Broken scanner sees woman wait three months for bowel cancer appointment

West Suffolk Hospital entrance sign

A patient at West Suffolk Hospital had her CT scans for suspected bowel cancer cancelled three times. - Credit: PA

A 75-year-old woman has been waiting around three months for a bowel cancer scan after a hospital machine broke.

Mrs Stanton, who is from Bury St Edmunds and did not want her first name included in this article, has had three CT scan appointments cancelled by West Suffolk Hospital because of the problem.

She said: "It's disgusting that I've been pushed back and cancelled so many times."

A spokesman for West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust said it had been a "difficult decision" to postpone 415 patients' appointments while the CT scanner was repaired.

Of these 415 postponed appointments, 327 have now had their scan, 43 have an appointment booked and 45 are still awaiting an appointment date.

Mrs Stanton's problems first arose in February when she was sent for tests to investigate her unexplained tiredness.

She then attended a medical appointment to discuss her test results on Monday, March 7, where her GP explained that fatigue and blood in her stool sample could be symptoms of bowel cancer.

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Mrs Stanton originally booked a CT scan at West Suffolk Hospital for Friday, April 22, but the appointment was later cancelled and rebooked for Monday, May 16.

Again, the rescheduled date was cancelled and a new slot was booked for Sunday, May 29.

This final date was also abandoned and a new date has not been booked.

The NHS spokesman said: "Due to one of the Trust's CT scanners having to undergo repair, we have had to make the difficult decision, in some circumstances, to rearrange appointments for some patients.

"We want to apologise to anyone who has been affected by this and we want to assure them that we are doing all we can to treat patients as quickly as possible."

Mrs Stanton's daughter, Victoria Driver said her mother is more worried about the impact cancelled scans may have on others: "It's the young people who are anxious to receive their test results that really upsets her. 

"We're told that every minute counts and you need to catch it early, but half our problem is not knowing and not getting anywhere."

She added: "With so much in the headlines about Dame Deborah James and her Bowel Babe Fund, you'd think this would be taken seriously."

West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust bosses said they were in the process of replacing the scanner and is also offering extended clinics to increase the number of patients who can be seen.