English hospitals "in urgent need of more scanners and staff to deal with backlog"

Guardian newspaper report

Published: 14 July 2020 Imaging

The Guardian have reported that "more than half of NHS patients (in England) referred for imaging diagnostics are waiting six weeks or more."

The story claims that "more than 600,000 people await CT, MRI and other scans amid the coronavirus crisis." with numbers "ballooning from 20,898 in May 2019 to 326,525 in May 2020."

Scanners currently in use are “faulty and unreliable, causing delay, disruption and added anxiety for patients.”

NHS Providers are quoted as saying that "investment in equipment such as MRI and CT scanners, X-ray machines and ultrasound equipment was an urgent priority."

"Significant and speedy investment is required in diagnostic imaging services, especially in radiographer numbers, which are currently inadequate to meet patient needs," Chris Kalinka, the Society's president, said.

"A programme of increasing radiographer and scanner numbers is essential to ensure we can care for patients in the post-covid environment. Existing equipment should be safe, with radiation quality checks and maintenance programmes in place, even if the scanners may be older than we would like," Chris continued. 

"However, newer scanners will be more reliable, produce better scans and will provide a lower radiation dose to patients. We welcome planning for both replacement and additional scanners, together with a robust workforce plan to increase radiographer numbers and provide the public with essential and life-saving diagnostic examinations."

Charlotte Beardmore, the Society's director of professional policy, said, "SoR officers continue to work with government across the four nations to lobby for appropriate investment in both equipment and workforce.

"Significant investment is required to close the gap and ensure that patient are able to access efficient and timely services."

English hospitals in urgent need of more scanners and staff to deal with backlog