The College of Radiographers (CoR) has published a guidance document for medical imaging services on clinical reporting and preliminary clinical evaluation by radiographers.
The publication provides practical guidance and support for departments currently undertaking radiographer role development, as well as those beginning to implement it. Advice on education, training and CPD, standards of practice, clinical governance, and accountability and indemnity are covered.
The document also makes it clear that preliminary clinical evaluation must replace 'red dot' abnormality signaling systems.
According to the results of a 2008 survey, more than half of the medical imaging departments that responded said that radiographers were undertaking musculoskeletal reporting, with 83% issuing ultrasound reports.
Audrey Paterson, the College's Director of Professional Policy, said: "Changes in healthcare policy and increased pressure on departments to enhance quality, capacity and productivity, means an increasing number of radiographers are and will continue to be undertaking clinical reporting and initial evaluation.
"Too many diagnostic imaging examinations are not reported in a timely way and trained radiographers can go a long way to filling the gap."
Jackie Hughes, President of the CoR, comments: “The aim is to support the implementation and further growth of clinical reporting by radiographers. Our members' roles continue to develop and the number of radiographer-led clinical reports and evaluations is increasing. The College has supported this practice since the 1990s when it first stated that it was not an option for the future, but a requirement."
She continued: “Diagnostic radiographers have proved that with the right skills development and training they are able to make valuable and valued first-line interpretations and to provide definitive reports for a wide range of examinations, achieving a standard equivalent to their radiologist counterparts.
“Timely diagnoses are vital to good healthcare outcomes. It is our duty as an organisation and as a profession to proactively support this area of practice in order to continue delivering excellent patient care."