"MRI scan review"

About: East Surrey Hospital

I had my first MRI scan on Wednesday 13th April 2016. One of the questions on the form was 'Have you had an operation in the last 8 weeks'. My answer to this was yes as 6 weeks ago following surgery for breast cancer I had an operation to remove my lymph nodes. I mentioned this to the representative who took me into the MRI area but they didn't seem bothered by it.

I had my friend with me who I wanted to come in to the room with me. I was asked to remove all metal and went into the room. I was very glad a friend who previously had a MRI suggested bringing a CD and taking an eye mask- its so bright an eye mask should be automatically offered i think. I was told I had to put my arms up behind my head for the scan, I asked if this was essential as would be painful after my lymph-node operation and was told it would be. I just assumed my arms would be laying next to my body.

Note : If someone had had their lymph nodes removed this is a very painful position for your arms to be in for 40 minutes.

My friend was left outside the room and had to ask a few times about going in with me- she was told she had to fill in a form and remove all metal, no problem. But was still just left standing there and had to ask and practically insist about being allowed in!

I could not hear the CD at all - the noises were so loud from the machine. When i asked how long was left via the headphones, I was told 5 minutes. OK I thought, I can do 5 more minutes even though it was very uncomfortable and loud. After much longer than 5 minutes I asked how long was left and was told 7 minutes - I was confused ! I thought you said 5 minutes i said - I was told it was 5 minutes to go for the spinal scan and 7 minutes now for the lumbar scan! I would much rather, when I asked, have been told the exact length of time i had left rather than being lied to. This was very frustrating.

At then end of the scan I said my arm was really hurting and a comment was made that at least it took away the focus from the noises!! My arm was not hurting just because of the position it was in but because I had my lymph nodes removed which makes this position very painful and because it had then been stuck unable to move in this position for 40 minutes. More notice needs to be taken if people are having and MRI and they say they've had their lymph-nodes removed.

I was also told the scan would be 20 mins and at the end was 20 minutes. This was wrong and was 40 minutes, again please just tell me the truth!

In addition after the scan i went to get changed and my friend spoke to a man who was in the waiting area. He asked how the scan was and she said It was my friend who had the MRI scan, I just went in with my friend. The man said he wished he had known that he could have gone in with his wife as she was very anxious about having the MRI scan done. I feel its not hard to offer for someone to go in with the person having the MRI scan. A lack of compassion was shown for this man waiting.

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Response from Cathy White, Patient Experience Lead, Patient Experience Team, Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust

Dear Becky,

I am sorry to hear that you did not feel that your recent scan went as well as you would have liked. You make some very interesting observations and suggestions and we would like to have the opportunity of speaking to you in greater detail about both these and about your personal experience.

Could you please contact Mark Harrison, our deputy MRI Manager who will be able to look into your appointment, review what happened and see how we can improve. Mark's email is: Mark.Harrison@sash.nhs.uk

Kind regards,

Cathy White

Patient experience team

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Response from Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust We have made a change

Dear Becky,

I wanted to let you know that we have looked into the issues you have raised in your review and have used it as an opportunity to learn from your experience. We have re-iterated to team members that relatives or friends are allowed into the scanning room with children or patients who are particularly anxious about the procedure, provided that safety procedures are applied.

The staff member should have given greater consideration to your recent surgery when positioning you in the scanner and adapted the position of your arms. I was disappointed to read how there was a lack of empathy and that you felt your repeated pleas regarding the discomfort you were experiencing were not responded to. Again, I have made sure that all the team are aware that a different position is possible and how important it is to give due regard to the concerns raised by patients. We have also re-iterated the need to give accurate information about the whole length of time left for the scan, not just for one particular part.

Unfortunately the MRI scanning process is noisy. The headphones are provided primarily to protect your hearing from this noise, as well as a way to communicate. A music system is attached to it, but if music is soft it may not be heard well. I have checked the headphones and agree that they could be better, so I have ordered a new set.

Please accept my sincere and unreserved apologies for the distress caused during your recent visit to us. I have shared your review with the whole team so they can all learn from your experience. Do please contact myself if you wish to discuss your concerns in greater detail. I can be contacted via email on: june.milliams@sash.nhs.uk

Kind regards,

June Milliams

MRI Superintendent Radiographer