Scotland NHS: Third of scanners ‘older than recommended lifespan’

Almost one third of the scanners used in Scotland’s NHS are more than 10 years old, new figures show.

According to the European Society of Radiology, older scanners are more prone to breakdowns and could endanger the safety of staff and patients, with the replacement of equipment older than 10 years considered “essential”.

Figures obtained by the Scottish Liberal Democrats through freedom of information legislation found that of the 329 X-ray machines, CT and MRI scanners in Scotland, 106 are more than a decade old.

The oldest machine was found in the NHS Highland area – a 28-year-old X-ray machine – while a 16-year-old MRI machine and a 15-year-old CT scanner were found in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde health board area.

Scottish Lib Dem leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said: “Every Scot will likely know someone whose lives have been affected by cancer or other conditions whose treatment depends on diagnostic devices such as these.

“It beggars belief that NHS staff are having to rely on results from decades-old hospital scanners, machinery that may have been built before they were even born.

“Understaffed and exhausted NHS staff are being pushed to breaking point.

“The Scottish Government must give hospitals the capital funding they need to invest in newer equipment, so patients can get the first-class treatment they deserve.”

Health Secretary Michael Matheson said: “We fully support the need to properly maintain and invest in NHS scanners – which are essential for delivering high quality medical services – and last year spent £18 million on new radiotherapy and imaging equipment.

“Last year we spent £85 million on medical equipment – an increase of £15 million on the average for previous years.”


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