"Poor service in x-ray department"

About: Tameside General Hospital

(as a relative),

My mum is almost 86 with very poor mobility and dementia. She recently underwent an operation to remove a small tumour from inside her bladder and was told she would need a follow up appointment. As she suffers from dementia and forgets things, all her mail is sent via me and in Mid April I received a letter from the X-ray department at Tameside General Hospital for her to attend for ultrasound x-ray exactly 7 days before I even received the letter. The letter was dated late March. I tried on numerous occasions to telephone the department to tell them what had happened, The phone rang and rang but eventually on the fourth time I called, someone did pick it up and they said we would get another appointment.

Nothing came by post but this weekend when I visited my mum she asked if I would be able to take her for an x-ray appointment on Wednesday at 10. 30 am. She had written notes with the details including the fact that she must drink one pint of water an hour before her appointment. My mum hadn't imagined this appointment or she wouldn't have had the notes with times etc but given the absence of any paperwork on Monday and Tuesday I tried to ring the x-ray department to confirm it. I must have telephoned on six separate occasions at different times but no one ever picked up the phone.

As the appointment was at short notice we had no option but to turn up at the given time, my mum drank her pint of water and we waited. After some time my mum started to become increasingly uncomfortable as she was desperate for the toilet and it was now two hours since she had drunk the pint of water. I asked at the reception desk how long it would be and was told that they had no record of her appointment today. This we would have known if they had taken the trouble to answer the phone.

I went back to tell my mum by which time she had had an accident as she could wait no longer for the toilet. It was very embarrassing both for my mum and also for myself. I took my mum to the toilet and did my best to sort her out but her clothes were soaked and while we were in there they called her through for her scan as they had managed to fit her in. I explained to the nurse what had happened and she said that they couldn't do the scan without her having a full bladder so we then had to sit for a while so she could drink yet more water. The doctor and nurse who dealt with my mum for the scan were very nice but it was very degrading for my mum when she had to lie down for the scan and everything she was wearing was soaking wet. If only the reception had answered the phone, all this could have been avoided. My mum is very upset and embarrassed and I am very angry.

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Response from John Goodenough, Director of Nursing, Tameside Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Firstly can I apologise for a situation that clearly compromised the privacy and dignity of your mother.

I would like to be able to investigate the issues you have raised in more detail. Can I please urge you to contact the Complaints department on 0161 922 6025 in order that a full investigation and formal response to you is arranged.

Kind regards

Beverley Tabernacle

Deputy Director of Nursing

Would you like to help the hospital to improve its services further? We are currently looking for patients and carers to become involved in a development called “Patient Stories”. We want to know more about our services from the point of view of those who received them – what was good, bad, what could be improved, what should be changed. Want to know more about what’s involved? Please contact John Goodenough, Director of Nursing at


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