Statement on the radiology shortage in Scotland

Published: 03 September 2018 Ezine

Increasing the role of radiographers can alleviate the crisis in radiology, says Scottish Council of the Society and College of Radiographers.

The Society fully supports the Royal College of Radiologists in Scotland’s warning about a crisis in radiology and acknowledges the vital role of radiologists in the effective delivery of radiology services.

In this context, the SCoR reiterates that the delivery of radiology services is a team effort that also relies fundamentally on the expertise of radiographers.

Considering the current situation, it is vital to recognise the role of experienced radiographers with advanced training in alleviating the workload of radiologists and decreasing the anxious wait for results for patients.

Innovative solutions to the shortage of radiologists exist through making better use of the skills and experience of radiographers. In carrying out their role, all radiographers interpret images to ensure that they contain the relevant information and commonly make an initial diagnosis to assist onward progress of the patient pathway.

Further, radiographers with advanced training carry out reporting on examinations and give these results to patients.

The Scottish government is developing an IT system to allow reporting across all boards to make it easier for staff to report on examinations. The Society is closely involved with initiatives across the country, including the Scottish Radiology Transformation Programme and we have radiographers on project boards and seconded to the implementation of developed services across Scotland.

Ian Henderson, Chair of SCoR Scottish Council said: “We recognise the pressure on radiologists and the service more widely. We continue to campaign for innovative solutions to the crisis in radiology by making use of the skills and potential of radiographers to enable working in more effective ways.

“We took the issue to the STUC earlier this year and gained their support for making better use of radiographers’ experience. New ways of working are recognised as vital across all of health care delivery to support effective quality care for patients, within existing resource constraints.

“The shortage highlighted in Inverness reinforces the need for the Scottish government to maximise their efforts in transforming radiology through implementing new ways of working.”