ULTRASOUND technology which provides state-of-the-art diagnosis for patients with suspected prostate cancer has been installed at Kidderminster Hospital.

Waiting lists for the procedure are expected to be significantly reduced after The League of Friends charity agreed to purchase the £83,000 equipment, bringing their total spend at the hospital to £150,000 this year.

Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust previously rented a similar machine for short periods but this meant patients faced long waits for investigations or had to travel outside the county for referrals.

The new equipment uses ultrasound to guide the collection of up to 50 tissue samples from the prostate gland and the sophisticated data it produces considerably improves diagnostic accuracy.

Patients are only in hospital for a couple of hours and as the operation is carried out through the skin rather than internally, the risk of infection is reduced from around 30 patients per 1,000 to one.

Initially up to 100 patients a year are expected to benefit.

Consultant urological surgeon Paul Rajjayabun said: “Compared with last year, we are now seeing 500 more referrals for prostate cancer diagnosis in the county and we have quite a waiting list.

"Now we can start reducing that because we know this equipment will make a real difference.”

He added: “Without the League of Friends, this equipment simply wouldn’t be here.

“We were at a standstill in terms of being able to procure it for ourselves because of the financial constraints we are working with, so the League have been essential and critical to ensure that this equipment is available in Worcestershire.”

League of Friends vice chairman Peter Picken said: “Kidderminster Hospital is a great asset for the county and hugely valued by our community.

“We are keen to maintain existing services and add new ones when opportunities arise, and are delighted to be able to fund this project.”

He added: “But we could not do this without the wonderful backing of Wyre Forest people who support us through donations, our hospital coffee shop and Swan Centre charity shop. The credit for this latest purchase goes to them.”