‘Unacceptable delays’ in x-ray and mammogram results raised by councillor

Cllr Paul Maguire. INBT 22-151JC
Cllr Paul Maguire. INBT 22-151JC

Mid & East Antrim Council’s Chief Executive has been asked to raise claims of delays in reporting times on mammograms and x-rays with the Stormont Health Minister.

The call has come from Cllr. Paul Maguire who says he has been made aware of what he terms as ‘unacceptable delays’ in the process.

The Independent Councillor said: “Two of my constituents have contacted me, having already waited up to three weeks for the result of a Mammogram (breast scan,) or X-Ray.

“In the first case, a woman who had been diagnosed with breast cancer following her annual scan 12 months ago, has already waited three weeks for the result of a recent scan.

“When she contacted her GP and subsequently the hospital, she was told that protocol meant that two Radiologists needed to sign off on the scans, that two hadn’t yet managed to get together, and to call back in a week.”

Cllr. Maguire said such delays caused torment to the patient and their family.

“Any woman and her spouse, partner or family, awaiting the result of a Mammogram, know how anxious the wait is.

“But for someone who has already had breast cancer and a full Mastectomy, (breast removed,) to have to wait for over three weeks, is cruel.

Early diagnosis was critical in saving the patient 12 months ago, God forbid that the delay in reporting has any adverse consequence this time around,” he said.

Turning to the x-ray reporting process, Mr. Maguire said he was determined to find out what was holding up results.

“In another case reported to me, a gentleman was referred by his GP to the X-Ray Dept because of suspected arthritis. Despite the GP Practice and X-Ray occupying the same building, almost three weeks later, the results haven’t managed to get from one to the other.

“The health professionals at Antrim Area Hospital and Ballymena Health & Care Centre are second to none. Their dedication and diligence is unquestionable.

“However, there is some reason for the unacceptable delays in reporting on Mammograms and X-Rays, and the consequences of late diagnosis can be critical.

“I have asked MEA’s Chief Executive, Anne Donaghy, to write to The Health Minister, asking for these delays to be investigated and remedied, as a matter of urgency, before lives are lost.”