RCR celebrates tireless work of imaging teams in the fight against COVID-19

Sunday 8 November 2020

Today (November 8) marks the International Day of Radiology (IDOR), when imaging teams across the world to come together, raise awareness and celebrate the vital role of diagnostic and interventional radiology in healthcare.

2020 has been defined by COVID-19. This year, the RCR would like to say a resounding thank you to all the radiologists, radiographers, nurses and imaging support staff in the UK and around the world who have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic.  

Coronavirus has had a wide-ranging impact across all areas of healthcare delivery, including radiology. 

Diagnostic imaging expertise has helped triage and manage coronavirus patients and interventional and trainee radiologists have been routinely redeployed to the COVID-19 front line. Hospitals have had to adapt patient pathways and implement new infection control protocols to be able image and treat all patients safely, and radiology training schemes have also been impacted.  

Here, our President and radiology leadership team give their reflections on how UK radiology has stepped up and stood out during the pandemic. 

Dr Jeanette Dickson, RCR President

Dr Jeanette Dickson
"I have two standout impressions of radiology during COVID-19. The first is how, after clearing backlogs, we were able to demonstrate the added value a properly resourced imaging service could deliver through real-time reporting to expedite clinical pathways, including rapid discharge, and reducing patient anxiety. The second is the contribution interventional radiology has played to ensure excellent patient care. Interventionalists supported line placement and pleural drainages in clinical areas, and I won’t forgot one quote from an eminent surgeon: ‘there is no point in setting up surgical hubs without interventional radiology support – I cannot treat patients properly without them’."


Dr William Ramsden, Vice-President, Clinical Radiology

"Multiple individual and organisational efforts to maintain radiology training during the pandemic were truly inspiring. Schools and training schemes quickly developed alternative methods of delivery, shared resources and took advantage of national initiatives such as the RCR’s trainee webinar series. Face-to-face training was maintained where possible and trainees are to be highly commended for their engagement with, and commitment to, new methods of learning. Health Education England and its equivalents in the devolved nations supported trainees in many ways, particularly by adapting outcomes for annual competency reviews, and by a truly Herculean effort, the RCR delivered its entire examination programme online."

Professor Mark Callaway, Medical Director, Professional Practice, Clinical Radiology

Professor Mark Callaway

"For me, COVID-19 has represented change, in all we do and how we do it. From the virtual nature of RCR meetings and my MDTs, to the full PPE required for interventional cases, it is a very different clinical world now from the one that began in January. The pandemic has also demonstrated that not all change should be resisted – utilising home reporting, using a webinar for a trainee masterclass and lecturing early one morning to a conference in India have all been positive experiences for me. COVID-19 has also stressed the vital importance of human contact and talking to colleagues."


Dr Stephen Harden, Medical Director, Education and Training, Clinical Radiology

Dr Stephen Harden

"One of my lasting memories will be the enormous collective team effort from everyone involved in UK radiology training to ensure radiology exams were delivered successfully. The necessary move to a remote format of examinations was established in a matter of months. The time spent planning and testing by the RCR exams department, examiners, local training centre leads and IT teams proved crucial. Radiology trainees and trainers quickly adapted with new remote exam preparation formats and this all helped the exams proceed successfully. It is an achievement in which all UK radiology training teams should take great pride."

Dr Dickson has also paid tribute to imaging team members in a special IDOR video: