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Radiographer makes no bones about reducing scan backlog for patients


A University of Wolverhampton radiographer has made no bones about reducing the backlog of patients waiting for osteoporosis scans following the first Covid-19 pandemic lockdown.

Kerry Matthews, Senior Diagnostic Radiographer in the University’s HealthScan facility based at Walsall Campus, has worked single-handedly to clear a backlog of 500 patients referred from local NHS Trusts whose appointments were cancelled during the first lockdown.

Wearing full PPE, Kerry took on the challenge of tackling the backlog, working long hours under challenging new protocols, achieving 100% satisfaction on the University’s ‘friends and family’ recommendation test.

The HealthScan facility re-opened on Monday 6th July 2020 after being closed for four months due to the pandemic.

The specialist equipment, which was given an official seal of approval in February 2019, has facilitated over 1000 referrals from Walsall Manor Hospital since its introduction and is the only health scanner of its type in the Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust region.

Kerry, who has worked at the University for six years, said: “Before the pandemic, I was seeing 80 patient referrals a month in our one-stop clinic.  The service we provide means that patients don’t have to go through several processes starting with seeing an osteoporosis nurse and then getting booked in for an X-Ray and waiting for results.

“The HealthScan facility means that I can scan them and they get results straight away, taking the burden away from the NHS Trust and providing a faster turnaround for patients.

“I started to address the backlog of cancellations in June and, despite working with restrictions in place – wearing full PPE, being extra careful of high-risk patients, changing our schedule time from 15 minutes to 25 minutes and generally adapting our service to have maximum impact – I’ve managed to ensure that we are now back on track in terms of appointments.

“Patients seem to like the more informal setting that we have at the Campus because it’s not a hospital environment and they feel reassured.  It’s been hard work, but I think the achievement of reducing the backlog has benefited the patients as well as our local NHS Trust partners.”

Victoria Oakley, Osteoporosis Nurse Specialist at Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, who worked with Kerry to map out and implement the ‘One Stop Clinics’ for patients in the Walsall Borough, said: “The Community based Osteoporosis service at Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust has been offering a `one stop` diagnostic clinic, working with Kerry, based at Wolverhampton University (Walsall Campus) since 2015. This is well received by patients and provides care closer to home.

“Patients seen in this clinic have usually already sustained a fracture so an assessment is essential to consider further fracture risks and to determine if treatment is required for Osteoporosis. This assists with reducing the risk of further fracture and potential hospital admission. Kerry is very flexible with her approach in relation to access for appointments and always provides an excellent patient-focused service.”

HealthScan at the University’s Walsall Campus provides body screening and diagnostic services for athletes and members of the community in line with regulations. It uses state-of-the-art bone density scanning technology with a wide range of applications including measurement of bone mineral density including diagnosis of osteoporosis and osteopenia.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) provided official registration for the service, reassuring users that it is regulated and inspected.

HealthScan remains open during the current lockdown.



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