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Vital lifesaving NHS equipment in dire need of replacement with more than 21 machines more than decade old

November 9, 2019 9:37 AM
By Nick Machnik-Foster
  • Freedom of information requests by Wolverhampton Lib Dems have revealed the extent of the problem with outdated equipment in hospitals.


Vital and lifesaving NHS equipment is outdated, with many machines needing to be replaced, Wolverhampton Liberal Democrats have revealed. The party showed that scanners, X-Rays and ultrasound machines are all past their sell-by date.

The scale of the replacement programme required in hospitals across England can be laid bare following a series of freedom of information requests.

This is the latest part of the city Lib Dems NHS SOS campaign to defend and extend health services in our area and stand up for the rights of patients.

Birmingham Women's and Children's NHS Foundation Trust told Wolverhampton Liberal Democrats that they have 15 pieces of equipment over 10 years old. The trust stated they had 3 imaging machines that are 13 years old, a radiology machine and a C-ARM X-Ray machine, which are both 11 years old.

The data from the Trust also showed a further piece of imaging equipment, 3 radiology machines and 5 linear probes used in ultrasounds are over 10 years old.

The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust admitted that 7 X-Ray machines were over 10 years old. One of which is 2 years old and was purchased in 1997. The target delivery date for a new replacement had passed, as it had for 3 other machines which were 18, 14 and 12 years old. A further 3 X-ray machines are being replaced this financial year.

Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust stated to the party that a CT Scanner was 10 years old, as well as 4 mobile X-Rays and a ultrasound scanner used in the neonatal unit. The trust also said that 3 of the pieces of equipment are over their replacement date.

The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust in their response said they didn't have any obsolete equipment on their site.

Official guidance requires NHS trusts to have "systems in place to ensure the execution of investment, replacement and disposal plans".

A Royal College of Radiologists' report in 2017 found "half of healthcare organisations do not have set renewal plans, and more than a third of older MRI scanners are not scheduled for replacement".

The Institute for Fiscal Studies said: "The UK has 9.5 CT scanners per 1,000,000 population, less than half the OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) average of 26.

Commenting, Lib Dem Parliamentary Candidate for Wolverhampton South West Bart Ricketts said:

"These types of equipment are critical to early diagnosis of cancer and treatment of brain injuries, so leaving machines working on wards, past their sell-by date poses a real threat to critically ill patients around the country.

"Tory cuts to capital budgets mean we have among the lowest numbers of CT scanners and MRI scanners per head of population in the world.

"Patients deserve better than this."