Patients wait six months for life-saving scans

Discussion in 'The Intelligence Cell' started by Blogg, Apr 30, 2007.

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  1. "NHS patients are having to wait almost six months for life-saving diagnostic tests such as MRI scans, new research for The Daily Telegraph shows today.

    While waiting lists are falling overall, a study of NHS trusts found that the chance of an early diagnosis depends on where a patient lives.

    Patients in Wales had to wait 100 working days for an MRI scan in 2005/6, while those in the North-East had to wait only 47 days."

    OK, you think, a pity but these things happen, pressure on scanning resources, lack of staff blah, blah, blah.

    Well, last Thursday morning one of my dogs suddenly started bleeding seriously from his left nostril. How seriously? Well the room where they sleep looked like an axe murderer had been at work. The Vet had dog blood couriered in. For a dog, such an episode can represent serious bad news.

    To cut a long story short Vet concluded a CT scan was the only way to really see what was going on because it is impossible to scope parts of a dog nose. How long did this take to arrange and get done?

    24 HOURS. In a private scanning facilty normally used for humans but that uses spare scanner time out of hours to examine animals to raise more dosh. All I can say is that I am damn glad we renewed the Pet insurance!He will need an operation but should be OK

    But what grips my proverbial about all this is the attitude of Patricia Condescension is my middle name Hewitt and her minions. So now tell me that "Rapid progress from referral to diagnosis is a challenge...." and that 18 weeks represents a "reasonable" target after the NHS had the "Best Ever Year."

    What a country.
  2. Of course medical help takes ages to get.....that's why their called patient.
  3. 24 hours to save the NHS my arrse! A simple way of jumping the queue is to pretend you can't speak English, they'll fall over themselves to provide you with help then.

    A pensioner will have to lose his sight in one eye before health chiefs will consider treating him, a leading charity for the blind claimed yesterday.
    Situations like this are unacceptable, when resources are wasted offering free healthcare to 100.000s immigrants and asylum seekers.

  5. To be honest, the link explains the main reason why waiting lists aren't improving. God knows, I'm no apologist for the Liarbour party, but with regard to modern diagnostic imaging new indications are being discovered all the time. I could give you chapter and verse on multiple indications for scanning (both CT and MRI and increasingly PET/PETCT) that were previously carried out using cheaper but less effective methods. All these patients are now moving to CT/MRI lists which only have a limited number of appointment times - there are only so many hours in the day/people qualified to use them.
    In passing it's worth pointing out that there is a large disparity between certain hospitals due to the way technology has moved on in the last few years - a CT scanner from 3 years ago cannot compare with a new 64 Slice in terms of scan and reconstruction time and there are very few private hospitals that have the necessary scanner, software or in terms of MRI a decent magnet. When servicing costs are factored in (annually close to what the scanner originally cost) one can see why these capital spends are meant to last for a reasonable amount of time so a lot of trusts bide their time to see where the technology goes next.
    BTW - did you see what the costs of the private scan were? Not cheap right? And this was for a very basic CT - imagine that it was a highly involved CT angiography case in the NHS instead. Serious money and on a daily basis.
  6. Another organisation ruined entirely by Bliar and his light-weights and their obsession with targets.

    The obsession should be with clearing up the filth in the hospitals. I mean rubbish, litter and filth. Have a wander around St George's Tooting to see what I mean.
  7. The reason people are waiting six months for a scan is very simple. The following shows the number of CT scanners per million citizens in various countries (Source: OECD LINK)

    Japan 92.6
    Korea 31.9
    Australia 27.2
    Germany 14.2
    Czech Republic 12.6
    Canada 10.3
    Poland 6.3
    United Kingdom 5.8
    Mexico 1.5

    Of the 30 countries surveyed by OECD, only Mexico had fewer scanners that the UK.

    We have fewer scanners than any other country in the developed world. That's why people are waiting months for a scan. That's why people are dying on waiting lists.
  9. I'd be in favour of some form of priority system for the NHS depending on how much stamp you had paid.

    Green - those who have paid full stamp (elderly, those approaching retirement etc) get the priority treatment.

    Red - those freeloading bastards who have paid bugger-all stamp, have just arrived in the country, have sat on their fat arrses all their lives.

    ....and Amber would fit somewhere in the middle.

    Obviously the above is a little raw and doesn't take into account those who cannot work for various reasons (disabilty being probably the major reason) but I'm sure a clever government could work something out (if we get one).

    I'd be more than happy to see some old codger who's done his bit or some old dear who has worked her bollix off for years higher on the priority list than me - they've earned it. Equally I'd be more than happy to march past some bling-wearing, jobless, ASBO chav to the front of the queue.

