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by Sofia Villegas
22 May 2024
UK Government to rollout AI technology to cut cancer waiting lists

AI to help cut cancer waiting lists | Alamy

UK Government to rollout AI technology to cut cancer waiting lists

Artificial intelligence (AI) technology will be rolled out across NHS England in coming weeks to help cut waiting lists.

The UK Government has invested £15.5m in introducing AI technology across all NHS radiotherapy departments. The technology is estimated to detect cancer cells 2.5 times quicker than professionals alone. 

Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, said:

“Thanks to Bletchley we have created a legacy of international collaboration which means we are matching the pace of the technology.”

The AI safety Summit took place at Bletchley Park last November and saw countries sign the first-ever international agreement on AI safety, named The Bletchley Declaration.

Sunak continued:

“AI-powered medical advances – like in radiotherapy – are evidence of this and we must take advantage of them.”

The technology reviews CTI and MRI scans and distinguishes cancerous cells from healthy organs, preventing the latter from being damaged during radiotherapy. 

Trained workforces would then review reports before administering any treatments. 

AI is already being used in 90 per cent of stroke units in England, where evidence shows it is speeding up diagnosis and treatment. 

In Scotland, every year around 4,800 people are diagnosed with breast cancer, yet figures by Public Health Scotland revealed cancer waiting times reached record levels last year. 

Almost three in 10 of those referred with urgent suspicion of cancer are waiting longer than the 62-day target to start their treatment. 

Holyrood has contacted the Scottish Government on whether the AI technology will also be deployed across NHS Scotland

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