GENEROUS fundraisers donated £20,000 towards a new ultrasound machine to help with the early detection of lung cancer in Worcestershire.

The two League of Friends groups at Worcestershire Royal Hospital and Kidderminster Hospital raised the cash towards a state-of-the-art £100,000 endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS) machine, with the rest of the money raised by Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust and other charitable donations.

The machine – the second of its kind in the county after a similar piece of equipment was set up at Redditch’s Alexandra Hospital – means patients can be tested for the disease without the need for invasive chest surgery.

NHS experts said the machine would benefit up to 50 patients per year, reduce the time taken to start treatment by about three weeks and free up surgeons’ time to carry out more treatments.

Consultant respiratory physician Dr Ingrid du Rand said the new machine was “a fantastic development for patients in Worcestershire”.

“We’re really privileged to be able offer this service,” she said.

“It wouldn’t have been possible without the help of the Friends of Worcestershire Royal Hospital and Kidderminster League of Friends.

“We’re very grateful for everything they’ve done.

“Patients will start to see the benefit straight away and our first appointment was at the end of February.

“Early treatment of cancer gives patients the best possible chance of recovery.

“This technology will help us to reach a diagnosis faster than ever without the need for invasive surgery or asking patients to travel.”

Chairman of the Friends of Worcestershire Royal Hospital Eluned Smith said: “When we saw what the EBUS could do to help patients with lung problems we knew we had to do everything possible to make the machine available.”

Her counterpart from Kidderminster Hospital David Wase said: “This is one donation that we can be particularly proud of.

“Thank you to all our volunteers for the essential fundraising work you do.”

Patients using the machine are placed under local anaesthetic and a flexible ultrasound tube is guided through the mouth into the lungs before sample cells are taken for testing using the ultrasound images as a guide.

The procedure takes less than an hour and results are available within a day with the patient able to return home on the same day.