26 June 2018
Hospitals are reporting a surge in the number of people waiting for the results of their X-rays or MRI scans. The number of radiology examinations carried out in England has risen by 42% in the last 10 years and the biggest percentage increase is in MRI and CT scans.
Radiology has a central role in tackling cancer, disease and illness. The Care Quality Commission is currently carrying out a national review of the backlog in unreported scans, following concerns about failures to report results and the amount of “auto-reported” results where scans are sent directly to clinicians without being reviewed by a radiologist.
Imaging Manager Alan Rout, from Spire Cambridge Lea Hospital explains more:
“There is no doubt we are witnessing more people wanting to pay for their scans and get them faster. There has been a substantial increase in demand in the last few years in the Cambridgeshire area. It is vital scans are reported promptly to ensure there are no delays in potential diagnosis.”
Top tips on how to get a scan fast at Spire Cambridge Lea Hospital:
- How to access private scans - patients simply need a referral letter from their GP or consultant. We offer a walk in service from 9am to 4.30 pm for insured and self-funding patients needing plain film X-rays. For MRI scans there is an average wait of four to six working days.
- How to fund the scans – People can fund their scans themselves as and when they need them and then return to the NHS for the remainder of their treatment or continue at Spire Cambridge Lea Hospital. We advise they check with their NHS doctor first. Some insurance companies will also accept referrals from a GP, but again please check with them first.
- Results - All scans are interpreted by a consultant radiologist at the Spire Cambridge Lea Hospital. Results made available within two to five working days on average, dependent on the type of scan that we are undertaking. Results are always sent to the referrer so the patient can be counselled on the contents. We never use any ‘Auto-reporting’ systems and only have consultant level doctors reviewing the scans.
- Access to specialist radiologists – At Spire Cambridge Lea Hospital we have 25 Consultant Radiologists, covering specialist areas such as, musculoskeletal, gastrointestinal, urology, neurology, gynaecology and breast.
What to expect if you or your child is having an MRI scan
People are often apprehensive by the prospect of visiting a hospital, let alone having to have a scan. Imaging Manager Alan Rout takes us through the procedure:
“The first part of the process for us is to make sure you are safe. One of our MRI radiographers will go through a quick questionnaire and ensure that you have no loose pieces of metal on you or are not contraindicated to scan eg have a pacemaker or are pregnant.
"Next is to make sure you are comfortable. While the scanner is open at both ends and is light and airy, we understand it can be a daunting place to be as it is fairly noisy. To help you relax we can provide headphones for most types of scans where you can listen to your favourite music or something from our selection.
"Then it’s time for the scan itself, this can take from 15 minutes up to an hour depending on the body area. But we always brake this down into smaller sections lasting no longer than five minutes.
Once the scan is complete one of our Consultant Radiologist will study the scan and a report will be issued to your GP or referring consultant.”