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Decades-old equipment puts patients in danger

LABOUR has warned of crumbling hospitals and danger to patients because the NHS is relying on decades-old and seriously outdated medical equipment.

Research conducted by Labour has revealed that the NHS is relying on equipment critical to treatment of brain injuries and early cancer diagnosis, for instance, that is long past its replacement date.

The party said any new NHS funding deal must take into account years of Conservative cuts to capital budgets, totalling £3.8 billion in the past four years.

Tory cuts have left the NHS with a £5.5bn backlog in outstanding repairs and maintenance.

Freedom of Information requests submitted by Labour showed that hundreds of pieces of machinery that are no longer fit for purpose are still being used.

Examples include 892 X-ray machines that are more than 10 years old, with 139 found to be being used past their replacement dates.

And 134 ultrasound machines, 10 MRI scanners, and 10 CT scanners are being used long after they should have been retired from service.

The researchers discovered one X-ray machine from 1984 was still in use at a hospital in Leeds.

Labour has pledged to set out a fully-costed £10bn boost to the NHS and bring it into line with health services in other western European countries in terms of hospital machinery.

Labour shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth blamed “eight hard years” of austerity for the failings. “Patients deserve better than this.

“At the last election Labour promised at least an extra £10bn of capital investment for our NHS. This would allow us to invest in the innovative technologies of the future, the digital support out NHS needs and in renewing our MRI and CT scanners.

“It will be a key test of any new funding settlement for the NHS in the coming weeks that it makes up for years of Tory cuts to capital budgets which have left hospitals unable to replace essential equipment and have put patients in danger.”

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