Shortstaffed hospital unit brings waits
PEOPLE in Ipswich are having to wait for scans and ultrasounds because the radiology department is short-staffed.Despite a major upgrade in equipment, the shortage of radiologists (doctors specialising in the interpretation of scans) has lead to waiting times of between 14 and 20 weeks.
By Jessica Nicholls
PEOPLE in Ipswich are having to wait for scans and ultrasounds because the radiology department is short-staffed.
Despite a major upgrade in equipment, the shortage of radiologists (doctors specialising in the interpretation of scans) has lead to waiting times of between 14 and 20 weeks.
There is a national shortage of radiologists and Ipswich Hospital has not managed to buck the trend. Bosses are currently on the look out for new radiologists to help cope with the workload and reduce waiting times.
A spokesman for the hospital said: "Like the rest of the country we have suffered from a lack of trained radiologists and radiographers.
"Overall we would be around the average waiting times for the country."
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A new report by the Audit Commission this week showed that long waits for radiology services across the country were causing bottlenecks in the NHS and slowing down people's treatment.
A quarter of a million people are waiting for ultrasounds and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans with average waits of eight and 20 weeks respectively.
The commission also found that 59 per cent of the equipment being used in NHS hospitals was older than the seven years recommended by the Royal College of Radiologists.
However at Ipswich Hospital, in the last year, patients have benefited from funding which enabled staff to buy two new CT scanners and two new ultrasound machines.
The spokesman said: "That means we have been able to decommission some of the older equipment.
"We do have some equipment which is older than the recommended seven years but that is kept in good order through a good maintenance programme and a quality assurance programme."