A body representing doctors in the UK is warning that there is a shortage of consultant radiologists in the country to meet increasing demand for emergency interventional treatments, diagnostic imaging and screening.
The British Medical Association (BMA), said that 1,300 extra consultant radiologists are needed in the NHS in England in the coming years.
In response to yesterday’s from the Department of Health (DH) on reduced diagnostic waiting times, the BMA said that this level of activity cannot be sustained with the current workforce.
Dr Jonathan Fielden, chairman of the BMA’s consultants committee said: “Although waiting times for diagnostics seem to be improving; this progress cannot be sustained unless capacity is expanded to meet future rises in demand.
“Ad hoc commissioning of poorly integrated private providers is not a long term solution. The NHS needs to build its own sustainable infrastructure to deliver for the longer term benefit of patients.
The DH itself has published projections on workforce showing a need for a planned expansion in consultant numbers to meeting the growing need for radiological services.
Dr Gill Markham, Vice-President of the Royal College of Radiologists and Dean of the Faculty for Clinical Radiology, said: “Demand for scans and complex imaging is rising year on year and is set to increase even further in light of recent developments with extra patients being referred from the government’s planned extension of its breast and colonic screening programmes.
“We need a steady and sustained expansion in consultant numbers if we are to deliver this level of service to patients safely and to the high standards that patients deserve.”
British Medical Association