BREAST screening services will be expanded in Wirral after local health chiefs announce a multi-million pound investment to boost care.
Wirral Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) – the doctor led commissioning group which takes over from the primary care trust in April – has invested around £3m in two major projects in the borough.
A new digital breast screening service will be opened at St. Catherine’s hospital, in Birkenhead, as an addition to the existing Wirral Breast Screening Unit at Clatterbridge hospital.
The new money will also pay for a robot which can help doctors carry out intricate surgery at Arrowe Park hospital.
Health bosses said the new breast service, open 8am to 6pm, offers more flexibility for people who cannot attend during normal office hours.
Dr Phil Jennings, chairman of Wirral CCG said: “Women now have a choice of two venues and can go to whichever is most convenient for them.
“In areas where there is a lower uptake of screening, such as Birkenhead, we will also be encouraging women to accept their screening invitation and to use this local facility.”
The new robotic surgical system, which sees the surgeon use hand and foot controls to operate with instruments, is known as the Single Console Da Vinci system and has been shown to improve laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery results, compared with traditional methods.
Dr Abhi Mantgani, clinical chief officer, Wirral CCG said: "We are delighted that our recognition of the importance of this service to the patients of the Wirral and beyond, through our sustained investment all year has helped in allowing the Trust to buy this leading edge equipment.
“ This equipment has been proved to help give better outcomes for patients.”
David Allison, chief executive, Wirral University Teaching Hospital Foundation NHS Trust said: “Our Trust aspires to provide the very best health service to the people of Wirral and beyond and the provision of leading edge technology is critical in this regard.
“We are delighted that the most advanced surgery can now be provided locally.”
The robot will be used to carry out removal of the prostate gland, gall bladder, hysterectomy and partial removal of the kidney.
Patients undergoing keyhole surgery experience reduced blood loss and need for blood transfusion, reduced post-operative complications a shorter length of stay in hospital and a quicker recovery.