Three-week waiting time for urgent CT scans

Patients are waiting three weeks for "urgent" computerised tomography (CT) scans at Dunedin Hospital - a week more than the target of two weeks.

However, waiting an extra week for an urgent CT scan should not adversely affect the patient, radiology clinical leader Dr Ben Wilson said through a spokesman.

Waiting times for urgent scans were released to the Otago Daily Times under the Official Information Act.

Patients needing urgent abdomen/pelvis ultrasound checks were waiting three to six weeks for scans that should be done within two.

As of October 11, 61 patients were waiting for an urgent CT scan, and nine for urgent abdomen/pelvis ultrasound scans.

This month, the Southern District Health Board's hospital advisory committee was told patients were waiting 20 weeks, rather than 12, for routine CT scans at Dunedin. Usually, the committee is not advised about urgent scans, but this month some were over target.

In a written statement, Dr Wilson said there was no formal definition of urgency.

"Generally, waiting three weeks rather than two weeks will have little impact on outcomes ... but if the referrer is concerned at the waiting time then they contact the radiology team to provide clinical reasons for the time-frame to be reduced."

The hospital committee was this month advised routine CT scan patients were being scanned at Southland and Oamaru hospitals, to help clear the backlog.

A review of Otago-Southland radiology services is planned, but has been delayed because of a lack of success recruiting a programme manager.


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