Consultant radiographers to undertake breast screening arbitration

Published: 15 September 2016 Ezine

Public Health England’s NHS Breast Screening Programme (NHSBSP) has issued new guidance on who can undertake arbitration to include consultant radiographers.

The process of arbitration occurs when two or more image readers do not reach consensus on the future management of the patient.

Previously, only qualified clinicians had the authority to undertake this role – either as a single third arbitration read or by leading a panel of readers. 

The new guidance indicates who and when image readers can arbitrate.

Click here for further information. 

The new guidelines stipulate that practitioners undertaking arbitration should:

  • be a fully qualified film reader meeting the appropriate standards including suitable training
  • be an experienced film reader
  • participate fully in assessment clinics including decision making (working to consultant practitioner level)
  • regularly attend and participate at multi-disciplinary team meetings (MDT).
  • regularly audit and review personal and team results
  • participate in ongoing professional development and annual appraisal.

Sue Williams, Consultant Radiographer at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, said: “The decision to allow radiographers to arbitrate screening cases is fantastic news for advanced practice in breast imaging.

“It demonstrates a clear recognition that any task for an appropriately trained and experienced healthcare professional, working to clearly defined standards, should be independent of job title.

“Any radiographers meeting the criteria to undertake arbitration will be highly skilled decision makers heavily involved in the diagnosis and management of breast disease.

“With the predicted service delivery problems imaging faces, it is good to think that radiographers can show themselves to be a safe and suitable option for excellent patient care.”