New Kent hospital X-ray system causes patient delays

Patients awaiting X-ray and scan results across Kent have experienced severe delays because of problems with a new radiology computer system.

Simon Moores, of Thanet, told BBC Radio Kent "teething problems" meant he had waited four weeks for hip scan results.

East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust said there had been difficulties booking people in for X-rays and accessing scan reports.

The trust said it was addressing the delays.

It started using the new system, which is being provided to Kent and Medway trusts by GE Healthcare, last week - two weeks later than planned.

'Very stressing time'

Mr Moores said he became aware of the problems after speaking to the surgery and his GP.

"I understand there has been a hold up as a consequence of teething problems, in inverted commas, with the new scanning system," he said.

"They believe they have many, many X-rays backed up and of course they're all waiting for their results."

Another patient, who did not want to be named, said: "I still haven't had an appointment through. I've phoned the department a few times and I've been told 'We've just got no computers'.

"This is a very, very stressing time for me and my family and ultimately we just want to know what we're dealing with and how it can be dealt with."

Stuart Bain, chief executive of the East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust, said he was having daily meetings with representatives from GE Healthcare to address the issues.

'Full operation'

He added: "The digital imaging part of the system has gone very well but the GE system has failed to provide an effective information system, the Radiological Information System.

"That has meant we've had huge difficulties in electronically booking patients in for their appointments or scans and similar difficulty in producing the electronic reports when our specialists report on what they see on those scans.

"We're working around that. We've had staff across Kent and Medway working very long hours to ensure that wherever possible patients' reports are not delayed and in particular any urgent reports, for example for cancer patients, are reported and acted upon."

In a statement, GE Healthcare said the installation of the new systems were "large and complex" and there had been "some teething issues".

"The system is now in full operation and we are working very closely with the trusts to improve performance as soon as possible," it added.

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