Access to ultrasound services continues to improve and wait times for all types of ultrasounds are expected to be within the recommended targets early in the new year, says Minister of Health and Wellness Doug Currie.
“Ultrasound is a very important diagnostic service and improving access to this service has been a priority for us over the past few months,” said Minister Currie. “We are now very close to meeting provincial wait time targets for ultrasounds and we expect to be well within them once staff and radiologists are back in full force following the Christmas period.”
Theresa Callaghan, provincial director of diagnostic imaging said 2015 has been a challenging year for ultrasound staff who were faced with an unusually high number of temporary staff leaves. “Through a very concerted and collaborative effort by staff and physicians, we were able to meet the standard wait time for all urgent and obstetrical patients throughout the year,” she said. “And very soon we will be meeting the targeted wait time for all Islanders requiring ultrasound scans.”
Since June of this year, three new ultrasound sonographers were hired, two of which were through return in service agreements with Island students. Another two contract sonographers were engaged for eight weeks during the summer. The provincial service will soon be back to its full complement of 10 sonographers when staff members return from maternity leave in December and February.
Typically, there are approximately 8,000 ultrasounds done each year at the QEH and PCH.