"No introductions in the X-Ray department"

About: Lincoln County Hospital / X-ray and Scans

(as the patient),

In Sept, I was referred for an kidney and bladder ultrasound at Lincoln County. In the letter I was told I needed to drink a large volume of water prior to the scan. I arrived slightly early so I could drink the remainder of my water and checked in on the screen.

My appointment time came and went and the burning sensation of a full bladder grew stronger, made worse by the fact I was suffering from a UTI. I approached the reception and asked how much longer I would need to wait as I was agony. The person demanded to know my NHS number, which I didn't know of the top of my head and demanded to see my letter, which I didn't have with me. They huffed, visibly irritated at having to search the system manually. I was told that it probably wouldn't be long, but wasn't sure. At no point did they make an effort to establish how long the wait would be in what was an empty department.

30 minutes late, my name was called and I was directed to follow a staff member. They didn't introduce themselves and didn't say a word until we got to a darkened room. In the corner was a person hunched over a computer, who looked over their shoulder but never spoke. I was told to lay on the couch and drop my trousers and pants for the scan. I'm not in the habit of taking off my trousers in front of two strangers and I challenged them asking them who they were. I expressed that I didn't think it was acceptable that they hadn't introduced themselves and how I was made to feel after being led into a darkened room. I even mentioned #hellomynameis. The staff's response was to flee the room at speed.

The Dr introduced himself and apologised that that the other staff member had not done so. He explained the procedure, though I suspect only because I had drawn attention to the lack of explanations. I left the room after the scan noting that at no point were my demographics checked by either member of staff. A rubbish experience all round.

I had the misfortune to have to have a repeat scan on a Sunday in January. I'm happy to report the scanning was undertaken on time. However, I was again called through by the same staff member without an introduction and led into a room. Again a Dr hunched over the computer. Thankfully though he did introduce himself as a locum sonographer. I asked him after the scan if my kidney swelling had reduced, but he said he couldn't tell. Slightly unnerving that he couldn't tell.

When your scared and in agony, the little things of introducing yourself, being led into a light room and having the lights turned off once your inside all make a difference. I hope not to have to return for another ultrasound any time in the future.

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Response from United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust

Dear LincolnLad,

In the first instance I would like to thank you for bring this to my attention. I appreciate that you will not have done this lightly and offer my sincere apologies for the treatment you experienced whilst in the ultrasound department.

I am extremely sorry for the manner in which my staff made you feel, this is something I feel very passionate about and we pride ourselves on our compassion. I fully appreciate that entering into a darkened room can feel daunting and the exclusion of a simple introduction was rude and discourteous. On this occasion I would like to invite you to contact the PALS team (information below) so that I am able to give this matter the full attention I feel it deserves. Unfortunately without additional information from yourself I am unable to do this.

Genuinely listening to patients experiences of care is extremely important and learning where we could have done better is a corner stone to our journey of continuous improvement.

I hope that you can see that I have taken the concerns seriously and would like to investigate this further. As an organisation we are committed to being open and transparent. I would like to once again apologise for your experience and give you my assurance that we have taken your concerns on board.

Please do not hesitate to get back in touch with our PALS team on 01522 512512, or via e-mail at PALS@ulh.nhs.uk.

Please be assured that we are committed to doing all we can to help resolve your concerns.

Sarah Clapham

Site Lead Supt Sonographer