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New Breast Cancer test at Worcestershire Royal Hospital dramatically cutting waiting times

Breast cancer patients in Worcestershire are now benefitting from drastically reduced waiting times for treatment thanks to a test now carried out in the laboratories at Worcestershire Royal Hospital.

The test, which is new in the county’s hospitals, has cut the time doctors have to wait before being able to decide which treatment to give patients, from three weeks, down to just two days.

Where previously, the test to determine the best treatment to give the patient was sent out to a regional laboratory in Birmingham, each stage of the advanced test is now completed by staff in the Histology department at Worcestershire Royal.

Carrying out the test within the Hospital Trust means the time taken to produce the results has been massively reduced and doctors can decide the best course of treatment as quickly as possible, improving the prognosis of patients with certain types of breast cancer.

The new test also means a huge cost saving for Worcestershire’s hospitals which previously had to pay hundreds of pounds for each test to be reviewed and sent back.

After an internal verification process, the results from tests carried out at Worcester were found to have a 100% accuracy rate, meaning patients can be confident that the treatment they receive, as a result of the test, is accurate and supported by scientific evidence.

Now the testing procedures used at Worcestershire Royal have received national accreditation after undergoing an inspection by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS).

Steven Thrush, Consultant Breast Surgeon at Worcestershire Royal said: “We are delighted with the introduction of this test because it results in a significant reduction in turnaround time. This benefits patients because it allows treatment plans and actual treatment to start earlier.”

Mandeep Deo, Specialist Biomedical Scientist who introduced the test at Worcestershire Royal said: “We used to outsource this test to a specialist centre with a long turnaround time and a hefty price implication. Now we turn this test around within a couple of days and it is significantly cheaper for the Trust.

“The inspection of our procedures by UKAS has given us accreditation for carrying out these tests and means we can now look at potentially providing this service to other local hospitals and NHS Trusts in future.”

Consultant Histopathologist at the hospital, Dr Sarah Littleford said: “This is yet another example of how flexible and innovative the histology department is at Worcestershire Royal. We are extremely proud of the development and hope to expand the service to new diagnostic tests in the near future.”

Dr Terry Jones, Consultant Histopathologist added: “This development will allow the rapid assessment of an important prognostic tumour marker at reduced cost and with results available at a fraction of the time previously possible.”

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