More than $14 million dollars of state-of-the-art medical equipment has been installed in the $282.1 million Wagga Rural Referral Hospital over the past month.

The largest single piece of medical equipment is the $2.7 million dollar Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) which needed a crane and eight workers to manoeuvre it carefully into place. An MRI is a test that uses a magnetic field and pulses of radio wave energy to create pictures of organs and structures inside the body.

Wagga Wagga Health Service (WWHS) General Manager Denis Thomas said the MRI will make a big difference to patients who won’t have to travel to access it. “We will be able to treat our patients in the new hospital and the arrival of the MRI is a first for a public hospital in this region,” he said.

“The MRI will also provide staff with improved pathways and access to increase their skills base.”

The MRI will undergo a lengthy process of testing and commissioning before it will be ready for use in the first quarter of 2016.

The arrival of eight Digital Operating Theatres is another first for the region. At a cost of more than $300,000 per theatre, each theatre will be supplied with equipment that will capture images and record surgical procedures. “Recordings made in the digital operating theatres can be entered into the patient’s Electronic Medical Record (EMR) which has never been done before,” Mr Thomas said.

In addition to the eight surgical theatres, an Angiography suite will consist of two laboratories that will cater for a diverse range of patient needs. The first lab known as the hybrid lab will be the larger of the two and it will carry out complex peripheral and interventional cardiovascular procedures. The smaller laboratory will service all cardiac procedures such as routine diagnostic coronary angiograms and stenting. The Angio suite will be operational in mid-2016.

Other major equipment that has been installed includes a $1.5 million dollar Computed Tomography (CT) scanner. A CT scan is a medical imaging procedure that uses x-rays taken at different angles and is reconstructed using digital technology to create three dimensional-images of every type of body structure, including bone, blood vessels and soft tissue.

There’s also an OPG or Orthopantomogram which is a rotational panoramic dental X-ray that allows a dentist to view the upper and lower jaws. General X-rays, Fluoroscopy and Theatre & Anaesthetic pendants complete the major medical picture at a combined cost of around $6.5 million dollars for specialised X-ray equipment.