The U.K. Royal College of Radiologists (RCR) and the British Society for Interventional Radiology (BSIR) said they welcome the publication of the Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT) program report for vascular surgery, particularly its recognition of the need to increase the interventional radiology workforce.
"The challenges in delivering seven-day services are all too familiar to radiologists, who already deliver this for diagnostic imaging in a very challenging environment of personnel and funding," the societies noted in a statement.
The societies said they also concur with the authors of the report on the importance of forming networks to deliver consistent standards of care across organizational boundaries.
"However, unlike vascular surgery, interventional radiology services more regularly deliver emergency and urgent care to patients, including treatment of sepsis, acute bleeding, obstetrics, renal replacement, and trauma," the societies stated. "While being supportive of the recommended NHS (National Health Service) England model of hub and spoke networks, it is critical that these do not destabilize the ability to deliver urgent care to patients located outside the vascular networks."
In addition, the RCR and BSIR noted they also welcome progress in efficient procurement of devices and consumables with the implementation of the NHS Future Operating Model.
"However, the coding process and tariff reimbursement of interventional radiology procedures remains problematic for many trusts and we would welcome further tariff development beyond HRG4+," the societies wrote. "This would enable funding of the minimally invasive and innovative treatments which patients call for."
The societies also agree with the report on the need to improve the collection of outcome data. They noted the national audit program for interventional radiology procedures is incompletely delivered by the National Vascular Registry, which was adapted for interventional radiology procedures and requires modification.
"Work is continuing in this regard," they stated. "Such registries are only as good as the data that is included, and trusts are urged to support the development of infrastructure and allow physicians sufficient time to record meaningful data."
Furthermore, the societies said they look forward to integration with the over 30 clinical leads for the GIRFT program.
"The radiology GIRFT process is continuing and will inevitably explore effective cross-specialty partnerships, which we are confident will clarify the direction of travel," they wrote.
Lastly, the societies said they hope the positive outcomes from the GIRFT process can be extended to the three devolved U.K. nations and that they look forward to helping in that process. GIRFT currently applies only to England.
The full GIRFT report for vascular surgery can be found here.