“Overtime mammographies” lucrative for doctors

Too few women are having mammographies and women who are suspected of having cancer are having to wait too long for tests. At the same time, trying to cut the queues has become a lucrative side-earner for mammography staff, reported Göteborgs-Posten.

Auditors in the Västra Götaland region have investigated mammography procedures at Sahlgrenska University Hspital (SU) and the results have revealed major failings.

Few women have had the examinations which were promised and on a number of occasions women’s health has been put in danger.

“Yes, the delays could have meant that women have had worse prognosis,” said the audit director Sven Arvidsson to GP.

Only half of the women who should have had mammographies were called for tests during 2004.

The situation has improved in the last year. But the reason given for this is that doctors and nurses are working extra hours as part of an initiative which is costing millions of kronor.

For example, the doctor responsible for the department earned an extra 488,000 kronor over basic salary. In only one month, the doctor earned an extra 75,700 kronor.

“The risk with such a system is obviously that you switch work time for overtime,” said Arvidsson.

“But there’s a shortage of competence and those who have it can make whatever demands they like.”

TT/The Local

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