A hospital is treating patients with a mobile scanner - even though its own £700,000 machine is switched off most of the time.
The Royal Bolton Hospital gained lottery cash to pay for half of the MRI scanner's installation in 2003.
But the trust says it cannot meet the costs to run it to the limit each week.
Now a mobile scanner - paid for as part of a national initiative - is due to come to the hospital to tackle the waiting list for non-urgent scans.
The hospital-based scanner - which is used to screen the whole body for diagnosing cancers and certain orthopaedic conditions - should run for 10 sessions a week but only manages six.
Ann Schenk, the hospital's director of service development, said the scanner's running costs had "to compete with other priorities".
She admitted getting the mobile scanner while not being able to run the permanent unit might seem contradictory but said it would be useful for the trust.
Ms Schenk said the problem had also been compounded by a shortage of trained radiographers.
Bolton South East MP, Brian Iddon, raised the scanner's problems in the Commons just before the Parliamentary recess but Health Secretary John Reid said the trust had already received extra cash.