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New cancer scanner for Cornwall

New cancer scanner for Cornwall

Published by the Pirate FM News Team at 2:59pm 30th October 2019. (Updated at 3:17pm 30th October 2019)

A new scanner for Cornish patients could catch cancer quicker.

That is according to the government - promising more money for the machine at Treliske.

It is coming from funds the Prime Minister announced last month.

But the Royal College of Radiologists is warning that, across the southwest, there need to be more experts to operate them.

“This new state-of-the-art equipment for 78 trusts across England will ensure doctors and clinicians can help even more people survive a cancer diagnosis and stop the disease as early as possible.

“It’s mission critical that the technology our NHS uses to prevent and diagnose cancer is bought into the twenty first century. We have backed the roll out of these new machines with £200 million in funding, as part of our Long Term plan, backed by an extra £33.9 billion a year.”

Health Secretary, Matt Hancock

The news comes as the Conservatives begin their election campaign, ahead of the UK going to the polls on 12th December.

It is not yet clear how much money Treliske will receive, but it is thought to run into the hundreds of thousands.

It will come from an extra £200m of funding, announced the Prime Minister last month.

“Cancer survival is at a record high thanks to better prevention, earlier diagnosis and world leading treatments in the NHS. 

“This major investment in the best modern scanning technology will benefit patients in every part of England, helping us to achieve the NHS Long Term Plan’s ambitions of catching tens of thousands more cancers earlier when they are easier to treat, saving 55,000 more lives every year.”

Cally Palmer, National Cancer Director, NHS England

The Royal College of Radiologists welcomed the new equipment - but warned that the southwest faces a shortage of trained staff to operate it.

“Patients and hospitals deserve the best medical imaging equipment, and we very much welcome £200m of much needed capital investment.Targeted funding to replace ageing scanners is long overdue – a 2017 survey revealed that nearly a third of NHS MRI scanners were technically obsolete.

“Newer, faster CT and MRI scanners will produce higher quality, lower radiation dose scans and mean hospitals can image more patients.

“However, to improve cancer detection and cancer treatment we don‘t just need more scans, we desperately need more expert imaging doctors to interpret them.

“Higher scanner throughput may require more support staff to look after patients before, during and after their procedure. Without doubt it will increase the need for more radiology staff to interpret increased scan output from the new equipment. With a tenth of radiologist jobs unfilled, and a scan outsourcing spend of nearly £140m last year, English hospitals are already desperate for more radiologists.   

“The Government and NHS England have a great opportunity to safeguard what is a crucial component of cancer care by committing to grow the radiologist workforce in the forthcoming Long Term People Plan.”  

Dr Jeanette Dickson, President, The Royal College of Radiologists

Clinical Imaging Lead at the Royal Cornwall Hospitals, Emma Spouse said: “It’s great news that RCHT, allowing us to bring forward our plans to replace a busy, increasingly unreliable, older CT scanner.  It will mean all of our scanners are brought up to a similar high specification, providing top quality CT imaging for the foreseeable future.”

The new CT scanner will help RCHT’s Diagnostic Imaging Team, which is rated ‘Outstanding’ by the Care Quality Commission, to keep on top of referrals and waiting times.

“This is really important for us and even more so for our patients,” added Emma.  “It will give us the potential for more flexibility to offer urgent CT scans for people with suspected cancers either the day they are in clinic, or to have an appointment booked before they go home, so that we can reduce any waits and anxiety to a minimum.”

Clinicians and estates colleagues will now be working with NHS England to advance plans for installing the new CT scanner and hope to have it in place by next summer.

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