RCR: Radiologist shortage continues

The U.K. Royal College of Radiologists (RCR) is sounding another alarm in response to the National Health Service (NHS) England’s report on diagnostic imaging availability.

“The latest NHS diagnostic imaging data highlights a concerning reality: almost three-quarters of a million patients waited a month or more for their scan results in 2023, with nearly 10,000 emergency scans delayed,” RCR President Dr. Kath Halliday, said in a statement. “It's a clear indicator that we're short on clinical radiologists, risking patient safety. The government must urgently boost training and retention efforts to meet the demand and ensure timely diagnoses for all.”

She stressed that, in 2022, only 1.7% of all types of scans were reported after 28 days in England, while in 2023, this measure was 1.6%. CT and MRI scans also decreased, from 3.1% in 2022 to 2.8% in 2023.

"The data is a clear sign that we do not have enough consultant radiologists to report the ongoing level of diagnostic imaging tests in a safe timeframe,” Halliday noted. “Patients are now waiting too long to receive the results of their often-urgent scans. Given that NHS England’s target is that no scan is reported past 28 days, there is evidently still a long way to go … we simply need to train more radiologists if we are to tackle the high level of demand which we are continuing to witness.”

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