U.K. groups voice disapproval of ESR position statement on ultrasound

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U.K. radiology groups announced this week they are disappointed that the European Society of Radiology (ESR) is "strongly" recommending ultrasound use by doctors without mentioning the role that radiographers and sonographers have in the provision of high-quality ultrasound services.

In a letter to the editor published on 20 May by Insights into Imaging, the groups said that in some cases in the U.K., independent reporting nonmedical ultrasound practitioner (sonographer) roles have been in place for decades and there is evidence from across Europe and further afield of the effectiveness of sonographer practice.

The groups involved with writing the letter include the Society of Radiographers (SoR), the Royal College of Radiologists (RCR), the Consortium for the Accreditation of Sonographic Education (CASE), the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), the British Medical Ultrasound Society (BMUS), and the Royal College of Midwives (RCM).

They wrote that they "firmly believe" that the teamwork of radiologists and other medical and nonmedical colleagues provides a safe, effective ultrasound imaging service. "Many sonographers have extended their scope of practice to include interventional procedures, elastography, fetal medicine scans, contrast-enhanced ultrasound and leading multidisciplinary team meetings," they stated.

In a reply from the authors published on 21 May by Insights into Imaging, Dr. Adrian Brady and colleagues from the ESR ultrasound committee noted that "matters of licensing, registration, qualifications and regulation of who performs ultrasound imaging are specific to each country, and vary widely across Europe. Such matters, while of importance within each individual country, are beyond the scope of ESR publications on standards."

"We re-affirm that ultrasound should be performed by fully-trained, competent individuals, who adhere to formal standards of required training, education and practice (as outlined in our position paper), and who abide by their relevant country’s regulatory regime," they noted.

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