ARARAT - Minister for Police and Emergency Services Kim Wells dedicated a new CT scanner at East Grampians Health Service on Friday, jointly funded by the East Grampians Health Service Building for the Future Foundation and the Victoria Police Blue Ribbon Foundation Ararat Branch.
The CT scanner is located in the John McNally Medical Imaging Department, honouring the Victoria Police sergeant who was killed in the line of duty in 1856.
"The new CT scanner will be an enormous benefit to East Grampians Health Service radiology staff, visiting surgeons, local medical practitioners and the people of the Ararat district and beyond," Mr Wells said.
"Until now, local people have had to travel to Stawell or Ballarat to access this health service.
"The scanner will provide local doctors with more detailed information from which to make their diagnoses."
The new CT scanner allows for a much more detailed view of body tissue than the previous scanner.
Mr Wells recognised the hospital's charity, Building for the Future Foundation, which raised $200,000 and the Ararat Branch of the Blue Ribbon Foundation which contributed $150,000 towards the purchase of the new CT scanner.
"The Blue Ribbon Foundation has played a key part in bringing this new service to the community," Mr Wells said.
East Grampians Health Service board chairperson Louise Staley said the Ararat and district community demonstrated its commitment to the health service every day through fundraising, volunteering and support.
"We are grateful for the ongoing support as we work hard to deliver quality health services into our community," she said.
"A very major contributor to our ability to maintain the breadth of the health services we offer here such as birthing surgery and cancer care is due to the magnificent efforts of the Victoria Police Blue Ribbon Foundation Ararat Branch.
We are also fortunate to have a strong charitable foundation overseen by local independent trustees which contributes to our capital needs."
Chairperson of the Victoria Police Blue Ribbon Foundation Bill Noonan acknowledged the work of the Blue Ribbon Ararat branch members, many of whom are original members.
"I hope the Blue Ribbon supporters really feel proud of their efforts on behalf of the Foundation here in Ararat," he said.
"Everything that has been achieved has been a result of good old fashioned hard work.
"The Foundation has 15 regional branches all supported by volunteers, all with links to their local hospital and all in memory of police officers who were killed in the line of duty.
"Congratulations to all concerned with the installation of the CT scanner."
The Blue Ribbon Foundation raises money for community projects in the name of police who have died in the course of their duty.
Mr Wells said it was fitting that the community remembered police officers through such projects.
"It's dangerous job being a police officer, not many of us have to face what police officers face on a daily basis," Mr Wells said.
"Policing is a dangerous job and dedicating a piece of vital hospital equipment that actually saves lives is so fitting.
"Thanks to the Blue Ribbon Foundation, the names of fallen police live on in our memory, enabling us to honour their service to the community," Mr Wells said.
Ararat hospital's new CT scanner unit was named in memory of Sergeant John McNally who was shot and killed in 1856.
Sergeant McNally was killed as he tried to arrest William Twigham and William Turner. The two men were wanted for highway robbery, dismounting a constable from his horse near Castlemaine and escaping from custody.
McNally is one of 157 police who have died in the course of their duty in Victoria.
"Our police perform a vital community service protecting Victorians, often in extreme and volatile situations," Mr Wells said.
"I extend my thanks to all our police for their ongoing efforts to keep our community safe."
The Blue Ribbon foundation was established after the 1998 shooting murders of Sergeant Gary Silk and Senior Constable Rodney Miller at Moorabbin.