"People deserve to be treated with more dignity."

About: Ninewells Hospital / Xrays and scans

(as a relative),

I was at the X-Ray department yesterday with my brother. He was the one getting a scan and I was only there for support. The staff were lovely and the whole process was pretty slick. What wasn't good was how these poor people were treated. Each patient arrived and was ushered into a little cupboard and asked to dress in a flimsy nighty type garment but leave their shoes, socks and underwear on. They were given a bag for their garments and then ushered to a seat carrying their possessions in their little bag. These are grown men and women who are no doubt worried sick about going for their scan. I felt they were being treated in the demeaning manner. Surely something could be done to treat these patient with more dignity and be given more privacy. I would ask that someone looks at the process and makes changes to improve things. These are worried sick people and deserve better handling.

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Response from Alison Moss, Feedback Manager, NHS Tayside

Thank you very much for your comments and we will certainly pass on the praise you gave to the staff about how they worked with your brother. You are right about the changing cubicles looking like a cupboard, they are small and quite basic. The area was planned to provide a larger open area for multiple patients to sit without the feeling of being cramped as many patients have to wait for up to an hour during preparation time prior to scan.

The point about changing patients down to underwear and the gown is unfortunately necessary; as this is a radiation examination we cannot allow any possibility of the patient inadvertently having any metal on them, and possibly this was not fully explained. Any patient attending for a CT or even x-ray from neck to thigh is asked to change into a gown partly so that there is no metal, coins, buttons or jewellery as they can cause artefacts or streaks on the scan that can make the scan undiagnostic, and we cannot repeat a CT for this reason due to the additional radiation dose to that patient. The second reason is that most patients will also need an injection of an x-ray contrast dye and this is not always known until the initial scan has taken place, for this we need easy access to the upper arms.

Our patient information leaflet is due to be reviewed and the staff group had already requested an additional statement asking patients to bring in their own dressing gowns for reasons of dignity. Following your feedback we will expedite this change.

We have also carried out quite a bit of work on patient experience within our ultrasound department, where we use no radiation and the radiographer / sonographer is with the patient throughout the scan; in certain circumstances we no longer ask patients to get changed, for the reason of patient dignity, and the patient information leaflets now fully explain this change.

Once again, thank you for taking the time to share your feedback on Patient Opinion.

Kind regards.

Alison Moss

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