"Mammogram Experience"

About: Aberdeen Royal Infirmary / Breast Services

(as a service user),

I recently attended a follow-on mammogram appointment at the ARI (Inpatient facility rather than at the Breast Screening Centre). I had re-arranged the appointment directly on the phone. On arrival, I was informed that there was no appointment and that it had been cancelled due to the return of appointment letters as undelivered. This was nothing to do with mine or the hospital’s actions.

A big “Thank You” to the reception staff and the medical staff for being helpful, understanding and flexible enough to fit me in at the time. Follow on appointments can be stressful enough without such extras!

Whereas I am grateful for access to these scans and checks, I am not always enamoured by the manner of delivery. I found the person undertaking the mammogram to be robotic, as if she could not stray into any conversation out with a set procedural script.

 I do realise that it may become repetitive for staff undertaking these procedures. I am not expecting people to engage in lots of conversation during such appointments or even show any empathy to the feelings that these follow on appointments may raise. However, I don’t think it too much to expect a greeting even if it with just “hello” before going into “automatic” mode. I do expect staff not to assume that we can all just move and bend when they say and touch us. I did explain that I just needed a bit of time to adjust due to disc/pain difficulty, which seemed to fall on deaf ears.

I have perhaps had 8 mammograms so far. They are not the most comfortable of procedures. This one was the most uncomfortable and painful ever.


Response from Margaret Meredith, Nurse Manager, Womens Services, NHS Grampian

H Herceptinite

Thank you for sharing your recent experience at the In-patient Mammography Unit. I am glad to hear that the receptionist staff and medical team facilitated your mammogram procedure when your clinic appointment had been cancelled, through no fault of their own. I will share your thanks with the team.

I am disappointed to hear that the radiographer appeared 'robotic' and did not engage in conversation to make you feel at ease or take time to position you as comfortably as possible considering the procedure.

I have discussed your feedback with the advanced practitioner in the department. She plans to share your experience at the next staff meeting, to encourage discussion and reflection on why you left the department feeling this way. The aim of this learning exercise with all staff will be to ensure their approach is empathetic and this situation does not happen again to other women.

Kind Regards,

Margaret Meredith

Nurse Manager

  • {{helpful}} {{helpful == 1 ? "person thinks" : "people think"}} this response is helpful

Update posted by Herceptinite (a service user)

Hello Margaret Meredith,

Thank you for your helpful response. I am glad that my experience will be shared at a team meeting. I hope the person is present and takes it on board, as well as it being a useful reflection for other staff.

I think too often we are grateful for the services we have access to that we just brush off any negative experiences. I think it important that Services hear both the good and the not so good.