Update on remote working for radiologists during the COVID-19 pandemic

Thursday 24 September 2020

This statement is archived. 

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In March 2020, in response to the start of the UK COVID-19 peak, we endorsed a temporary relaxation of home reporting guidance, so as to prevent a potential collapse of UK radiology services in the face of the lack of home reporting support across many departments.

This relaxation was based on a risk benefit analysis relevant for that time. It allowed for two specific relaxations of the standards. Temporary use of 'off the shelf' uncallibrated monitors that met the specification for reporting of axial imaging was permitted as well as remote access using 'lossy' compression. A test system was devised to ensure that certain images could be adequately viewed on the system. The was an associated small risk of missing subtle findings to be balanced against a risk of inability to provide any radiological review of imaging. This was one of many compromises were made to patient care during this period which are not acceptable normally.

Since then, COVID-19 funding has been provided across the NHS to support home working and many hospitals have used this to facilitate appropriately specified home working systems for their radiologists. The interim guidance is, alongside many other compromises, coming to the end of its usefulness and we would encourage all radiology departments to provide staff with a fully functioning home working environment. With this in mind the RCR will shortly be releasing updated standards for home working.

Please note, the information in this statement supersedes the previous statement on a temporary relaxation of display guidance dated 27 March 2020.