Is out-of-date medical equipment costing lives?


Concerns have been raised that out-of-date medical equipment may be costing lives as the issue of funding in the NHS continues to plague the UK.

According to data gleaned from a recent Freedom of Information request, it’s thought that there are potentially hundreds of x-ray machines being used past their use-by date, as well as hundreds of ultrasound machines that need replacing, and dozens of MRI machines and CT scanners still being used as well.

There are concerns that the vital equipment that’s needed to diagnosis and treat potentially life-threatening conditions is going to cost lives because of aging machinery.

Hundreds of out-of-date medical equipment

The data showed there is a huge amount of out-of-date medical equipment still being used in hospitals across the country. Examples included an x-ray machine still being used from 1994; an ultrasound still being used from 1992; an ultrasound that should have been replaced in 2001; and an MRI machine in a London hospital that should have been replaced in 2007.

We’re not talking about a few months here and there; the problem appears to be leaving some out-of-date medical equipment still being used over a decade after they were supposed to be replaced.

Is out-of-date medical equipment a risk to patients?

The argument that out-of-date medical equipment is a risk to patients comes down to worries that the machines may not be functioning well enough to spot the early signs of serious and life-threatening conditions, including cancer. There’s obviously a reason as to why the equipment has a use-by date, and if patients’ lives are being put at risk because the NHS cannot afford new equipment, we once again must look to the government and hold them to account.

Another worry would be shortages that stem from machinery suddenly breaking down.

We cannot have a situation where people are literally dying because the NHS cannot afford to replace their equipment. The NHS funding issues continue…

Out-of-date medical equipment and legal liability

The reason as to why hospitals are using out-of-date medical equipment must be examined. If we are in yet another situation where medical negligence is going to stem from a lack of funding, which is thought to be the case, the government must be held to account and must ensure that the NHS has the funding needed to prevent loss of life through out-of-date medical equipment.

IMPORTANT: advice on this page is intended to be up-to-date for the 'first published date'.

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