The Welsh Government will invest almost £25m in up to four new PET-CT scanners across Wales to improve access to this cutting edge diagnostic technology.
The new Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Computed Tomography scanners will be based in Cardiff, North Wales and Swansea.
The funding will replace Wales’ only fixed analogue scanner, in Cardiff, and the two analogue mobile scanners, which are based in South West Wales and North Wales will be replaced over the next five years.
The new scanners, which are subject to business case approval, will all be fixed, digital scanners - they will be able to perform more scans and with higher accuracy and reliability than the existing equipment.
They will provide much needed additional capacity to meet demand in the decade ahead. This will in turn help reduce waiting times and be more convenient for patients.
PET-CT is an increasingly important diagnostic intervention for conditions such as cancer, heart disease and neurological disorders. In the case of cancer, the scan allows doctors to more accurately diagnose a cancer and allows doctors to understand how tumours are reacting to treatment.
The technique involves injecting a low dose radioactive tracer into the body which is then absorbed at higher rates by tumours and allows doctors to visualise where the tumour is and how it is functioning.
Health Minister Eluned Morgan said it was important that investments are in vital equipment to help the NHS recover from the pandemic.
It is incredibly important that we invest in scanners like these to meet service need and increase our capacity to diagnose, treat and care for the population in Wales, she said.
This investment will have a significant effect on waiting times and will improve the patient care experience, ensuring quicker diagnoses and shorter travel times for those receiving care.
We need to future proof the NHS in Wales and investments in cutting edge technology like this will benefit generations to come.
The pandemic has had a huge impact on waiting times and patient care, but through investing in infrastructure like this we can boost the recovery of the NHS in Wales and make it more efficient, resilient and effective in future.