MORE than £25m is being invested in new imaging equipment to ensure the NHS in Wales has access to the latest technology to help speed up the diagnosis and treatment of cancer and other diseases.
The funding will upgrade vital technology and equipment, including MRI and CT scanners. It will also increase the resilience and reliability of diagnostic equipment available to the NHS in Wales.
With many people unable to attend hospitals for imaging and diagnostic appointments during the pandemic, waiting times have increased.
Investing in diagnostic services across all health boards and NHS trusts will help the NHS recover and improve patient care.
Cancer services will receive a significant boost, with new investment in CT scanners, gamma cameras, and MRI and fluoroscopy x-ray imaging rooms.
Swansea Bay University Health Board will receive £5.5m towards a CT simulator, providing 3D treatment planning for cancer patients; a fluoroscopy room, providing state-of-the art x-ray imaging, at Morriston Hospital and a CZT technology gamma camera upgrade.
Singleton Hospital consultant clinical oncologist Sarah Gwynne said the equipment would make a difference to how patients were treated.
“The new CT scanner will allow us to deliver radiotherapy to kill cancer cells more accurately, getting the dose to the areas that need it while avoiding surrounding areas that we need to avoid.
“This is especially important in breast, oesophageal and lung cancer, where movement with breathing can make targeting specific areas even harder.”
The remainder of the funding will provide:
£2.3m for a CT scanner and two diagnostic radiology rooms at Ysbyty Ystrad Fawr, in Ystrad Mynach
£3.3m for a gamma camera and interventional radiology suite at Wrexham Maelor Hospital
£2.1m for CT simulator replacement at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd
£3.2m for fluoroscopy and cath lab at University Hospital of Wales, in Cardiff
£3.1m for an upgrade of MRI and fluoroscopy room, providing x-ray imaging at the Princess of Wales Hospital, in Bridgend
£4.5m for two replacement CT scanners at Glangwilli Hospital, in Carmarthenshire and Withybush Hospital, Pembrokeshire
£1m for fluoroscopy x-ray imaging and MRI upgrade at Velindre Cancer Centre, in Cardiff.
£350k for four ultrasound machines at Brecon, Newtown, Llandrindod Wells and Welshpool hospitals
Health Minister Eluned Morgan said:
“It’s our priority to support the recovery of the NHS and this is a first step to ensuring the health service has access to sufficient diagnostic capacity to deal with the people waiting as a result of the pandemic.
“We aren’t out of the pandemic yet. Investing in the diagnostic national capital replacement programme and upgrading the equipment available to our incredible healthcare workforce is key to diagnosing, treating and caring for people as we move forward.
“This £25m investment will replace ageing equipment as part of our effort to ensure the NHS can respond to demand with resilient services.”