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Not giving out results over the phone - does this seem worrying?

(23 Posts)
ImASecretTwigletNibbler Fri 03-Jan-14 11:52:28

Had an MRI a few weeks back and just phoned for results. Secretary said they couldn't give out results over the phone, which I understand. I said "so is there no information you can give me?" and she said "hold on, I'll just have a look at them". She then came back and said "yes, as I said, there's no info I can give you over the phone".

Now, in my head, this means that she thought she'd have a quick look and if it was all ok she'd have come back to me and said "don't worry, everything's fine but we have to wait for the doctor to sign off on it" or something. But instead she looked at them and saw that there was a Big Scary Thing and she didn't want to tell me over the phone so she went back to her "I can't tell you anything" line.

Am I being completely mad to think that?! Otherwise why would she say she can't tell me, then have a look anyway, then repeat that she can't tell me? Surely she wouldn't have even looked at the results...

OP’s posts: |
Sparklingbrook Fri 03-Jan-14 11:53:55

I understand your concern, but it doesn't mean anything. Have you got a GP appointment to discuss them?

ImASecretTwigletNibbler Fri 03-Jan-14 11:55:20

No, it was a hospital consultant who ordered the MRI so apparently I have to wait to hear from him.

But why would she look at the results if she knew she couldn't tell me anything anyway?!

OP’s posts: |
maillotjaune Fri 03-Jan-14 11:56:50

Can you ask her to get the GP to call you at the end of morning surgery? This is what ours has done with results for DH. He has had a similarly anxious wait - once all was fine, once it wasn't but the GP did the same thing both times so I wouldn't make any assumptions about what it means.

UnderThePink Fri 03-Jan-14 11:58:09

I wouldn't panic - really something you can't second guess. She may have just been checking to see if there was a message left by doctor on there to give you (e.g. I had some tests recently and the doctor had written a message on the bottom of the results saying something like "If patient calls tell her XXXXX which the receptionist then followed) As she said initially that she couldn't give info on the phone that is probably their general policy and not because anything is specifically wrong.

If there was anything urgent I imagine they would have called you before 2 weeks to invite you in! Are you due to go in for the results in person anytime soon?

Good luck smile

MellowMarshmallow Fri 03-Jan-14 11:59:51

She was probably just checking to see if there was a note from the consultant which might have said 'please arrange urgent appointment' or 'results unclear, schedule 2nd scan' and while she had you on the phone it was better to check than to hang up then have to call you back again later when she got round to that on her to do list.

Sparklingbrook Fri 03-Jan-14 12:01:07

Hopefully the consultant will be in touch very soon.

Clobbered Fri 03-Jan-14 12:01:21

You can't read anything into this. Receptionist was a bit stupid in the way she handled it - might have had her knuckles rapped out of your hearing even, so try not to worry. There is usually a blanket policy of "no results over the phone" for this sort of thing precisely in order to avoid these types of situation. It would very quickly become known if normal / negative results were routinely given out and you were only told of Big Scary Things face to face.

OddBoots Fri 03-Jan-14 12:02:40

A receptionist isn't a medical professional, I wouldn't expect them to give MRI results on the phone, don't worry. It's not alike a simple blood test, MRIs often come with complicated interpretations that she may not have understood.

RunRunRuby Fri 03-Jan-14 12:06:08

She may not even have been looking at your notes or results, she might have just had a list of patients to contact and then checked her list to make sure there's no extra note of something to tell you.

To reassure you, possibly, I had some tests and was told over the phone that I had a rare and serious genetic disease and not to Google anything whereas I had a clear CT scan a few months ago and had to go in to see the consultant to get the results. So not being told doesn't really mean anything!

systemsaddict Fri 03-Jan-14 12:07:47

Our receptionists can only give out info if the dr. has specifically written something to tell us on the results, as they're 'not trained medical professionals' and so can't interpret the results themselves. I would think that's what she was checking for, to see whether there was any info she could pass on to you from the dr., but there wasn't, so she didn't.

Buggedoff Fri 03-Jan-14 12:30:43

Your GP can chase the results though. So perhaps book a GP appointment?

