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Ultrasound waiting times reduce

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Wait times for ultrasounds in the MidCentral district have dropped significantly over the past year, to the point where only 36 people are waiting more than two months for a scan.

​The improvement comes on the back of wait times that exceeded six months for 359 patients in January 2014. Significant work has been undertaken to ensure that scans are performed in a more timely manner.

The addition of a full-time sonographer in July 2014 along with the lease of another ultrasound machine has greatly increased capacity, meaning more people can be seen. The sonographers themselves have assisted the increase in capacity, with some increasing working hours, and agreeing to work on Saturdays. The increased use of an ultrasound machine in Dannevirke, mostly for Tararua patients, has also helped get more patients seen promptly. In addition to these steps, obstetric and gynaecological specialists have been supporting the medical imaging department, when available, with the imaging of women.

Along with the increase in capacity, it was also important to ensure that patients still needed to be seen, so those who had been waiting for more than four months were contacted to see if they still required a scan. Those that did, remained on the wait list, and experienced the final initiative, which was a reduction in Did Not Attends (DNAs).
If a patient does not turn up for a scan, then that’s an opportunity another patient could have had to have an ultrasound. To help combat this, email confirmation was added to the ways of confirming an appointment, and if no confirmation was received then appointments were double-booked. If the patient didn’t turn up, then someone is there to take their spot, and if they do turn up without confirming they can usually be slipped into the schedule.

Nicholas Glubb, Operations Director Specialist Community and Regional Services said: “This has been a big turnaround for the waiting list; it gives referrers and patients much greater certainty of access to this important diagnostic and has made it much more satisfying for all the staff involved.  The medical imaging team is to be commended for the work they put in to make it happen.”

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