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Hospital scan delay for mothers; Pregnant women face 23rd week wait for ultrasound Hospital says clinical care not affected.


HUNDREDS of expectant mothers in Merseyside have had their pregnancy scans delayed.

Approximately 260 women have had to rearrange their appointments at Liverpool Women's Hospital.

Many were due for a 20 week scan which tests for abnormalities in the foetus, but they will now have to wait until 23 weeks - just one week before the legal limit for ter minations.

The Trust says the move has had no impact on clinical care, and that all women will still have two scans as recommended.

But some patients are unhappy with the changes.

The hospital has replaced a private provider of sonography services, which covers ultrasound scans.

The provider helps sonographers employed by the Trust and the backlog is the result of a transitional period between two companies. The Trust says there has been no gap in provision. But one Liverpool expectant mother, who did not wish to be named, said: "I am pregnant and so is my sister. "We have been told there are hardly any sonographers available because of a change in provider and that scans are being delayed. "They have told me I will be waiting until 23weeks for my next scan, which worries me because that is the scan that checks for abnormalities. "You can only get a termination up to 24weeks so it doesn't give women very much time to consider their options, it is a traumatic decision to make enough as it is, which you do not want to rush.

" The hospital's imaging department carries out 26,000 scans per year. A hospital spokeswoman said: "Unfortunately we have had to rearrange appointments for approximately 260women. "LiverpoolWomen's have recently undertaken a tender process to appoint a company to support the Trust in its provision of ultrasound scanning. "The successful company will work alongside our own staff to provide diagnostic scans for maternity, gynaecology and neonates. "In planning for this transition, the Trust has taken steps to minimise the impact on patients. "However, it has meant that a small number of patients who would have expected to have a scan at 20weeks of pregnancy will have their scan at 23 weeks . "It has also meant that women who are 12weeks pregnant would only have one scan by this stage of their pregnancy. "The Trust is currently in the process of making appointments for a small number of gynaecology patients who are waiting for scans and our own staff are working extended hours to provide these.

"The Trust would like to reassure patients that clinical care is not affected in any way and where clinically indicated women will receive scans as necessary." Pregnant women normally have ultrasound scans at 10-12 weeks and at 20weeks. The first confirms and dates the pregnancy, and the second checks for abnormalities and monitors growth. Some women are scanned earlier, at around six to eight weeks. Patients at LiverpoolWomen's who have had a scan before 10 weeks will not have another until the 20-23week period.

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Liverpool Women's hospital The Trust is making appointments for patients who are waiting for scans
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Aug 6, 2009
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