In July 2018, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) published a review of services of NHS radiology departments in England. The review found widespread variation in radiology reporting, both in terms of the timely clinical turnaround of reports and the administrative management and escalation of potentially dangerous backlogs. It also highlighted well-documented radiologist and radiographer shortages which are exacerbating workload pressures.
The CQC called on NHS Improvement to create national standards for the turnaround of radiology reports, and on The Royal College of Radiologists (RCR) and the Society and College of Radiographers to develop a practical framework to help hospitals manage report turnaround times safely.
The colleges’ framework will include:
Standards and professional support notwithstanding, the crucial issue remains that services will require more staff to provide timely and quality reporting in the face of the UK’s spiralling demand for imaging.
The colleges will continue to campaign for the additional investment in the radiologist and radiographer workforce that is urgently needed to safeguard patients, as well as calling for dedicated capital investment in imaging equipment and IT connectivity.
Without that investment, the quality services and timely reporting our patients deserve will not be possible.