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"Echocardiagram appointment"

About: Lincoln County Hospital / Cardiology

(as the patient),

While I was an inpatient in the cardiac ward, having been admitted with a fast heart rate, I went for an echocardiogram. Unfortunately, as I am disabled, I need help to get onto the bed and also help in turning on to my left side. The technician could not help me owing to health and safety procedures! Having struggled on to the bed and turning over on to my left side my heart rate was going extremely fast so a successful echocardiogram was not achieved.

I then received an outpatient appt. for an echocardiogram. Before attending I telephoned the department to explain my problems. The Friday before I was due to attend I received a telephone call from a member of staff who assured me that there would be two technicians to help me. I duly arrived for my appt. and was taken to the examination room. As she was on her own I mentioned my telephone calls. To which she replied, "For health and safety reasons we cannot help. " Under duress she helped me with putting my legs on the bed, but said that the test could be done with me lying on my back. She put the machine on straight away, and commented that my heart was beating fast. I replied that I had just used a great deal of effort to get on the bed even with a little help so it was not surprising that my heart rate was fast.

At this moment I do not know if the result will be acceptable.

My worry for the future is that every time I attend for an echocardiogram the same will happen, and I will never get a correct result. This has a knock on effect as I cannot be placed on the waiting list for a knee replacement without a diagnosis.

There must be many elderly people who have difficulty getting around even without a disability - they also will never get a proper result. My husband is a paraplegic and I cannot walk very far so I also use a motorised wheelchair. Do I ask my husband to come into the examination room and from his wheelchair lift my legs on to the bed?

On the plus side I was seen on time.

I look for your comments, and let me know how I can overcome this difficulty as I am sure that I shall need more echocardiograms in the future - I am 72 years of age.


Response from United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust We are preparing to make a change

Dear Veronica,

We apologise that your experience with us was negative. The nature of the echocardiogram does require patients to be able to move in order for us to obtain optimum pictures, which in turn provides a full and accurate report to the referring Doctor. We appreciate that there will be patients who are less mobile and therefore not able to manoeuvre into positions to enable an optimum scan. However, our technicians are experienced in obtaining images and working with the patient to achieve this with minimal distress.

Technicians will assist when required but are not equipped with training or equipment to provide more support from a moving and handling perspective. We will discuss as a team how we can improve the service with regards to moving and handling and also the information given to patients when we are unable to support with this.

We apologise that you were told that there would be 2 technicians to support you at your appointment. Once we have agreed how we will improve this area of the service we will ensure that this is communicated to all staff to enable accurate and consistent advice to be given.

From the feedback you have given we do not have access to your details to fully look into your comments and to discuss with you how we can improve your experience in the future. If you would like to discuss this further, please contact the PALS service on 01522 707071 who will then pass your details on to us.

Many thanks,

Becky Maxwell

Operational Manager – Cardio Physiology

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