SPECIALISED tests for people with suspected ear problems have been restored to Kidderminster Hospital.

The League of Friends charity for Kidderminster Hospitals has paid £27,000 to buy state-of-the-art audiology equipment which means patients no longer have to travel to Worcester for balance investigations.

The tests have not been carried out in the town for more than a year as the old equipment – also purchased by the League of Friends in 2006 – had become obsolete.

During this period, the procedure had been transferred to Worcestershire Royal Hospital where patients faced waiting times of up to three months.

Now the service is back in Kidderminster, it is hoped waiting times will eventually be cut to around a month.

Senior clinic audiologist Edward Southan said: “We are grateful to the League of Friends for helping us to deliver this service once again in Kidderminster.

“The infra-red goggles, laptop and TV screen allow us to record types of eye movement which identifies whether or not balance problems are associated with an inner ear problem.

“This then enables us to give a steer to our medical colleagues and helps with the patient’s onward treatment.”

The Friends organisation raises funds through its popular hospital coffee shop and Kidderminster charity shop in the Swan Centre and via legacies and donations from others wishing to support the town hospital.