"Interventional radiology (IR) has come of age and is a core and innovative specialty within modern medicine" is the opening line of a statement issued by two of Europe's leading professional bodies, the European Federation of Radiographer Societies (EFRS) and the Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiological Society of Europe (CIRSE).
Published in Radiography, the EFRS and SCoR's journal, the consensus statement says that "Change will be a constant in the field of IR and it is the role of CIRSE/EFRS and our members to work together to engineer our response to this change which brings both challenges and opportunities.
"We need to work together to design curricula that better reflect the evolving needs of the modern specialist radiographer and radiologist and which better prepares them for the working environment."
The text continues, "Recognition of experience, specialist qualifications and the development of new blended learning environments are key. Specialised radiographers for IR are fundamental to our development."
Dr Andrew England, senior lecturer in radiography at the University of Salford and a member of the EFRS Educational Wing management team, emphasised the importance of the statement to interventional practice in the UK
"It demonstrates the potential for effective team working," Andrew said. "Interventional radiology departments should consider implementing the recommendations in this document to further enhance patient care and professional development. The EFRS were delighted to have the opportunity to work with CIRSE on this project."
The document emphasises the requirement for education: "The position of IR in modern healthcare underlines the need for formal training and assessment structures, and specialist recognition of IR clinicians and radiographers. Undergraduate and postgraduate education and the need for specialty programmes is a work in progress."
The EFRS represents more than 100,000 radiographers and 8000 radiography students across 35 countries through 40 national societies, including the SoR in the UK, as well as 60 universities.
CIRSE is a learned society representing interventional radiologists aiming to improve patient care through the support of teaching, science, research and clinical practice. It has more than 8000 members in 96 countries, including 43 national societies.