An investigation is underway after revelations almost 50,000 x-rays taken at public hospitals on the Gold Coast have not been properly checked.
Almost 50,000 X-rays taken at public hospitals on the Gold Coast have not been properly checked.
The Gold Coast Hospitals and Health Service had been trying to reduce the backlog at the Gold Coast and Robina hospitals for the last six months, but its board didn’t realise the magnitude of the problem until last Thursday.
The 48,000 X-rays, taken since 2013, had been examined by radiographers and treating specialists, but not specialist radiologists as required.
While there is a low risk for the patients concerned, the health service says, at least two have suffered adverse effects as a result of the failure.
The board’s patient safety spokeswoman Colette McCool said about 22,000 X-rays have been earmarked for priority review.
“In having the films reviewed by a specialist radiologist, what we are looking for is any secondary diagnoses that might be evident to an image reading expert,” she said.
“A secondary diagnosis might be missing a secondary fracture or perhaps an enlarged heart.”
The board’s chief executive Ron Calvert said previous efforts to fix the problem had failed.
“Our efforts to remedy the situation have stumbled. We make mistakes. It happens. Our job is to make sure when we make these mistakes we are open and transparent about it and we learn from it and improve,” he said.
Mr Calvert said any patients found to have secondary problems would be contacted.
An allocation of $1.4 million in additional funds has been made to specifically address the issue.
Health minister Lawrence Springborg ordered an immediate investigation into the lapse.
Mr Springborg said he’d been advised the problem was isolated to the Gold Coast, but the inquiry would look at checking procedures across the state.
He said external checks would be carried out, at least in the short to medium term, to make sure all X-rays taken at the Gold Coast University and Robina hospitals are properly checked.
“Delays and backlogs in this system cannot be permitted,” he said.