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Monday 20 November 2017

Huge backlog in X-rays revealed at Tallaght Hospital

Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

A BACKLOG of 6,000 reports on x-rays and other scans has built up at Tallaght Hospital in Dublin, leaving some doctors waiting up to five weeks for their patient’s results, it was confirmed today.

However, a spokesman for the hospital said patient safety is not at risk as urgent and critical results are prioritised and given to the patient’s doctor within 24 hours.

The reports contain the results of X-rays and other scans carried out on patients at the hospital which are needed by doctors in order to make a full diagnosis.

A spokesman said that a lack of clerical staff was contributing to the build-up but a new system of voice activation will come into force next month which should speed up the process.

It was also doing more screening due to an additional CT scanner as well as dealing with patients referred from Naas hospital.

Tallaght was at the centre of controversy in 2009 after it emerged that thousands of x-rays and other scans were unread leaving patients at risk of delayed diagnosis.

It also emerged that several thousand letters, sent to the hospital by GPs asking for an appointment for their patients, were unopened.

An independent report led to an overhaul in systems and the hiring of additional radiologists.

“There is no risk to patient safety. This is an administrative concern and it is important that its significance is not misunderstood or misrepresented. We have a documented clinical governance process in place for the radiologists, the doctors who report on the image, which they must follow to ensure that any critical or urgent findings are immediately brought to the attention of the referring doctor and to the clerical staff who then transcribe and send the report immediately,” said a spokesman.

“Tallaght undertook 172,400 examinations in 2012. The delay of typing at the moment impacts to about 6,000 examinations – which represents 3.5pc of examinations,” he added.

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