Wales' Health Minister announces £25m for new equipment in bid to tackle waiting lists

Eluned Morgan said the new diagnostics equipment will transform the lives of people with cancer.

The Health Minister has announced a £25m investment in new equipment that should help clear hospital waiting lists in Wales.

Eluned Morgan visited Singleton Hospital in Swansea, where a new CT scanner will diagnose and take images of patients’ cancers faster and more accurately. 

She told ITV News that while some of this money will pay for technology that was due to be replaced, much of it will help Wales’ healthcare system recover from the pandemic.

It is hoped the latest technology will help speed up the diagnosis of cancer and other diseases, meaning patients are treated quicker and backlog of people on NHS waiting lists is cleared sooner.

Ms Morgan said: “Diagnostics has traditionally been a bottleneck and that’s why we are really pleased we’ve been able to invest in this equipment that will transform the lives of people suffering with cancer."

Estimates suggest that there are around 30,000 fewer people being treated for cancer in Wales than there usually would be, with the pandemic blamed for putting people off seeking treatment.

GPs and Oncologists are preparing themselves for patients to arrive at their appointments or hospitals with more advanced cancer.

Richard Pugh, head of partnerships for Macmillan Cancer Support in Wales, said: "Fresh investment into new diagnostic equipment to help tackle the growing backlog in cancer diagnosis and treatment is something to be warmly welcomed. 

"This is, however, just the first step that Wales will need to take in its journey to tackle the backlog. The NHS will need to perform well above pre-pandemic levels if it is to ensure people can get the early diagnosis and treatment they need."

The investment into new diagnostic equipment has been welcomed by one leading cancer charity.

It comes as there are more people waiting for treatment than ever before. More than half a million are on a list for surgeries such as hip and knee replacements, post-mastectomy breast reconstructions and ear, nose and throat operations.

This is the highest number on record since data first started being collected in 2011.

The Health Minister has spent £100m on trying to tackle this while calling for ‘patience’ as the NHS finds its feet after the coronavirus outbreak.

The £25m announced on 3 June 2021 is being spent across Wales as follows: 

  • £5.5m for Swansea Bay University Health Board 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

  • £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 in 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

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