Calvary Hospital's chief radiologist says the "final piece of the puzzle" in Riverina cancer care will be made available for public patients.
Nick Stephenson has unveiled Wagga's highly-anticipated $2 million PET/CT scanner, which will be located in I-MED Radiology's Calvary clinic.
PET - or positron emission tomography - nuclear imaging scans play a vital role in the early detection and ongoing monitoring and management of cancer, as well as some infections and neurological conditions.
Until now, Riverina patients who required a PET scan had to travel to Canberra, Albury or even Melbourne.
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"It's a stressful time in their lives when they've got cancer and to have to travel to have tests is always a problem," Dr Stephenson said.
Calvary is a private hospital, but Dr Stephenson said the scanner would also be available for public outpatients, many of whom will be eligible for Medicare funding from the Commonwealth.
In October, state member for Wagga Joe McGirr tabled a parliamentary petition calling for a PET scanner for Wagga Base Hospital.
Dr Stephenson said I-MED Radiology and Murrumbidgee Local Health District executives were working on an arrangement to allow inpatients of Wagga Base Hospital and other public facilities to use the scanner at no cost.
This will need to be paid for by the MLHD, who control funding for the region's public hospital services.
"I'm very confident that won't be a problem, because I know the health minister Brad Hazzard has supported that after he was asked the question in parliament by Dr McGirr," Dr Stephenson said.
Federal member for Riverina Michael McCormack congratulated Dr Stephenson and other local medical staff on bringing "world class technology" to the Riverina.
"This is one of the real great events in Wagga this year and I know it's going to make a real difference to people's lives," Mr McCormack said.
"If you live in Wagga you should have the very best of medical care."