New Guidance: Diagnostic imaging reporting turnaround times

This new NHS England guidance has been developed in consultation with and supported by the SoR and RCR.

Published: 09 August 2023 SoR

The Society of Radiographers (SoR) and the Royal College of Radiologists (RCR) are pleased to announce the launch of joint NHS England guidance which sets out the ideal turnaround time, in fully staffed areas, for diagnostic imaging reporting. 

View the guidance

About the TAT guidance

Turnaround time (TAT) in imaging is the interval between an imaging examination and a verified report being made available to the referring clinician. Keeping TATs as short as possible is essential for the timely diagnosis and treatment of patients.

The new guidance seeks to reflect and codify existing best practice in reporting TATs, and while they are new, the TATs should not be unfamiliar or unachievable. The priority TAT is that no examination should take longer than 4 weeks to be reported. 

Of the guidance Charlotte Beardmore, executive director of professional policy, said: "The SoR welcomes this guidance, as it is positive to see recommendations being made about turnaround times for the process, imaging and provision of a verified report. This is very important for patients and I'm sure something we all would welcome for our own family and friends.  

Having said that, please note the guidance also recognises our current workforce challenges and states that the turnaround times being recommended are based on there being full staffing available to deliver them."

The maximum 4-week timeframe has been set with reference to the current workforce and capacity limitations. Where there are known limitations in workforce capacity, NHS England expects providers to take reasonable steps to resolve capacity issues, for example by planning for increased capacity and making provisions for network-level reporting arrangements.

More information on how to address capacity issues can be found on the NHS England website

To read the guidance online, please see here