"The x-ray process is not fit for purpose"

About: Cossham Hospital

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I was refered by my GP for an x-ray on a suspected stress fracture. It was taken promptly with only a small waiting time which was great. I was then told the results would be sent to my doctors (Wellspring medical centre) in 7 to 10 days and they would contact me if there was a problem. This was a pretty disapointing time scale. How long can it take to analyse an X ray? 5 minutes? After 11 days I checked with the medical centre to find out what was happening. I was told to wait a couple more days and try again. After 17 days i called Cossham hospital myself and eventually found out that the results had been posted some time ago. Presumeably my results had been lost in the post. There seems to be very poor communication between different parts of the NHS. Since i was told that i would only be contacted if there was a problem I could easily be under the impression that everything is ok. It's laughable that the results are transfered by post! In future I will be using A and E for any X-Rays...

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Response from Cossham Hospital

Dear Mark – I am sorry you had such a long wait for your x-ray results. This is clearly not the level of service the Trust aspires too, or expects. When an x-ray is taken the results are sent to the doctor, or GP, who requested the information. The process is usually takes a few days, which is why you were informed they would be ready within 7 days. However, it is possible that an x-ray may not clearly show the expected result, i.e. if a fracture is very subtle, or where any query exists. In these circumstances it is then passed to a specialist for further review. Additionally there are times when, due to the demands for x-ray reporting from the acute hospital services, the results of less clinically urgent x-rays can be delayed. Communication to the GP can be electronic, or via a written report. If the GP surgery cannot access the results electronically, this can again delay the receipt, as any letter needs to be typed, and then is subject to the post. The electronic links into the Trust are being expanded as more GP practices take up this option and currently 95% of practices have access to the facility. If you require any x-rays in future I hope you will be reassured that the access and reporting is being improved. I would advise against simply attending A&E for a scheduled x-ray as this could mean you could have a long wait and may be turned away without the x-ray being completed. Kind Regards – Steve Sykes Advice and Complaints Team

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