WAITING times for cancer surgery will fall after the NHS trust that runs Colchester General Hospital bought operating theatre equipment worth £10,000.

All but £2,000 of the cost of the abdominal retractor was paid for from donations, with the remainder coming from the funds of Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the hospital.

The equipment, which is attached to an operating table, is used in open surgery of the bladder, prostate and kidneys, and helps the surgeon gain access to the patient.

Rowan Casey, Consultant Urological Surgeon, said: “We already had one retractor but because it takes three to four hours to resterilise, it was impossible to use it more than once on the same operating list.

“Now that we’ve got two, we can do this and even use this kit in two operations simultaneously, which means operations are no longer delayed because equipment isn’t available.”

The biggest single donation - £5,000 - came from Colchester Catalyst Charity, a grant-making body that can help with funding for support and equipment needed by people with medical condition or disabilities who live in north east Essex, and where no statutory funding is available.

Colchester Hospitals Charity (CoHoC) gave £2,000 and £1,000 was donated by Carlo Guglielmi, of Waldegrave Way, Lawford.

Mr Guglielmi, 57, runs Honeycroft Post Office and stores in the village and is also a Tendring councillor and Essex county councillor.

He was diagnosed with bladder cancer in July 2012 and had three operations, including one to remove his bladder and prostate which was carried out by Mr Casey in which an abdominal retractor was used.

He decided to thank the urology department by donating one month of his Tendring Council allowance.