The RCR and British Society of Thoracic Imaging welcome the Taskforce for Lung Health’s five year plan to improve lung health in England.
The plan highlights the vital role radiologists play in diagnosing lung disease early and recommends implementing a comprehensive national lung cancer screening programme and recognises that, in order to deliver in these areas, there is a requirement for significant investment in the radiology workforce. More than 10% of consultant radiologist posts are currently vacant and more than two-thirds of those posts vacant for a year or more.
The plan also recommends setting national standards for the turnaround of imaging reports and the creation of regional thoracic imaging networks to share expertise between hospitals.
Commenting on the plan, Dr Nicola Strickland, President of the RCR said:
“As a member of the Taskforce for Lung Health, the RCR is committed to improving lung health in England. Early and accurate diagnosis is critical to survival rates for people with lung disease but this depends on having the skill and capacity to analyse and interpret CT scans. This can only happen when there are more clinical radiologists in post.”
Dr Sam Hare, consultant thoracic radiologist and lead for chest radiology at the Royal Free London NHS Trust adds,
“Recruiting and training more clinical radiologists must be a priority, particularly those trained in thoracic radiology interpretation. It is one thing to have a CT scan performed, but only when it is accurately reported by a radiologist does it become meaningful.
“It takes five to six years to train a chest radiologist, so decisions have to be taken now if we really are committed to accurate diagnosis and improving care."