DI backlog worsened by dozens of missed appointments
May 17, 2023
CHARLOTTETOWN – Health P.E.I. is pleading with Islanders to let them know if they can’t make it to diagnostic imaging appointments, especially if it’s a CT scan. In April Islanders missed 214 diagnostic imaging appointments, 53 of those being for CT scans.
“Every appointment that’s missed is a missed opportunity for someone else to get in,” Gailyne MacPherson (pictured), provincial director of Diagnostic Imaging, told CBC.
“Please, please, please, call us and let us know if you’re not coming.”
The province is far behind on CT scans, with an average wait of 99 weeks, or about two years, for non-urgent imaging. The target wait time is eight weeks.
Most of the increase in April was from missed CT appointments, which MacPherson said suggests to her part of the trouble may be a change in CT appointment timing.
Starting April 3 Health P.E.I. added staff to operate its CT machines longer and catch up with the backlog. It is now running the machines both at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown and Prince County Hospital in Summerside 16 hours a day during the week and eight hours a day on weekends.
This may be leading to some confusion about appointment times, she said.
“If you get an appointment for 10 p.m., it actually is at 10 p.m.,” she said.
Despite the trouble caused by people missing appointments, Health P.E.I. is not considering charging people, said MacPherson.
“It’s a lot of work for I don’t know how much reward,” she said.
“It takes a whole bunch of infrastructure to do that. Someone’s got to do the work, there’s got to be a clerical person tracking it.”
Systems that text people reminders about diagnostic imaging appointments aren’t currently happening for CT appointments, but MacPherson said Health PEI and Skip the Waiting Room are working to change that. She is hopeful, once that’s in place, fewer CT appointments will be missed.