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Extra radiographers may be needed to get NHS Trust back on track with X-rays

Friday 25th November 2016
The Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust has been struggling with its radiography workload. Image: bobiwankanobi via iStock
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More radiographers may need to be brought in to help the Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust get back on track with its X-ray processing and waiting times, after a recent review revealed the Trust has fallen behind.

An unannounced visit from Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspectors in July 2016 led to the discovery that the Trust had a significant backlog of X-rays to work through, meaning the health of some patients was potentially being put at risk, as they weren't necessarily receiving vital diagnoses quickly. 

In some cases, patients were having to wait three weeks or more before a healthcare professional looked over their X-ray results, with the CQC deeming this unacceptable.

The inspection took place after a member of the public raised concerns about the quality of X-ray services being carried out at hospitals managed by the Trust, with the CQC subsequently finding that the Trust's backlog of unreported X-rays had reached 25,622 in total since 2013.

What's more, between January and July this year alone, the Worcestershire-based Trust ended up with more than 10,000 unreported X-rays in its backlog, indicating that it is in desperate need of more radiographers and radiology experts to help it to get through this workload.

However, standards have begun to improve since the summer inspection, with the backlog now cleared and Trust bosses apologising for any distress caused to patients and their loved ones. In order to prevent a similar situation from arising again, the Trust may wish to draft in additional radiographers to cope with increased demand for X-rays and other forms of screening in the future.

Responding to the report's findings, a spokesperson for the Trust commented: "Our processes have been reviewed and strengthened, radiographer staffing levels are improved and we are now working to a standard of reporting all urgent X-rays within two days and all other 'routine' X-rays within two weeks."

Written by Megan Smith

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