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MRI provision for cauda equina syndrome

Date: 2023
Date of next review: 2026

The Clinical Imaging Board (CIB) representing The Royal College of Radiologists, The Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine and The Society and College of Radiographers, have developed the guidance MRI provision for cauda equina syndrome.

The guidance acknowledges the recommendations from the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch (HSIB) report which highlighted the continued clinical risks to patients from the poor provision of MRI services for cauda equina syndrome. It was produced in close collaboration with GIRFT spinal services and sets the service standards for MRI provision of cauda equina syndrome including the timing of imaging, referral criteria, MRI referral, 24/7 MRI access, staffing, radiographer training, image transfer and reporting, MRI protocol and audit.

A key standard in the guidance is for all acute services to have 24/7 MRI on-site by June 2024.

This guidance is now being published simultaneously with the GIRFT spinal services Pathway for suspected cauda equina syndrome which covers the patient pathway from primary and community care up to post-operative care and is referenced in the CIB imaging guidance.