Thursday 16 August 2018

Six-week wait for patients at centre of Kerry scans review

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Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

Patients will have to wait another six weeks before the backlog of scans being reviewed at University Hospital Kerry is complete.

A spokesman said that six radiologists were now involved in the review, which has involved a look back at 46,000 scans carried out by one locum consultant. Some 26,000 are still to be examined.

Seven patients received an incorrect diagnosis and another 34, who were recalled for checks, were given the all-clear.

Separately, it emerged yesterday that 2,466 plain film scans that had built up at Cork University Hospital due to a lack of staffing over the summer had been cleared.

The examination led to 14 patients being called back for review, but they were not found to have significant health problems linked to the scans.

The Cork review involved looking at X-rays and the accumulation occurred due to sick leave and the fact no suitable locum could be found.

A team of radiologists looked at the scans. A system of peer review of radiological scan results should be in place at all hospitals.

Meanwhile, a new drive to implement best practice guidelines and reduce errors in reading scans is expected to get under way at all hospitals.

The gravity of the errors at Kerry has led to patients at other hospitals questioning the accuracy of scans.

Radiologists should review randomly selected results of their colleagues' work as a method of quality control to reduce errors. It is unclear how this was being undertaken at the Kerry radiological department.

The Faculty of Radiology launched guidelines five years ago to protect patient safety.

Peer reviews should occur continuously with radiologists reviewing older images when reporting on new images.

Another safety guideline is that radiology departments take part in multidisciplinary team meetings.

In that instance, images are reviewed by teams which decide on the course of treatment a patient should receive.

Departments should also hold discrepancy meetings to discuss cases in which reports on scans were found to inaccurate.

However, the pressures on radiology departments, and lack of staff, mean this is difficult to implement.

Several departments are relying on locums instead of full-time staff.

Irish Independent

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