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Keyhole surgery performed in NHS hospitals with outdated equipment

Published on 10/07/2012

Patients without health insurance are being put at risk as NHS hospitals are being forced to carry out operations using outdated equipment.

The Association of Laparoscopic Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland has warned of shortages of equipment during keyhole surgery procedures across the NHS.

Keyhole surgery allows doctors to access the inside of the abdomen and pelvis without having to make large incisions in the skin. It is commonly used for gallbladder removals, female sterilisation, cancer operations, hernia repairs and appendix removals.

As a quicker and cheaper alternative to conventional procedures, keyhole surgery has numerous benefits for both the patient and the hospital.

However, the Association of Laparoscopic Surgeons of Great Britain has found that only 15 per cent of NHS keyhole surgery theatres meet the highest standards for equipment safety and design. 22 per cent of hospitals did not have high definition screening images readily available for surgeons to use.

Professor Timothy Rockall, the organisation’s president, said: "It is worrying that surgeons are still having to use equipment which may limit the operations they can perform safely.”

"You can't buy a non-HD television on the high street even if you wanted to and yet in our hospitals we see old and poor quality television screens being used for complex operations."

"We hope the result of this audit encourages surgeons and management to discuss upgrading their equipment to improve standards and to reassure patients that the best service is being provided."

Experts now worry that pioneering surgical techniques and technology is in danger of being overlooked as the NHS has to make savings of £20bn by 2015.

This comes after a preliminary forecast from the Office of Health Economics predicting that patients without health insurance will have slower access to new treatments compared with the rest of Europe.

© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2012

Categories:  MedicalNHS and Hospitals
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