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CT Head Reporting SIG celebrates 10th meeting

29 March, 2018

Author: Lynda Johnson, Professional Officer, Clinical Imaging

SIG Group 2011
The original SIG group in 2011

The 10th meeting of the CT Head Reporting Radiographers Special Interest Group (CTH SIG) was held recently at Birmingham City University.

Founded in 2011, largely due to the drive and determination of Jo Fowler from Derriford Hospital in Plymouth, who was also chair until very recently, the group has grown year on year.

Beginning with just 10 radiographers, there are now 114 members and there is a mailing list of 136 people, including consultant radiologists, registrars, MRI practitioners and managers.

The CTH SIG has continued to keep activities free to all members, thanks in no small part to the hard work of Genny Sandon who organises the meeting venue at Birmingham City University and Gary Holdsworth who compiles the fanzine in his own time. This year we were also sponsored by one of the College of Radiographers Industry Partners, Bracco, who kindly provided hot drinks, lunch and cake.

The meetings and communications of this member-led group provide a unique wealth of professional experience, guidance, advice, and support. It is a safe environment for members to share their highs and lows. There is no hierarchy or elitism, just a shared passion and team-working ethos, enabling patients and service users to receive the safest and most timely reporting service achievable.

It is impossible to single out any one of the presentations, as they were all fascinating and informative with some excellent radiographic humour and great discussion points. Speakers covered a diverse range of practice from sinuses presented by Ann Jackson, to the cranial nerves succinctly covered by Helen Adamson, which again illustrates the progress that CT head reporting radiographers have made in the past seven years.

More than one reference was made to the rapid progress of CT technology and how we have adapted our reporting methodology to make best use of the growing amount of data available.

The topic areas were well researched, with many of the speakers emphasising the necessity for advanced practitioners to commit to lifelong learning.

Tracey Glendenning from Northern Ireland reminded us how long she had been reporting with some entertaining throwback photographs and again reinforced the importance of reading the current literature. She shared her personal and commendable journey, despite being the only independent reporting CT radiographer in Ireland.

Claire Cuthbertson echoed this determination with her account of the challenges she is facing locally. There were many experiences shared throughout the day along with some common concerns, but the overarching theme was progress and the desire and determination to make things better.

Ann Jones and Rose Curran from Stepping Hill Hospital, Stockport eloquently presented evidence of the success of CT head reporting radiographers integrating into patient centred models of care. Since they introduced their service they have reduced the average wait for an urgent CT head report by over 40 minutes and the hospital has progressed 50 places in the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) Sentinel Stroke National Audit Programme (SSNAP)1.

They have also managed to improve their compliance with the RCP and National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) accredited National Clinical Guideline2 by 10 per cent during this time. This quality data may support other initiatives for similar service delivery models.

Andrew Purves invited us to think outside the box and interrogate those areas perhaps not always considered within the scope of 'brain' reporting but which are nevertheless included in the image. There was an interesting show of hands around the room as to what we would and would not necessarily comment on, which gave some of us food for thought.

There were thought provoking presentations from Karen Kerr on psychosurgery, Amanda Holmes on pneumocephalus, Rebecca Anforth on meningoencephalitis, Catherine Staley-Talbot on multiple sclerosis (yes, you can see it on CT!) and Sharon Bolton on dementia, all of whom demonstrated their expert knowledge in these areas and challenged us to look more critically into the appearances we may consider run of the mill. 

Lastly, and by no means least, Gary Holdsworth, the godfather of CT head reporting, entertained and educated us with his depth and breadth of knowledge and his infectious fervour to dig deeper and ask ourselves not just WHAT does it look like but WHY does it look like this?

Radiographers just describe? I don't think there is any doubt in my mind after the event.

Feedback immediately after suggested members thoroughly enjoyed the day and felt it well worthwhile despite some very long journeys to attend. If the intention of the day was to educate, support, renew energy and focus then it appears to have delivered on all counts.

Please keep an eye on the CT SIG webpage for details of next year's event.


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