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What the blardy hell have the lab being doing with my smear sample for 6 weeks??!!!

(8 Posts)
PussinJimmyChoos Wed 23-Jul-08 10:16:11

Deadline for smear sample results was today. Haven't received anything so I rang doctors and advised accordingly. They chased the lab and apparently, they haven't even looked at it as very behind and have to ring back in two weeks, bringing my wait to two months!!!

This is frigging ridiculous!! I'm off the pill and eagar to TTC and was waiting for the smear results before I started! Due to ovulate in about 7 days and don't really want to miss any opportunities....arghhh!!!!

What happened to meeting targets?! Where I work if we don't meet our agreed targets, we don't get bonuses or pay rises!

PussinJimmyChoos Wed 23-Jul-08 10:16:35

eager rather! blush

cmotdibbler Wed 23-Jul-08 10:48:22

Unfortunatly reading smears is a low paid, labour intensive job which can't be rushed. As its therefore hard to recruit people, theres never enough of them, so they never have a chance to catch up. You can also only read a certain number of slides a day as its so intense that mistakes get made if you try and do overtime

The people who read the slides don't ever get a bonus, and will only get a below inflation pay rise.

greenlawn Wed 23-Jul-08 13:23:15

About 4 years ago I waited 16 weeks - vastly improved to about 2 weeks wait 1 year ago. My GP told me exactly the same as cmotdibbler says.

The other thing that bothered me 4 years ago was being told by GP "if you don't hear anything then everything is fine." Sadly I've seen way too many mistakes made when people make assumptions about their health - happily the last smear I had they had changed to sending out the results by letter. Hope all is OK for you.

deepbreath Wed 23-Jul-08 17:44:55

At risk of "outing" myself, I used to be a cytoscreener, and had worked in the lab for 10 years. During that time, I have been verbally abused by patients who were clearly very distressed at having to wait an excessively long time for their results.

Sorry you're having to wait so long, but where I used to work the samples were prioritised according to your medical history. I am assuming that your previous smears have been OK?

Smears from hospital clinics always take priority over "routine" samples, and for very good reasons. For example, if you'd had a positive result, or had needed a cone biopsy you would jump the queue. Ditto if you had signs or symptoms of anything that might suggest a problem.

Unfortunately, this is then at the expense of women like yourself who have to wait in an often very large backlog of work. Sadly, you are not alone in your wait. I have known of 6 MONTH backlogs, and smears being sent across the country to hospitals that had spare time to be screened.

As has already been said, there are no bonuses in this job. As a trainee, I earned the huge sum of £4.50 per hour! As a very experienced, accurate screener, I could screen around 30 ish slides per shift, as we are only allowed to use a microscope for about 4 hours per day. Most labs are understaffed, and a lot of jobs are only very part time.

To finish, if anyone reading this has recently had a smear and is waiting for results, please contact whoever took the smear if you have any unexpected bleeding or other symptoms that you are concerned about. It may be that your smear can be prioritised accordingly, but please don't abuse this just to try to jump the queue!

reethi96 Wed 23-Jul-08 17:48:19

I had a smear test in March 2001 and got the results back in September 2002! When I moved house my new surgery told me that they no longer used Watford General because they still had a backlog of over a year!

PussinJimmyChoos Wed 23-Jul-08 20:59:19

I don't think I'd be so stressed about the back log if I wasn't waiting to ttc but that aside, the wait is still long!

Deepbreath - I know how labs are - my DH is a Biomedical Scientist and I'm gobsmacked at how shortstaffed the labs are sometimes and at the backlog of work but sadly, its only when there is a backlog and doctors surgeries start complaining, that the higer ups will release the budget to hire more staff. Its not so much the individuals as they are doing the best they can, but the lab managers to try and ensure that targets are met, adequate staffing etc. Not easy on the staff left to pick up the slack though. Thank you for taking the time to explain it all to me. My mum said that they would glance at every sample very quickly first and anything glaringly out of the ordinary would get processed faster - any truth in this or?

deepbreath Thu 24-Jul-08 19:30:00

Sorry, PIJC. Have only just come online and seen your post.

Your Mum is right. Some departments do pre-screen, it depends very much on individual lab policy. It usually takes a couple of minutes to have a quick flick around the slide, usually in a particular pattern. This is often used if specimens are to be sent away or will be sat in a backlog. Every negative sample is also double-checked in this way for quality control, so is seen by at least 2 pairs of eyes. Or at least they were where I worked.

I didn't want to come across as being horrible and patronising, and I'm sorry if I did. People just assume that in this day and age that tests like this are all automated, like many blood tests are.

I hope that you haven't got too much longer to wait for your result, and good luck with the TTC smile

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