More X-ray, scan delays exposed in new report
PATIENTS with hip, back and knee problems are still enduring delays of eight months before seeing an orthopaedic surgeon in the hospital at the centre of a damning inquiry report, the Irish Independent has learned.
Tallaght Hospital in Dublin is also still struggling to provide timely scans and X-rays for patients who need the procedure to diagnose illness.
Latest reports supplied by the hospital to the Health Service Executive reveal patients have to wait up to seven months for an appointment for a routine ultrasound scan and nearly three months for an X-ray.
Earlier this month an inquiry team led by former Northern Ireland Ombudsman Maurice Hayes revealed how ortho-paedic surgeons at the hospital failed to reply to more than 3,400 patients seeking an appointment because they were angry with management over lack of beds.
The report also uncovered the long-running crisis in radiology, which resulted in more than 57,000 X-rays and scans going unread by radiologists.
Correspondence obtained by the Irish Independent has cast new light on the behind-the-scenes panic felt by its radiologists over several years about the delays faced by patients needing scans and also the mounting stack of X-rays they did not have time to read.
It reveals that in April 2008, a group of radiologists wrote to management saying public patients who faced such long delays for a ultrasound or MRI scan were forced to pay for them privately in other hospitals.
It also outlines how doctors said they were afraid that their radiology department was becoming a "joke" and one specialist described the X-ray transmission system they were using as "crap".