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Providing ultrasound will cost thousands
A PATIENT has won his battle with hospital bosses to be given a copy of an ultrasound scan of his heart.
Andrew Brown, of St John’s, Worcester, asked for a copy of a cardiac ultrasound echiocardiogram that was carried out in January 2004 at Worcestershire Royal Hospital.
Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust provided Mr Brown with a written copy of the results but told him that the data was stored in a different format to that now used by the trust and that it did not have the technology to convert it.
As we reported, the trust told Mr Brown it would happily arrange for the correct computer drive to be purchased – but that he would have to foot the bill of more than £2,000 himself.
But during a recent meeting, Mr Brown, age 50, was informed that the acute trust now plans to rent specialist software to try and retrieve his scan.
This will cost £1,400 and the trust will spend a further £2,000 paying an engineer to come in and train a staff member to use the equipment.
As well as trying to locate Mr Brown’s scan, the trust will investigate the possibility of archiving other scans previously thought inaccessible.
The trust has previously said that as many as 270,000 other patient records could be similarly affected – although it receives very few requests to access the old images and is not aware of any “detrimental issues” from the situation.
However, Mr Brown maintains that continued access to archived images can be important for both clinicians and pat-ients and has sought ad-vice on best practice from facilities, including leading heart centre Papworth Hospital, to back up his beliefs.
He believes it is this research of national practices that has made Worcestershire Acute Trust “pull out all the stops” to provide his ultrasound.
“A possible 270,000 patient records is an awesome and disturbing figure and I think such a situation is something of public importance,” he said.
A spokesman for Worcestershire Acute Trust confirmed it has now re-considered Mr Brown’s request.
“We are now attempting to access his 2004 scan,” they said. “However, the technology it is stored on is obsolete and there is no guarantee that we will be able to recover the scan. We will not be charging him for his scan.”
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