Home » Nightmare ultrasound scans and mammograms, biblical waiting times for women in the Marche

Nightmare ultrasound scans and mammograms, biblical waiting times for women in the Marche

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Nightmare ultrasound scans and mammograms, biblical waiting times for women in the Marche

ANCONA On the occasion of 8 March, the local health authorities organized a series of events to promote women’s health. A day dedicated to prevention which includes free visits, vaccinations against papilloma virus and information points. An initiative as commendable as it is useful: but what about the other 364 days of the year? Here, the general picture is not so comforting. In the chronic problem of waiting times to receive healthcare services – critically long lists not only in the Marches, but in almost all regions – some exams among those monitored by the Ministry of Health they seem to be more run out of places than others.


And in several cases they concern the prevention of women, or in any case visits intended for the female population. For the booking of an obstetric ultrasound through Cup, the guarantee lists for each priority class have been going on for months because there are no spaces available in the regional public health system. For a deferred bilateral mammogram, the average time is up to 332 days. To understand how the mechanism works, a clarification must be made upstream. The services are divided into three categories: brief (prescription which must be provided within 10 days of booking), deferred (within 30 in the case of visits and 60 days in the case of an exam) and programmable (within 180 days). Objectives that it would be good to achieve also and above all with a view to prevention. However, it was said, it happens that expectations go beyond these time limits and, especially in the deferred ones, women do not like it at all. In the ex ante monitoring (which consists in detecting the waiting time between the date of the request for the service and the date of the expected disbursement) conducted by the Region, and updated in January, the problem emerges in all its seriousness. According to data provided by the five provincial Asts, in priority class D (deferred) the average waiting time for a bilateral mammography reaches 228.7 days, while that for a bilateral breast ultrasound up to 132.2 days. The mirage of obstetric ultrasound crystallizes in the 85.1 days of average waiting time, which for gynecological ultrasound rises up to 167.5 days. Even for a gynecological visit (which with priority D should be done within 30 days of the doctor’s prescription) you get to have to wait up to 55 days. Times that lengthen further in the Marche university hospital, where the average waiting time for a bilateral mammography with priority D reaches 332 days and for a bilateral ultrasound of the breast 201 days. A critical issue, that of long waiting times, which makes prevention become a puzzle and pushes more and more people towards private healthcare, capable of guaranteeing much closer deadlines.

The witness

And yet, prevention is the most important thing for health, as evidenced by Ivonne Rispigliati, captain of the Dragonesse, women with breast surgery who undergo psychophysical rehabilitation by rowing with the Dragon boat. «At 56 I discovered I had breast cancer thanks to prevention: I had had mastopathy when I was breastfeeding my son, so I periodically checked myself through mammograms. In one of those checkups, I found I had a tumor. Luckily he was still very small and I managed to overcome him well ». When prevention saves lives, in the literal sense of the word. «In these times it is very difficult to be able to get services on time, and we often resort to the private sector. If there is no way to book ultrasounds and mammograms due to long waiting lists, it is important to proceed with self-examination. A prevention that at least we can do alone and that puts a stop to the lack of health care ».

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