Seven scanners, five MRIs, one PET-CT, two angiographers and two catheterization rooms. Asturian Public Health is immersed in the largest renovation of high-tech equipment in its entire history. Five hospitals that are the leaders of the region will strengthen their fleet of diagnostic and interventional equipment: in Jario, Congas del Narcía, San Agustin (Aviles), Central de Asturias (HUCA) and Cabuenas (Gijón). As a great innovation, avant-garde equipment will no longer be an exclusive privilege of large centers in each region and will arrive at Monte Naranco Hospital (Oviedo) and the Puerta de la Villa outpatient clinic for the first time. Gijon). An MRI and a CT (scanner) will be installed in each of these two buildings, a step forward that until recently seemed unimaginable.
The 17 new teams are divided into two large groups: five are to replace obsolete equipment (three scanners and two resonators); The remaining eleven are aimed at strengthening the provision of five of the region’s eight health areas.
Both HUCA and Cabueñes will add a catheterization chamber for cardiological treatment and two angiographers (the latter are applicable to neurovascular treatment, along with other options, for example to remove thrombi after an acute ischemic stroke).
The operation is already underway and has a deadline of the end of September 2023. The purchase of these machines is financed with funds from the “Next Generation EU” program of the High Technology Investment Scheme (Invet) of the Spanish government. Items 15.6 million for Asturias: 12.9 who come from Europe and 2.7 who put the principality.
What is persecuted? According to the Ministry of Health, the purpose of this renewal and expansion of equipment is to “enhance people’s overall survival and quality of life through early diagnosis of diseases.” This anticipation enables “rapid therapeutic intervention with a specific focus on the pathologies with the greatest impact”, including chronic, oncological, rare and neurological diseases.
This state plan aims to reduce the technical park’s obsolescence, as “it will allow all equipment that is more than twelve years old to be refurbished.” In the case of linear accelerators – none will come to Asturias – and TAC, the duration is short: ten years.
“Asturias is one of the communities with the least obsolescence in the country in this type of equipment”, emphasizes the Ministry of Health. However, this sector, like the rest of the national sector, is experiencing a huge increase in the demand for clinical examinations. According to Faustino García Arias, head of the HUCA radiodiagnosis service, requests for MRI and scanner tests have “increased by about 20 percent over the past three years.”
Dr García Arias said the key word in the technological innovation that is being carried out in Asturian health is “equity”, that is, “the possibility that all citizens can access the health services they need.” In Spain as a whole, the Inveat program will allow an investment of approximately $796 million, thanks to the refurbishment of 585 equipment and the expansion of another 262, a total of 847.
The most expensive of the equipment coming to Asturias is a high-performance positron emission tomography (PET/CT) device for HUCA. “The high precision of this device will enhance the diagnostic and therapeutic potential of the centre. It will also guarantee greater safety for both patients and professionals, as it will emit less radiation”, underlines the Ministry of Health. The price of the device is 2,583,713 euros.
This instrument, added to a similar device already in use at HUCA, will allow various pathologies to be more accurately and pre-monitored. In the case of tumours, it will be possible to better accommodate the need for new treatments, if necessary, by reducing the radiation emitted. In addition, by halving the time spent on the technique, it allows an increase in the number of patients involved for the diagnosis and development of more pathologies.