health care in edinburgh: part 2

About a week and a half ago, I had x-rays of my vertebral column taken. In order to get the x-rays, I had to get a referral from my GP in Scotland, whom I showed a referral from my surgeons in the States. I had to take the GP referral to the Radiology Department at Chalmer’s Hospital, about a ten-minute walk from the University Health Centre.

I was able to get x-rays taken the same day I dropped off the referral. I wanted to get a copy of the x-rays to send to my surgeons in the States, but the Radiology Department told me that they normally do not release x-rays to patients and that I would need written permission from my GP. They said that a radiologist would review my x-rays and send a textual report without the x-rays to the GP, with whom I would have to schedule an appointment. This process took about a week.

Photo courtesy of flickr user eskimo_jo

By flickr user eskimo_jo

I saw the GP a couple of days ago and he informed that the radiologist did not have enough information (i.e. my other x-rays taken in the States) to make an adequate assessment of my x-rays (obviously!). The GP gave me a hand-written note requesting that the Radiology Department release my x-rays to me. I walked back to Chalmers Hospital today, just a week after my visit, only to discover that the Radiology Department had closed down! It was completely shut down, and appeared to be under re-construction for another department. They had a note on the door written in black marker advising patients to go to other health centres to get x-rays.

When I called Chalmers Hospital to inquire about my records, they told me I would have to go to the Leith Community Treatment Centre with five pounds and a written permission of release from my GP to obtain my x-rays. I am planning to head the Leith Treatment Centre sometime this week.

I am very frustrated by the bureaucracy of obtaining x-rays and the unprofessionalism of closing down a department without informing their patients. However, I’m sure things will work out in the end.

With the exception of this x-ray fiasco, my experience with the health care system in Edinburgh has been positive.

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