Cost is the reason that consultants don't read X-rays
The board at Tallaght Hospital should resign over the X-ray debacle, writes Dr Ciara Kelly, but there is a wider issue
Sometimes you think the health service can't get any worse -- and then sadly it does.
Almost 58,000 X-rays taken in Tallaght Hospital between 2005 and 2009 were never looked at by a consultant radiologist. Yes, 58,000. That staggering number is not an oversight or a backlog. That's a system. Not a systems failure, but a system in itself -- whereby it was clearly deemed acceptable practice in one of our leading acute hospitals, for someone unqualified in radiology to read and report on patients' X-rays.
So far, they've identified two delayed diagnoses of cancer due to this system; one of those patients is undergoing treatment, and the other has already died.