AI technology to help cut cancer waiting lists - The Worcester Observer

AI technology to help cut cancer waiting lists

Worcester Editorial 21st May, 2024   0

Game-changing AI will start being rolled out to every NHS radiotherapy department in England in a matter of weeks – backed by £15.5 million in new funding.

It works by automatically reviewing a CT or MRI scan, helping doctors quickly distinguish between cancerous cells and healthy organs and to prevent healthy organs from being damaged during radiation treatment.

Trained health workers will of course review any report before administering any treatment – helping tens of thousands of cancer patients each year get faster treatment.

The UK is at the forefront of embracing and embedding AI into the healthcare system, and with it already being used in 90% of stroke units in England – which is speeding up diagnosis and treatment.

Dr Imogen Locke, national speciality adviser for radiotherapy at NHS England said:

The NHS is embracing AI and its benefits for cancer patients and every radiotherapy department will soon be able to offer the latest technology to help diagnose and treat patients more quickly.  We are seeing a record number of referrals for suspected cancer, and game-changing tools like AI will help the NHS continue the significant progress made in tackling the longest waits for patients.

It is hoped today’s announcement is another major step to help cut NHS waiting lists after Covid, relieve pressure on hospitals, free up staff time, and support people in care settings to live more independently.

Health and Social Care Secretary Victoria Atkins said:

This is an exciting breakthrough in our work to improve cancer diagnosis and treatment, and AI is helping to make our healthcare system faster, simpler and fairer.

Thanks to such innovation, as well as our measures to help people quit smoking, and our work to grow the number of doctors in clinical oncology and radiology by a quarter since 2019, I’m pleased to say survival rates across almost all types of cancer are improving.

Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan said:

We knew that this rapidly evolving technology had the potential to not only improve lives, but save them too. AI is already transforming the world for the better, from cutting NHS waiting times and speeding up diagnoses to tackling issues like climate change through initiatives like the Manchester Prize.

I’m in the Republic of Korea at this week’s AI Seoul Summit to discuss how the UK is leading the charge when it comes to utilising AI to help humanity and driving forward the global momentum I kickstarted at Bletchley on safely realising the transformative benefits of AI.



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