THOUSANDS of county patients will be able to avoid a complex and invasive surgical procedure and save the NHS thousands of pounds - thanks to a new test.

Patients under assessment for colon cancer can now avoid having to have an endoscopy and can have a simple stool sample test instead.

The test is being introduced by the Pathology Department at Worcestershire Royal Hospital meaning around 2,400 patients won’t need an endoscopy – saving the hospital thousands of pounds each year. An endoscopy costs the NHS £406 and the analysis of a stool sample costs £25 per patient.

MPs Harriett Baldwin and Nigel Huddleston were briefed on the new test during a visit to the department.

Mrs Baldwin said: “It was really interesting to visit the path lab and see some of the amazing work that is going on to help get the best possible outcomes for local patients.

“The department is carrying out great work for patients both in Worcestershire and for other hospital trusts and it was really helpful to tour the labs and chat to many of the people who work there.

“This new test is a great innovation which will reduce the need for patients to have an invasive procedure – whilst saving money with every test carried out.

"As the government commits more funding to our NHS, is it also vital that we find savings and efficiencies wherever possible and this is a perfect example of how a hospital department can make the most of its budget.”