In the run up to next month's U.K. general election, the Royal College of Radiologists (RCR) is calling for a better-equipped National Health Service (NHS), urging policymakers to focus on four key issues.
In what it calls its "General Election 2017" document, the RCR outlines the following solutions to urgent problems facing the NHS:
- Patients are waiting too long to get imaging results, which leads to delayed diagnosis of serious disease. More radiologists must be trained, and visa restrictions must be eased so that trained radiologists from overseas can be recruited.
- Patients are suffering from inadequate NHS IT systems that do not allow doctors to easily share diagnostic reports and images, which leads to delayed treatments, test duplication, and more cost to the NHS. The NHS must invest in IT systems that will connect facilities properly.
- Cancer patients are not getting the best radiotherapy treatments, which leads to patients suffering permanent, long-term side effects from older treatments. The NHS must invest in modern radiotherapy equipment and train more clinical oncologists.
- Patients are needlessly bleeding to death or being paralyzed by strokes. The NHS must train more interventional radiologists and introduce new services focused on saving the lives of stroke patients.
"We all know that the NHS is struggling," the RCR said in a statement. "This election offers all politicians the opportunity to commit to an NHS equipped for the 21st century -- which is no less than patients deserve."