The Treasury must increase spending on hospital staff, equipment and IT in order to protect patients, the UK’s leaders in imaging and cancer care have warned.
The three UK professional bodies that represent the doctors, physicists, expert allied health professionals and Diagnostic and Therapeutic Radiographers providing radiology and radiotherapy across the NHS have come together to call for dedicated service investment in the Government’s next departmental spending round.
The Society and College of Radiographers (SCoR), Royal College of Radiologists (RCR) and Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine (IPEM), have each put forward representations to the Treasury to inform the forthcoming Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR).
The submissions are united in a clear call for the Government to combat the fundamental obstacles that slow down care for imaging and cancer patients – chronic staff shortages and inadequate equipment and IT.
They also urge ministers to provide ongoing financial support for the NHS as it works to mitigate the impact of Covid-19, and outline new service models in need of funding, including community-based diagnostic services and expert networks between hospitals.
The SCoR submission calls on the Treasury to fund an increase of 4,000 in the diagnostic radiography workforce to ‘improve patient outcomes by decreasing the time to get a diagnosis’.
To underpin the NHS Long Term Plan and improve outcomes for patients with cancer, the Society also demands ‘an increase in substantive headcount across all levels of the clinical therapeutic radiography workforce’. Current vacancy rates around the UK are running at 7% in England, 10% in Northern Ireland, 3% in Scotland and 10% in Wales.
President of the SCoR Chris Kalinka called on theChancellor of Exchequer to recognise the urgent need for investment in diagnostic imaging and radiotherapy in the CSR.
‘Demand for these vital clinical services has outstripped growth in capacity for many years. The experiences of diagnostic radiographers and therapeutic radiographers during the pandemic response have demonstrated their outstanding commitment to service provision and innovation.
‘This in turn has emphasised that investment in the radiographic workforces, together with radiologists, oncologists and medical physicists, is now essential if our vital diagnostic and therapeutic specialities are to be sustainable for the future.’
Read the SCoR submission to the Treasury in full [Download PDF].