RCR response to NHS England announcement on roll out of mechanical stroke thrombectomy

Tuesday 11 April 2017

The Royal College of Radiologists (RCR) welcomes today’s announcement by NHS England that the NHS intends rolling out emergency mechanical thrombectomy to hospitals across the country. However, no indication is given as to how this might be achieved in practice. For that reason the College is calling on NHS England to recruit more interventional radiologists, the specialist doctors who perform this procedure.

Dr Nicola Strickland, President of The Royal College of Radiologists said:  

“Interventional neuroradiologists are the doctors who perform this intricate and lifesaving procedure. We are already facing a severe shortage of radiologists across the board in this country.”

“Mechanical thrombectomy for stroke is an amazing, disability-sparing treatment in eligible patients. We need the necessary investment in our workforce to make sure as many patients as possible can benefit from it.”

The RCR is also calling for increased recruitment of more diagnostic radiologists who are essential for the expert interpretation of the scans of stroke patients early enough for mechanical thrombectomy to be effective.

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For further information please contact our Communications Team on media@rcr.ac.uk / 07554 998197.

Notes to editors:

  1. The Royal College of Radiologists (RCR) has over 10,000 Fellows and members worldwide, representing the specialties of clinical oncology and clinical radiology. The College sets and maintains the standards for entry to and practise in the specialties in addition to leading and supporting practitioners throughout their careers.
  2. Consultant radiologists are doctors who interpret X-rays, scans and other types of medical images to detect and diagnose disease and injury. Timely, accurate diagnosis using imaging techniques can speed up access to treatment, prevent or reduce hospital stays and offer major cost savings.
  3. Interventional Radiology (IR) refers to a range of techniques which rely on the use radiological image guidance (X-ray fluoroscopy, ultrasound, computed tomography [CT] or magnetic resonance imaging [MRI]) to precisely target therapy. Most IR treatments are minimally invasive alternatives to open and laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery. As many IR procedures start with passing a needle through the skin to the target it is sometimes called pinhole surgery. For more information see British Society of Interventional Radiology - http://www.bsir.org/