More than £27,000 worth of funding for equipment that will bring significant benefits to breast cancer patients in the north-east has been fast-tracked due to coronavirus.
Charity Friends of ANCHOR pushed through the £27,135 in anticipation of a busy period for staff at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.
The money has been ring-fenced for radiofrequency breast tags and detector probes, which are used to prepare patients for surgery to remove breast tumours.
It will be the first time the technology has been introduced in Scotland.
Dr Gerald Lip, clinical director for the north-east of Scotland Screening Programme, applied for the funding in February, alongside his colleague Yazan Masannat, consultant breast surgeon at ARI.
Dr Lip said: “This is new technology which we are the first to introduce in Scotland and it will make a significant difference in patients’ pathways and management.
“This new method is far more comfortable for patients and allows for even greater accuracy during surgery – and it has the potential to considerably streamline the process for both patients and the surgical team.
“We are extremely grateful to Friends of ANCHOR for accelerating the funding process.”
Mr Masannat added: “With the current pandemic situation, placement of the tags will reduce patient visits to the hospital and their time in the hospital itself, allowing for surgery and discharge on the same day for some patients.
“Currently in NHS Grampian, there are more than 450 new breast cancer patients per year, with more than 200 operations a year requiring the current localisation method.
“The practice has already proved successful in hospitals in Newcastle and Gateshead so the team in Aberdeen is eager to get started.”
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The radiofrequency tags are implanted into patients who require breast surgery to remove a tumour, although they aren’t appropriate to be used in all breast cancer operations.
They work by emitting radio signals detected with a sensor in the operating theatre, which allow for more accurate surgery.
They also stay active for 90 days, so they can be input in advance which helps to streamline patients moving through the department.
Jim Milne, chairman of Friends of ANCHOR, said: “In light of the current pandemic and expected patient numbers to ARI, the committee voted unanimously to fasttrack this funding application.
“Our remit first and foremost as a charity is to contribute in a meaningful and responsive way to the care and support available for cancer and haematology patients, and we could not ignore the further benefits that would be brought by making this investment in a timely manner.”