It is calling on the government to invest urgently in more resources to recruit and retain breast radiologists.
Many breast radiologist posts remain vacant, breast screening units are understaffed, and large numbers of breast radiologists are due to retire by 2020, the RCR said.
Recent surveys carried out by the RCR reveal the following:
- In the National Health Service (NHS) Breast Screening Program, 25% of units operate with two or fewer breast radiologists and have no cover for sickness or absence.
- By 2020, 21% of breast radiologists are likely to retire, and the percentage is expected to increase to 38% by 2025. This will severely affect breast cancer screening and diagnosis.
- About 8% of breast radiologist posts across the U.K. are vacant. The number of unfilled posts has doubled since 2010.
Also, while breast screening is currently offered to women 50 to 70 years old, there are plans to extend the program to some women 47 to 73 years old, which would mean the number of women potentially covered in the U.K. would increase by about 28%, from 8 million to 10.2 million.
"The International Day of Radiology should be a day when radiologists all over the world celebrate our profession and the tremendous impact radiology can have in improving health outcomes for millions of patients, often saving lives through early and accurate diagnosis of scans and x-rays," said Dr. Nicola Strickland, president of the RCR. "But it's difficult to celebrate in the U.K., where we only have seven radiologists per 100,000 people, the third lowest in Europe. Urgent investment from the government and NHS leadership across the U.K. is needed now."
In other news, a new film has been commissioned to coincide with the anniversary of the first medical x-ray performed 120 years ago in Birmingham, U.K.
"X-Ray: The Unknown Quantity" is a collaboration between Birmingham City University, Birmingham Hippodrome, and Birmingham Children's Hospital.
Commissioned by Hippodrome Creative, the short film brings together award-winning contemporary dance artist and choreographer Mickael "Marso" Riviere, British Institute of Radiology (BIR) artist-in-residence Hugh Turvey, and Birmingham-based sound artist Justin Wiggan.
Together, they have created a production featuring stop animation film, contemporary dance, x-ray imagery, and a sonic soundscape collated from "hidden" body sounds and x-ray equipment.
The short film will be launched via the Birmingham Hippodrome website on 8 November to coincide with World Radiography Day and the International Day of Radiology.
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