Leaders from across the NHS and healthcare have claimed that the improvement of radiology services is “mission critical” for the NHS.
This comes as work continues to cut waiting lists, however, underinvestment in equipment and staff has left major challenges to be dealt with across radiology. Following a discussion between key leaders in healthcare - including the former Chief Executive of the NHS Confederation, Mike Farrar, and Professor Erika Denton, Medical Director of the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals Trust – a number of issues faced by radiology services were identified.
In response to the issues that were outlined during the discussion, the following recommendations to address the ongoing radiology crisis were announced:
- Empowering radiology networks to deploy staff, procure large contracts, provide out-of-hours services, and promote recruitment.
- Promoting examples of best practice, as well as how these can fit into new governance models. These should focus on accelerating the effectiveness of radiology across the NHS.
- Ensuring that employment contracts for staff reflect network working changes, with staff being contracted to work for a network instead of a hospital.
- Ensuring that workforce planning makes the right assumptions regarding the need for radiology staff to apply technology and new ways of working.
- Maintaining good team morale, with this supporting the attraction and retention of a high-quality workforce within radiology. However, there isn’t a universal approach for departments, so flexibility and autonomy are required in order to ensure that a high-quality workforce is developed.
Dr Farzana Rahman, Radiologist and health strategy and policy expert, said:
“Radiology productivity must be a priority if the NHS is to be put onto a sustainable footing for the decade ahead. Diagnostic capacity and outpatient activity are major bottlenecks in the smooth and timely flow of patients through most pathways of care in the NHS.
“As a radiologist myself, I know how frustrating this is for hard-working healthcare professionals who want to be able to deliver better care for their patients. Our passion for changing radiology services for the better is what has driven us to publish this paper, and we now need firm commitments from policymakers and national and local NHS leaders to take on these recommendations and commit to improving radiology services.”
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