Cuts could leave doctors with old equipment

Financial constraints on the NHS could lead to doctors operating on patients with outdated equipment, surgeons have warned.

The Association of Laparoscopic Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland has said that necessary investment in pioneering surgical techniques and technology is in danger of being overlooked as the NHS seeks to make £20bn of efficiency savings before 2015.

An audit of equipment used in "keyhole" – or laparoscopic – surgery found that only 15 per cent of operating theatres met the highest standards for equipment safety and design. Almost a quarter of hospitals do not have high-definition imaging screens readily available for surgeons.