The publication of the Diagnostic imaging network commercial structure and operational governance guide (PDF) this week has been met with disquiet by many radiologists and the RCR is most grateful to them for communicating their concerns. Establishment of integrated imaging networks is entirely supported by the RCR and we recognise the need for good governance of any new working arrangements. The document sets out alternative solutions and clearly one size does not fit all. Some networks are already established using connectivity and collaboration between established trust imaging departments, improving patient care throughout a region, and are good models for future development. We call for NHS England to confirm that the networks will be NHS led.
Given the strain on imaging departments currently, it is important that networks are configured co-operatively between trusts, supporting the integrity of each department, to maintain and enhance patient services. The interests of staff also need to be considered and protected when networks are formed. This document is part of a toolkit and, taken in the round, we welcome the emphasis on embedding education and training for all staff.
To address specific concerns which have been notified to us, the RCR:
- Doesn’t support the privatisation of NHS imaging services
- Doesn’t believe the governance of imaging departments should be separate from NHS trusts
- Believes imaging networks need not be configured independently from host organisations.