More than £1million will be spent replacing faulty equipment in a Wolverhampton hospital after patients regularly had treatment cancelled.
Equipment in the Heart and Lung Centre at New Cross Hospital is almost 10 years old and bosses said that regular breakdowns were impacting on the hospital’s reputation.
Labs in the centre have become ‘increasingly unreliable’ chiefs added and that ‘unacceptable risks’ have been created to patients when the faulty equipment has been unavailable due to breakdowns.
It comes as the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust prepares to spend almost £40m on a new emergency centre in the next three years. In total the trust’s expenditure budget between now and 2019 is £95.6m.
A business case outlines the need for major equipment being replaced in a catheter lab – an examination room where hearts are analysed using image technology.
A three-year rolling programme to replace the old equipment is running between 2013 and 2015, with labs now nine years and proving ‘above normal’ levels of activity.
It is proposed that £800,000 is spent on the first lab, with a further £230,000 going on a temporary on-site lab to minimise risks to patients while work is ongoing. A further two labs will be renovated.
But the need for the first lab to be overhauled has arisen with equipment becoming more unreliable.
A report to trust bosses said: “In the past 18 months the labs have become increasingly unreliable with unacceptable downtimes that have impacted on elective lists on numerous occasions. There have been a number of occasions when two labs have been out of action with only one lab available for our heart attack service (PPCI). This creates a high risk to patient care.”
The unit is one of the busiest in the country and operation times have increased in recent years due to cases becoming more complicated.
The report added: “Since March 2013, on six occasions two labs have been simultaneously unavailable. This has created an unacceptable risk to patient care, particularly as we are the heart attack centre for the Black Country.
“This is impacting on our reputation and creating a level of frustration for our visitors. Needless to say it has a great impact for those patients whose cases have been cancelled due to these breakdowns and a degree of clinical risk.”