Southern District Health Board says it can justify a decision to fund two new medical scanners, despite its large deficit.
DHB officials today supported installing a computed tomography (CT) scanner at Dunstan Hospital in Clyde immediately, and one at Queentown's hospital in two years' time.
The DHB will pay the machines' operating costs, but the communities have to raise one-point-four million dollars to purchase them.
The Southern DHB is this year projecting a $10 million deficit.
Its finance and funding manager, Robert Mackway-Jones, says any extra investment is problematic when running large deficits, but the needs of both central Otago and Queenstown were too strong to ignore.
He says local scanning will mean large savings for families who will no longer have to travel to Invercargill or Dunedin.
A CT scan moves through an arc emitting a series of narrow beasm, unlike an X-ray machine which sends just one radiation beam. The final picture is far more detailed than a simple X-ray.