Half of NHS trusts using obsolete radiotherapy machines

Reports have claimed that almost half of NHS trusts are using outdated radiotherapy machines that are far less effective at killing cancer cells to treat patients.

Although the NHS said in 2016 that it was investing £130 million in upgrading radiotherapy equipment, the freedom of information request figures found that 46 per cent of trusts are still using outdated linear accelerator (Linac) machines beyond their recommended 10-year lifespan.

In total, 57 of the 272 Linac machines used this year are 10 or more years old, with one of them having been used for 17 years and still in operation.

Many charities and health organisations have used the figures to urge for more up-to-date technology, with Cancer Research UK sating that data ‘proves the urgent need for a solution to this persistent problem’ and Liberal Democrat MP Tim Farron, chairman of the all-party parliamentary group on radiotherapy, describing the figures as ‘shocking’.

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