public patients access to the private imaging service.
Dr McGirr said this was a good short term solution, but he expected in the medium to long term the Wagga Base Hospital would still need a PET scanner of its own.
"I think its going to be an emerging area of technology, I think its going to be one of those areas where as we get on top of cancer treatments in particular, demand is going to increase so I think it's something we need to be thinking about now," he said.
Dr McGirr said he did not think the scanner was something in the current hospital service plan and he would be following up to try to have that changed.