Erebus Fri 03-Jan-14 15:05:24

IME, receptionists and secretaries can't reveal results over the phone for a number of reasons: you might not be who you say you are- like you might be a patient's employer wanting to find out if your absence is genuine or not; results should only be given if explanations can then be offered where necessary; don't assume that everyone who works in a hospital actually knows what 'the jargon' means! e.g. doesn't 'neuroma' and 'neuroblastoma' sound similar? One is usually neither here nor there in terms of health, the other is Bad News.

As for your GP knowing, it depends what their links to the referring hospital is- they may have some sort of PACS link or may have to phone the MRI unit admin, then await a fax with the results. If your first contact was via your GP, they certainly will, eventually, get a copy of the results as they referred you on but that sometimes takes a while and is often 'for the record' only rather than the means by which they expect you to get the results as the patient.

How were you or are you now expecting to get the results? Has an OP appointment been made for you?

ImASecretTwigletNibbler Fri 03-Jan-14 16:00:08

Thanks all, that makes me feel lots better! I don't have any further appointments booked - they said the consultant will write to me and my GO at the same time but that I can phone next week when he's looked at the results.

OP’s posts: |
Musicaltheatremum Fri 03-Jan-14 20:10:19

No, don't go to your GP. the consultant is responsible for the results. The GP doesn't get them until they write to us and as they are specialist investigations their interpretation can only be done in light of what the consultant wants to do.
It takes a lot of time for my staff to chase up results of hospital consultants. I get fed up of patients phoning and saying that the consultants secretary told me to get you to look it up on line. We have enough of our own work to do. Let the consultant do his own work.
Sorry rant over. It's been a bad day.

LEMoncehadacatcalledSANTA Fri 03-Jan-14 20:18:27

Wow musical - i know you've had a bad day but that was a bit harsh, patients tend to be worried after medical investigations and are just looking for a bit of reassurance.

OddBoots Fri 03-Jan-14 20:24:21

I think musical's frustration is targeted at those (especially the medical secretaries) who advise patients to try to circumvent the process as it doesn't actually help the patients get answers any faster or any more accurately. I don't think she was expressing annoyance at the patients themselves.

bishbashboosh Fri 03-Jan-14 20:29:56

Having a lot of experience from this kind of thing I can say since being under consultants, I've never even visited the GP or rung them.

I just get used to an anxious wait with results and next steps usually in a letter.

If you are worried ring the consultants secretary and leave a message for you to call them back.

If it's urgent or pressing they'll be in touch

No news is good news

Hope all will be well

thenightsky Fri 03-Jan-14 20:35:27

I'm a medical secretary and I would say the med sec you spoke to handled it very badly.

Every time I get results back I ALWAYS ask the consultant if I can give out the results if the patient rings. If he says no, then I would say, 'sorry I don't have access to that, but I'll get them to you or your GP as soon as I can, or my consultant will call you'.

Mostly the consultant tells me, yes, just read them to the patient.

It doesn't necessarily mean bad news OP... perhaps it is a result that may be difficult to interpret and needs explaining. Some results are very jargon/wordy etc.

Jimmyd Wed 01-Nov-17 13:05:48

Had a fertility test done received letter to phone surgery ,when I phoned they wouldn’t tell me anything and to make an appointment ,with my on going illnesses m.s etc I’m a nervous wreck please help

PandorasXbox Wed 01-Nov-17 22:14:52

Hi Jimmy, sorry you’re so worried. This is a very old thread, you might get better support if you start a new thread? flowers

DraculaAD72 Thu 28-Nov-19 17:39:19

I had a CT scan done 2 weeks ago. Since then I have not been given any heads up on results. Spoke to my oncology nurse yesterday who had seen the results which said images were unchanged, however, in the same message it said there was a discrepancy. Which sounds a contradiction in terms.
I spoke with one my consultants team who said that he would be contacting the radiologist to ask what the second statement meant.
I was told in a rather curt way that results will not be given over the phone and yet someone would hopefully contact me tomorrow.
I realise that if there had been anything suspicious they would have called me in by now. Am I right?
I just want peace of mind before I attend my review appointment in December
Any advice?

Oldmum55 Thu 28-Nov-19 20:49:50

When I enquiries about the result of my MRI I was told to see my GP. As it heppened there was nothing seriously wrong so some reassurance, together with 'the doctor will discuss with you', would have helped a lot. I mean the doctor could have left a message for the receptionist to advise patient.

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