Highlights of 2019

Friday 20 December 2019

RCR media and political profile

The RCR secured nearly 3,000 pieces of news coverage during 2019, featuring across national newspapers, radio and TV, as well as local newspapers and trade magazine outlets. Primary topics of media interest included our ongoing calls for political assurances on radioisotope provision after Brexit, workforce shortages in radiology and clinical oncology and radiotherapy provision. Another topic on which we featured as a key authority in the media was the communication of unexpected radiological findings between hospital teams. 

Our campaign messages and statistics have also received growing oral and written mentions in Parliamentary debates, particularly as a result of our work to raise awareness of workforce and radioisotope issues, and we worked closely with the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Radiotherapy in the creation of a formative report into UK radiotherapy provision. 

New section of the RCR website

February 2019 saw the launch of a refreshed design for the RCR website. At the same time, we launched a new section called Discover and explore. These pages are aimed at members of the public and provide information and resources about clinical oncology and clinical radiology. We will build on and develop the content on these pages.

International highlights

In March, we were pleased to announce that RCR clinical radiology Fellows and members residing in Europe can register free of charge for European Society of Radiology (ESR) full membership. Through the RCR, this provides free access to all ESR membership benefits, including reduced registration fees for the ESR Annual Congress. The advent of Brexit will not change this offer.

Our international membership continued to grow this year. In May, the RCR appointed two overseas ambassadors to represent both Faculties of the RCR. The aim of this pilot scheme is to promote RCR value while ensuring that the voices of our Fellows and members outside the UK are heard. The scheme saw Dr Venkat Sudigali appointed in India and Dr Hassan Abdelsalam appointed in Egypt. 

Introducing the Quality Standard for Imaging

In June, the Imaging Services Accreditation Scheme (ISAS) – which is run jointly by the RCR and the Society and College of Radiographers (SCoR) to give hospital providers a means of improving and externally assessing their imaging services – was re-launched as the Quality Standard for Imaging (QSI).   

A new staged approach, supported by the RCR and SCoR, will help services through their quality-improvement journey towards accreditation, and regional networks will be established to foster shared learning between local services. The staged approach looks to make it manageable and rewarding for services working towards quality improvement, and we hope the QSI’s enhanced services will encourage more teams to reap the benefits of the scheme.    

The fundamental quality criteria for the scheme remain the same and QSI will continue to be independently assessed and accredited by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS).

REAL newsletter re-brand

This summer saw the launch of our re-branded radiology learning newsletter. Formerly known as Radiology Errors and Discrepancies (READ), the focus of our Radiology Events and Learning (REAL) newsletter has expanded to include learning from good spots and excellent practice as well as from when things have gone badly. This new approach to radiological learning is also reflected in our updated RCR guidance on Radiology Events and Learning Meetings (REALMs) which will replace Standards for Learning from Discrepancies meetings. 

New credential for aspiring breast clinicians

Following two years of development with the Association of Breast Clinicians, this September we were delighted to launch our new Credential in Breast Disease Management.

The three-year accreditation programme, which has funding and input from Health Education England and support from the National Breast Imaging Academy, provides a standardised national training route for post-foundation doctors looking to become holistic breast clinicians, with a curriculum covering breast examination and imaging, disease management and genetic risk factors.

The credential scheme has ten funded places and is now being piloted in seven English hospital trusts, with long-term ambitions to roll it out across the UK.

Workforce censuses

Our thanks are due to all who completed the RCR workforce censuses, providing us once again with a 100% response rate for both Faculties. The 2018 workforce census reports continue to demonstrate the severe shortage of consultants in both clinical oncology and clinical radiology. The data collected through the censuses are used to make the case for increased training numbers. Our lobbying of medical training leads in Scotland contributed to the Scottish Government’s announcement of two additional clinical oncology placements and 12 additional clinical radiology trainee placements (with two of those placements earmarked for interventional radiologists) starting in 2020.

The workforce census data also garner significant media attention and this year saw wide coverage in the health and national press, including the BBC. This year the clinical oncology census will focus on providing a broad picture of how acute oncology services are operating across the UK, and the radiology census will have an increased focus on interventional radiology provision.

College and Faculty Elections 2019

The 2019 Presidential election saw Dr Jeanette Dickson succeed Professor Nicola Strickland as our RCR President. We also welcomed Dr Hannah Tharmalingam and Dr Stephen Harden to the 2019–22 Officer team in September. Dr Tharmalingam succeeded Dr Dickson as Vice-President, Clinical Oncology, and Dr Harden joined as Medical Director, Education and Training, Clinical Radiology, taking over from Dr William Ramsden. We are exceedingly grateful to Professor Strickland and all our past Officers for their dedicated leadership and support.

Priorities for radiotherapy provision across the UK

While public and media interest in some novel radiotherapy techniques – such as proton beam therapy – is increasing, overall political understanding and the practical rollout of newer radiotherapy techniques remains variable across the UK.

To help heads of service and cancer teams tell hospital managers, NHS leads and stakeholders what we need to improve radiotherapy provision, the RCR has distilled our five key service priorities into an accessible, image-led flyer.

The RCR’s Priorities for Radiotherapy 2019-20 explain how radiotherapy services and overall cancer care can and must be improved by focusing on workforce, equipment, IT, networked practice and staff wellbeing.        


We were delighted to welcome over 700 delegates to RCR19 – a record number to attend at the Arena and Convention Centre in Liverpool. Our new October annual conference dates made it easier for our trainee members to join us, and this year’s conference featured a dedicated stream for oncology trainees and a larger exhibition space.

CR and IR curriculum approved by the GMC

As you will be aware, the training and education team at the RCR has been rewriting the curricula for each of our specialties. The intention of the re-writes has been to align the curricula with the General Medical Council’s (GMC) Excellence by Design standards and should make the documents much easier to use and follow. Key changes for both specialties are that the new curricula will be outcomes based, more concise, clear about expectations, intuitive to use and future proof.

We are delighted that the clinical radiology and interventional radiology curricula have been approved by the GMC and work is underway now to ensure that trainees and trainers feel well prepared to make the switch to the new curricula in August 2020. Resources and updates will be available on the curriculum pages.

Work on the clinical oncology curriculum continues and we expect to submit the new version to the GMC early in 2020. Please read our monthly emails and the Newsletter and keep an eye on the website for updates on progress.

Asks of the New Government

In the lead up to the General Election on 12 December, the RCR published a set of five asks of the new Government to Stop patient waits; stop patient worry. The key issues in which the Government needs to invest in are; the people; technology; information technology connectivity; and space to deliver the services patients need. We also asked that patients and staff are safeguarded from uncertainty around Brexit.

We will continue to highlight these requirements to Government and key stakeholders to provide the best working environment for our Fellows and members and the best healthcare service for patients.

Strategic Priorities

The RCR’s Strategic Priorities were published in December 2019 and outline five themes:

  • Workforce
  • Be the experts
  • Professional learning
  • Membership value
  • Our College