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The health and social care landscape is changing across the UK and with it the priorities for the delivery of healthcare services. Health policy decisions by current and previous governments and the significant fiscal challenge faced by services mean that resources expended on the provision of healthcare must be used effectively and in a manner that is justifiable in terms of improved patient outcomes. Changes to service commissioning arrangements in much of the UK, the transfer of elements of service delivery to the primary care sector and the increased involvement of the independent sector in delivery all mean significant scope for change to the roles of healthcare practitioners, including radiographers.

In the context of these changes, clinical imaging services are under increasing pressure year on year to enhance quality, capacity and productivity while staffing levels remain static or decrease. Radiographers recognise that too many diagnostic imaging examinations still do not receive a timely clinical report and many images are assessed for the purposes of immediate patient management by staff not always equipped to make the best judgements. 

Diagnostic radiographers are well placed to support development of clinical imaging services through their acknowledged responsiveness and ability. With appropriate skills development, they are able to make first line interpretation of images in support of patient management (preliminary clinical evaluations); and, following College of Radiographers approved postgraduate training, to provide definitive reports for a wide range of examinations.

This document provides policy and practice guidance to support the implementation and further growth of clinical reporting and to support the transition from abnormality signalling systems (such as ‘red dot’ systems) to written preliminary clinical evaluation systems.

Jacqueline F Hughes


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