By staff writers

February 16, 2017 -- There is a serious shortage of Scottish radiologists, and patients are at risk, according to the Royal College of Radiologists (RCR).

Scottish patients are experiencing delays of a month or more for diagnosis and treatment of diseases such as cancer, the RCR said. Nine in 10 hospitals are unable to keep up with the daily imaging workload, and the five-year average of vacant radiology positions is 8% and rising.

The RCR has proposed various measures to address the problem, including urging the Scottish government to recruit radiologists from overseas to fill vacant posts, increasing the number of radiology trainees, and improving connectivity so that reporting can be done by available radiologists offsite.

One solution that the RCR does not favor is the use of nonphysician providers such as radiographers to report on some imaging studies. The group believes that patients deserve the benefit of having a radiologist interpret their images.

"We need action now to find workable, sustainable solutions to the crisis in Scottish radiology," said Dr. Grant Baxter, chairman of the college's Standing Scottish Committee, in a statement released by the RCR. "Patient safety is at risk."

Copyright © 2017

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