The installation of a positron emission tomography (PET) scanner at Health Sciences North in Sudbury has been delayed.

Originally, the hospital said everything was on-track to have the equipment operational by mid-2018. But now, that timeline has been revised to late 2018 or early 2019.

Last year, it was announced that the community had raised the $4.5 million needed to buy the equipment and the Ministry of Health committed capital dollars to build the special suite needed for it at Health Sciences North.

Sudbury provincial NDP candidate Jamie West says he's wondering what the delay is.

He flagged the delay in a statement this week.

"I'm just curious on where do we stand," he said.

"I'm delighted if it's in a good place, but I think it's one of those places where you just want to ask and reignite and maybe we need a little push to remember and get the ball rolling again."

'Takes time to plan'

Mark Hartman is the vice president of cancer and clinical support programs at Health Sciences North. He says the hospital has selected the equipment, and a purchase order has been issued.

"It's equipment that is going to be the only one of its kind in Ontario," he said.

"It's going to be faster, a better piece of equipment than anywhere else in Ontario."

Hartman says the project is still in the designing stage and adds construction won't start until they have approval from the ministry to go to tender. Once that happens, he estimates it will take nine months to build the space where the PET scanner will go.

Mark Hartman

Mark Hartman is the vice president of cancer and clinical support programs at Health Sciences North. (Jenifer Norwell/CBC)

"The ministry has committed to expediting that approval process to ensure construction begins in the current fiscal year," he said.

Hartman says that means that construction will start before the end of March 2018.

"If the approvals through more quickly than that, then potentially that could move forward by a little bit."

Hartman says the machine should be available for patients by late 2018 or early 2019.

"I think everyone wants to make sure that we get this technology in Sudbury as soon as possible," he said.

"We want to make sure that we design a space for the future that's going to serve us well and get equipment that's going to serve us well … and that takes time to plan. It's important that we take the time to get it right."

With files from Angela Gemmill