Danger of decades-old NHS scanners and X-ray machines: More than a quarter of health trusts have CT and MRI equipment that is at least ten years old, audit reveals 

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  • Decades-old scanners and X-ray machines could thwart efforts to tackle NHS waiting lists
  • Staff shortages also pose a risk to patients because there are not enough people to operate the equipment and interpret the results.
  • The 21-year-old at the Great Ormond Street Hospital Trust has a CT scanner
  • The UK has the fewest scanners in the developed world

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Decades-old scanner and X-ray machine records could thwart efforts to tackle NHS waiting lists, a shocking audit reveals.

Experts say the acute shortage of staff to operate the equipment and interpret the results also poses risks to patients.

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Officials recommend that CT and MRI scanners be replaced every ten years to ensure that they continue to operate reliably and produce clear images. But 27.1 percent of health trusts in England have at least one CT scanner that is more than a decade old and 34.5 percent have at least one MRI by this age.

According to responses to freedom of information requests, the Great Ormond Street Hospital Trust in London has the oldest MRI scanner, at 21 years old. A CT scanner is 16 years old at the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust, while St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in south London has an X-ray machine acquired 44 years ago.

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Officials recommend that CT and MRI scanners be replaced every ten years to ensure that they continue to operate reliably and produce clear images. But 27.1 percent of health trusts in England have at least one CT scanner that is more than a decade old and 34.5 percent have at least one MRI by this age (stock image)

Meanwhile, the UK has the lowest number of scanners in the developed world, league tables show. Germany has four times more CT scanners and five times more MRI scanners per capita population.

An MRI scanner costs around £1 million, a CT £900,000 and an X-ray machine £160,000. In total, there are about 3,000 X-ray machines, 516 CT scanners and 425 MRI scanners in the NHS in England.

Dr Julian Alford from the Royal College of Radiologists also stressed that there was a shortage of 2,000 radiologists in the NHS, adding: ‘There is no doubt that there is an urgent need to upgrade the imaging equipment in the UK. CT and MRI machines start becoming technically obsolete in ten years.

Meanwhile, the UK has the lowest number of scanners in the developed world, league tables show.  Germany has four times more CT scanners and five times more MRI scanners per capita population (stock image)

Meanwhile, the UK has the lowest number of scanners in the developed world, league tables show. Germany has four times more CT scanners and five times more MRI scanners per capita population (stock image)

‘Older kits break frequently, are slow, and produce poor quality images, so it’s important to upgrade. ‘ and Emlyn Samuel from Cancer Research UK said: ‘Diagnosing cancer early gives patients the best chances of survival, so it is disappointing to see how far behind the UK is in terms of diagnostic tools.’

According to Channel 4’s Dispatch, coroners have repeatedly raised concerns about a shortage of radiology staff and scanners, which are mentioned in the Prevention Report of 48 future deaths between 2016 and 2021.

Saffron Cordry, deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, representing NHS trusts, said: ‘Replacing or upgrading equipment such as aging scanners will allow trusts to make significant inroads into hospital waiting lists as well as improve diagnostic capability. It will help to increase.

Saffron Corddry, (pictured) deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, who represent NHS trusts, said: 'Replacing or upgrading equipment such as aging scanners allows trusts to make significant inroads into hospital waiting lists- will help in increasing the diagnostic capacity with

Saffron Corddry, (pictured) deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, who represent NHS trusts, said: ‘Replacing or upgrading equipment such as aging scanners allows trusts to make significant inroads into hospital waiting lists- will help in increasing the diagnostic capacity with

A spokesman for the Department of Health and Social Care stressed: ‘We have supported the NHS with £525million to replace diagnostic equipment over the past two years and most recently 40 new forests in the community to distribute 2.8. -Stop-shop diagnostics centers have been set up. Million more scans for patients.’

Clapped: is the NHS broken? – Dispatches will be shown on Channel 4 tonight at 8 PM.

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