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NHS operating theatres 'lack high-quality keyhole surgery equipment'

July 09, 2012

An audit of surgical equipment has found that many NHS operating theatres have outdated and poor quality equipment for keyhole surgery.

The vast majority of keyhole surgery theatres in NHS hospitals do not meet the highest standards for equipment safety and design, experts have warned.

The Association of Laparoscopic Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland (ALSGBI) conducted an audit of theatre equipment used to conduct keyhole surgery.

Researchers found that just 15 percent of operating theatres met the highest standards for safety and design, while 22 percent did not have high-definition imaging screens.

Professor Timothy Rockall described the findings as "worrying", as a lack of high-quality equipment could limit the types of operations that can be performed safely.

He told the Press Association: "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."

Meanwhile, research from the London School of Economics suggests that 'telehealth' devices - which are designed to monitor a person's health in their own home - are unlikely to be cost-effective for the NHS unless equipment prices fall.

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