    If nothing else a system like this may dissuade so called "health tourists" from swimming in to this country and may also encourage the great unwashed to get out and start earning.
  10. Frankly, that's absolute nonsense. It's not necessarily the number of scanners but the quality that makes the difference. Try lung scanning for pulmonary embolism on a spiral CT and see how far you get. The only reason that it can be done now instead of the 'old' gold standard of Krypton VQ in the nuclear medicine dept is because multislice CT is fast enough to scan in a single breath-hold. There are still single spiral CTs in some hospitals (just a few) but they are very rarely used because they are limited in what they can do because the patient has to stay still for so long.
    Now just supposing we brought online lots of new scanners, who is going to do the scans? How long will it take to train the radiographers to use the equipment (BTW - I am a radiographer and I wouldn't have the first idea how to operate a CT scanner - nor do I have the time to take the standard Post-Grad qualifications) and where are the radiologists going to come from to interpret the films?
  11. June 2005,wife starts to experience discomfort in hip/groin area.Blood tests,x-ray +plus other tests.Nothing of significance discovered,but results suggest more monitoring.Result,more probs and scans +physio.Meanwhile,pain increases.Had to wait months for further investigations(cat/mri/x-rays/internal probes))still nothing discovered.She also reported to docs,that normal bodily discharges had changed in colour or composition.Come September,she saw a specialist,and was cleared to go on holiday.On arrival at holiday destination,and after swift march uphill(at behest of rep)she was struggling to breathe,And within a short time developed sores on her leg(diagnosed as mossy bites)-meanwhile the pain continued to grow worse,causing difficulty in walking.On return to UK,she again saw doc,told him of symptoms,and had more tests.(doc,to his credit was getting concerned)
    Come February,she had been twice to A&E,where she had to wait while the pub fighters,junkies and those who go when they have a cold were seen prior to her.She would wake in the mornings,saying she couldn't stand the pain any longer(she was not a moaner).
    Shortly after this,she was on morphine,and unable to walk,even then the ambulance turned up with only 1 guy,despite being informed that she needed carrying.
    In March,she finally got to see the bone specialist,who could not understand what the problem could be.During this consultation,2 junior docs were present,and the female noticed a haziness on the x-ray,--result---another scan(MRI/CT+nuclear(injection or radioactive fluid) which she was informed may take 48-52 weeks to get done(chit from specialist ensured it was done within 2 weeks)
    She entered hospital in early April,diagnosed with advanced cancer,received 2 courses of radiotherapy,and was dead by mid May.
    The symtoms were there for all those in the medical field to interpretate,but she was failed by an indifferent system which appears to be more concerned with statistics and management consultants.
    Some of the care she received in hospital was good,some indifferent,but I suppose medical staff are no different from the rest of us-consciencious/or pay check at end of month.She was 49 years old.

    NHS,I shit 'em
  12. PS excuse spelling,noticed few errors,1 finger typist,and longest posting
  13. Absolutely right!

    The state of New York (pop. approx 18 million) alone has twice as many MRI/ CAT scanners as the entire UK (pop. 60 million)!

    Alongside this, is the fundamental incompetence of the NHS: eg recently I had a cardiac review - having had a heart valve replacement 10 years ago - and discovered that all of the notes/ scan results etc relating to my surgery, and the 3 years of investigations that led up to it, have been destroyed; not lost, but deliberately destroyed as a result of administrative fiat! So, my cardiologist has no "baseline" data on, for example, the size of my aorta prior to surgery - quite important, really! Consequence - more MRI scans in the near future to determine a new baseline, plus the need for annual scans thereafter to ensure nothing untoward is happening. None of this would have been necessary had he been able to confirm aorta size etc from 10-13 years ago. I'm confident that all is well - of course, I remember all the details very well, but he cannot be expected to recall all data on every patient passing through his hands, and without the relevant notes is compelled to order up a battery of new tests "just to be on the safe side".

    F*!*in' ridiculous! What a waste of time and scant resources, and a huge embuggerance for me.

    Not only this, but there was a huge cock-up re the date of this review. Arranged date/ time via "choose & book" - subsequently confirmed in writing by the hospital; duly arrived at hospital at appointed time (having taken a day off work) to be met with looks of blank incomprehension on faces of admin staff. Turned out the appointment had been "rescheduled"; trouble was, nobody had thought to inform me! FFS!

    Re the original surgery: excellent - surgeon and team were outstanding. Same can not, however, be said re the nursing/ post op care. I was clear of MRSA before surgery, but after 2 days on the ward (this was, don't forget, a specialised cardio-thoracic surgical ward in a teaching hospital) all swabs taken from my IV lines showed MRSA - ie the staff had infected me. Ended up spending twice as long in hospital as originally planned.

    Will never forget the filth of that ward - used dressings left on your bed table; water (I hope!) on floors of lavatories; "tidemarks"/ shaving detritus around washbasins; shit stains in bogs...etc etc. On one occasion, a female patient (yep, mixed ward) who had psychiatric problems as well as cardiac diffs, shat all over the floor - I kid not, it took over 3 hours before anyone made any effort to clean it up. It was a disgrace. Nurses, with a few notable exceptions, were careless (in every sense), lazy and totally lacking initiative/ sense of purpose. The ward "sister" was either clinically depressed or really did not give a toss - either way, she simply was not fit to be on the ward, let alone in charge of it.

    Family members (incl my wife, a doctor, and my sister, an experienced general and surgical nurse) wanted to make a formal complaint at the time - but I was so relieved to get out of the place alive, and was so knackered, that I let it go. Did request full copies of my notes - refused. Could have engaged a lawyer, no doubt, and eventually got hold of them, but... Wish I had done now, of course, but despite everything, it never even entered my thinking that a specialist centre such as this would, as a matter of policy, destroy patient records! Common sense alone (vain hope in the NHS, I now realise!) would suggest that a 36 year old (my age at time of surgery) undergoing heart surgery would be likely to come their (or some other centre's) way again at some time in the future. What planet are these people living on?!
  14. Nonsense? Seems pretty straightforward to me. Labour have been in power for a decade and we have fewer CT scanners than any other western country. They've been in power long enough to have trained radiographers and purchased the required machines but they've done nothing. Plenty of money for diversity consultants though.

    The problem is exacerbated by existing resources being shut down to save money. Half of the scanners at the NHS hospitals where I live have been closed despite long waiting lists for scans.

    The main hospital in this area is proposing to use one of its closed scanners for animals that are referred by vets. If they get away with this, we'll be in a situation where dogs get a higher priority for NHS scans than seriously ill patients.

    Good old NHS. Envy of the world.