"Back log of XRAY results - go to another hospital"

About: Princess Royal University Hospital (Orpington)

I went to the PRUH for an x-ray on my back. There and then i was told by the person who done my x-ray that my spine was bent and i was shown the x-ray, showing the extent of the disfigurment. My doctor sent me to see if i had a slipped disk so i was very shocked when i saw the extent of how bad my spine was. After worrying about it i called the hospital to see how long it would take for the result to get to my doctor as i'm in a lot of pain as discomfort and also very worried that i could be doing it even more damage as i'm currently walking bent over to one side. This is causing a lot of pain elsewhere,especially in my hips. I was told that my xray would be looked at within two days. I'm still waiting for my result nearly two weeks on. What the PRUH failed to tell me is that there is currently a back log of results waiting to be looked at as they are extremely short staffed. Had i have been told this I would have gone to another hospital to have the xray as i've been informed by my doctor that it's only the PRHU that's having the staffing issues. I spoke to one of the ladies on the xray reception yesterday, she advised that perhaps i should complain. So that's what i did. I called the Contact Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) to see if they were aware of the problems the x-ray department had been having. I can honestly say that i dont think i've ever spoken to anyone so rude before as the lady who answered the phone. She basically made me feel that i was making a big fuss about nothing and i shouldn't be complaining because they were interviewing people to fill the staff shortages. She also informed me that perhaps my spine had always been bent so what was i worried about. She wouldn't comment on the back log and said x-ray's always took that long (eventhough my doctor is telling me that all their patients are having the same problem getting their results back at the moment.) The hospital should be telling you when you go there that there is a back log to give you the option to go else where. I've been told today that my xray could take up to another couple of weeks so if you need one go to another hospital.

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Response from Princess Royal University Hospital

I am very sorry to hear about the communication issues that you experienced when making an enquiry about the reporting of your xray. There have been delays in reporting xrays which we would acknowledge. There are a number of factors for this and recruitment is currently being undertaken for vacant administrative posititions as was explained to you. However the reporting is undertaken by Radiology Consultants and we are in the process of implementing timescales for reporting to ensure we have defined standards which are adhered to. I think that I have identified that your xray was undertaken on 17 April and in relation to the number of working days for reporting available (the easter bank holidays having been directly after your xray was undertaken) it was not unreasonable for the result not to have been available when you made your initial enquiry on 28 April. I am very sorry that when you contacted the PALS service to raise your concern about the delay to your diagnosis the response was not more empathetic and helpful as would be expected of the service and you were made to feel that your concern was not valid. the matter has been discussed with the member of staff concerned. As the PALS manager I personally spoke to the radiology manager about this incident and can confirm that your xray result was faxed to your GP on 1 May. I hope that was helpful in assisting the diagnosis of your symptoms.

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