"Being asked if I might be pregnant despite my age."

About: Norwich Community Hospital

I am in my late sixties and I was astonished when a nurse in Foot Surgery who was about to give me an x-ray asked if I might be pregnant. When I said that the question was ridiculous she told me that she had to ask anyway. I later clarified this with a podiatrist who said that all females of age eight years and upwards had to be asked if they might be pregnant because it was a yes/no tickbox answer. She said that even if I were eighty I would have to be asked. And a nurse on a further visit told me that if a patient’s notes said that she had had a hysterectomy she would still have to be asked. I was told by one rather embarrassed nurse at the that the rationale behind this policy is that ‘nowadays anything is possible’. This, she told me, is the word coming down from on high. If this is really the case, then there are some very unscientific people in charge at and this in itself should be cause for concern When I mentioned this policy to a radiologist at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital she was as astonished as I was. She said that the N & N’s policy was to only ask females aged between twelve and fifty-five if they might be pregnant. She thought that at some time in the future they might have to slightly lower the age limit but she said there were absolutely no plans to raise it. So, within a few miles of each other we have two hospitals with completely different policies relating to x-rays and pregnancy. The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital has a perfectly sensible policy which can be justified in terms of evidence. The Norwich Community Hospital, meanwhile, has a policy which irritates patients, embarrasses nurses and does not make any sense at all. Is it not time that this was looked at?

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Response from Norwich Community Hospital

Thank you for your comments in response to a recent visit to Foot Surgery at Norwich Community Hospital and sorry that you feel that the question about pregnancy prior to an x-ray was inappropriate. We will ensure these comments are forwarded to the relevant service so that they can review. If you would like to discuss this further please don't hesitate to contact us on our Patient Advice and Liasion Service (PALS) 0800 0884449, pals@nchc.nhs.uk

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