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Scanner problems for Norwich hospital

PUBLISHED: 11:14 06 May 2010 | UPDATED: 10:16 02 July 2010

A CT scanner

A CT scanner

Dan Grimmer

Bosses at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital have moved to reassure patients that technical problems with two scanners did not impact on patient care.

Dan Grimmer

Bosses at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital have moved to reassure patients that technical problems with two scanners did not impact on patient care.

During two to three days last month two of the hospital's CT scanners broke down at the same time - with both having been installed in the past four months.

Hospital bosses insist that anyone who needed an urgent scan during this time, on April 15 to April 17, was offered one on another machine at the Colney Centre.

However a Norwich woman, who wished to remain anonymous, said her father was unable to get an essential scan just days before he died.

She said: “My dad had a terminal illness but we were not expecting him to pass away when he did. He had an intestinal blockage and if he had been given the scan to show that we would have known he had very little time left.

“Instead he died alone and we did not get to spend the last few hours with him. We were told the scanners were not working and were not offered an alternative.

“It seems at weekends many services are not offered and that is unacceptable. I don't want this to happen to anyone else.”

The scanners cost £4m and were installed at the start of the year to provide “cutting edge” diagnostic services for patients at the N&N.

They replaced two machines which had been in service since the hospital opened in 2001. The machines pick up cancers and signs of heart disease that would only normally be detected by more invasive tests.

A hospital spokesman said hospital bosses had offered severe condolences to the family.

He said: “We did have a problem with two of our CT scanners but it did not have an impact on clinical care.

“The two scanners which were affected were new Siemens machines and their engineers had one of the scanners operational on Saturday April 17.

“The other scanner was functional again on April 19. Those patients who did urgently required a diagnostic CT scan received one.

“Our scanning service runs seven days a week and both radiographers (who undertake the diagnostic scans) and radiologists (the doctors who diagnose and report from the images) work throughout the week and during the weekend.

“We currently have two new diagnostic CT scanners at the N&N and a third new scanner is being installed at the moment. Work on the third CT scanner is due to be completed next month.”

Do you have a health story for the Evening News? Call Sarah Hall on 01603 772426 or email sarah.hall2@archant.co.uk

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