One year wait for MRIs

Wait times for routine MRI scans have blown out to 52 weeks at Dunedin Hospital in the wake of months of rolling strike action.

Radiographers this week cancelled a planned 48-hour strike to resume negotiation with District Health Boards New Zealand in an effort to find a solution to the impasse over pay and conditions.

Southern District Health Board (Otago) diagnostic and support services general manager Sonja Dillon said, at the end of last month, MRI wait time was 52 weeks for non-urgent scans, compared with 36 weeks at the end of September and 25 weeks at the end of October 2009.

The target is 16 weeks.

The wait time for CT scans was 23 weeks, as it was at the end of September, which was the highest since March 2008.

The target is 12 weeks.

Ms Dillon was pleased with staff who worked hard to reschedule radiology and breast screening appointments at short notice after the 48-hour strike due to start yesterday was lifted late on Monday afternoon.

"This was achieved thanks to a significant effort by the administration teams in radiology and breast screening."

Details of the effect on mammography were not yet available.

Last month, the board said strike action had delayed nearly 1000 routine screenings in Otago and Southland.

In yesterday's Otago Daily Times, Southern DHB chief executive Brian Rousseau criticised the radiographers' union, Apex, as out of touch with reality, and holding patients to ransom.

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