A new academy dedicated to training radiologists has opened in Wales. Located in Pencoed, the National Imaging Academy Wales is the first dedicated facility for radiologist training.
The U.K. government announced in 2017 that it would be opening a training academy in Wales with funding of 3.4 million pounds (3.9 million euros) from the Welsh government. The academy is designed to address a looming shortfall of radiologists in the region, which has a higher percentage of older radiologists than the rest of the U.K. The Royal College of Radiologists (RCR) notes that there are only seven more full-time consulting radiologists in Wales than there were in 2012, with 149 full-time consulting radiologists in 2017 compared with 142 radiologists in 2012.
The academy will enable more radiologists to learn reading skills in a classroom setting, according to the RCR. Up to now, radiologist training has been limited in Wales because it must take place in hospital settings, where clinical needs and the availability of consulting radiologists can take precedence over education.
Equipment installed at the academy also will enable radiologists to review scans from all over the country, which could speed up interpretation times for patients, according to the RCR.
Currently, 14 first-year trainees attend the academy, which has the capacity to teach 20 trainees. The RCR is calling on the Welsh government to devote enough funding to bring the academy up to capacity; otherwise, the facility will not be achieving its full potential, according to Dr. Nicola Strickland, president of the RCR.
Still, the academy's opening is a major milestone, Strickland noted.
"It is brilliant to see the center officially open, following years of hard work by a committed team of radiologist trainers and official supporters," she said in a statement. "The academy teaching model has worked well in England, and the new Welsh academy is a fantastic teaching facility."