Funding pledged for cancer screening overhaul

CT scanners, MRI machines and breast screening equipment will be replaced using the new NHS funding.

The new equipment will help clinicians diagnose various ailments quicker, and the quality of the screening will be improved. The new machines will be much easier to use and be more efficient.

There are various other benefits:

  • More patients will be will be able to be helped using less equipment
  • Fewer appointment cancellations and better use of staff will improve reliability
  • Newer CT scans have lower radiation levels which will improve patient safety
  • The equipment will be artificial intelligence (AI) enabled, and will be easily updated

The government is committed to ensuring 55,000 more people survive cancer annually, and the £200 million funding will help towards that goal.

Besides identifying cancers more quickly, the newer CT scans will help diagnose various other health conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Survival rates will be drastically improved, as patients who are diagnosed early in stages 1 or 2 have a better chance at recovery.

Rapid diagnostic and assessment centres will also be introduced by the NHS, supporting earlier diagnosis. These centres will help detect cancers by identifying various symptoms of cancer like abdominal pain and unexplained weight loss. The funding will be spread across 2 years and the new machines will be allocated according to assessments made of local population need and infrastructure.

20 Hospitals will be upgraded with AI research and new equipment, as part of the Prime Minister’s plans to improve the NHS frontline and the government has committed to an extra £2 billion for this purpose. Another £210 million will be invested in personal training for nurses and front line staff.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:

“The NHS is the best healthcare service in the world, and the treatment and care it provides is one reason cancer survival rates are at a record high.

“But too many lives are still being lost to this shattering illness. We can, must, and will do so much more for sufferers and their families.

“These new scanners will lead to quicker diagnosis, more screenings, and improved care for patients, giving brilliant NHS staff the tools they need to further boost survival rates.

“It’s my priority to make sure our NHS gets every penny it needs to provide the very best care ‒ wherever you live, and whatever your condition.”

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said:

“I want to see the way we fight cancer in the NHS transformed, so we can confront this cruel disease with the best facilities to give our family, friends and colleagues the greatest chance.

“I’m determined to get cutting-edge equipment into hospitals across the country so that clinical staff are equipped with the best technology available for patients.

“This will be the first step in reaching our ambition through the NHS Long Term Plan of becoming a global leader in cancer diagnosis, saving the lives of tens of thousands more people each year.”

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