Why we need investment in radiology and oncology trainees

Investment in trainees could save the NHS £420 million by 2030.

Workforce shortages in clinical radiology and clinical oncology are costing lives and money. The NHS could save £420 million by 2030 by investing in clinical oncology and radiology trainees.

To achieve this the Government must maintain the increase of 110 clinical radiology, 20 interventional radiology and 50 clinical oncology training places.

Each extra year of investment in training saves £190 million over ten years. This is more cost-effective than spending more on outsourcing and overseas recruitment.

Very soon the Chancellor will set out his funding plans at the Comprehensive Spending Review. To improve outcomes for patients, this must include funding for the clinical radiology and clinical oncology workforce.

The RCR has worked with WPI Economics to show the benefits of investing in training places. Modelling predicts shortages of close to 6,000 clinical radiologists and 700 clinical oncologists by 2030.

If trends in demand and workforce entries and exits continued to 2030, there would be shortages of close to 6,000 consultant clinical radiologists and 700 consultant clinical oncologists.

There are already pressures on overseas recruitment and outsourcing. Increasing overseas recruitment and doubling radiology outsourcing would not achieve a large increase in the Whole Time Equivalent (WTE) workforce, even while introducing more efficient working practices. This would only meet 56% of the clinical radiology WTE shortfall by 2030, and just 8% of the clinical oncology WTE shortfall.

Late diagnosis means money is also spent on increased treatment costs for patients, instead of on improving patient outcomes. We need sustainable investment in training to make sure patients do not continue to suffer. Reducing pressure on the workforce will lead to a rise in productivity, retention and experience.

Compared to an alternate approach of increasing overseas recruitment and outsourcing, the combined strategy would deliver this WTE increase with cost savings of £420 million by 2030.

Compared to current trends, this strategy would lead to an increase of 539 WTE clinical radiologists by 2030. This is up to 45% of the increase needed. It would lead to an increase of 200 WTE clinical oncologists or up to 95% of the required increase.

How you can help

We need your help to make this case to the Treasury and make sure that they do invest in training places. We’re asking you to join our workforce campaign by contacting your MP.

Gaining the support of local MPs is one of the most effective ways to draw attention to the challenges facing our specialties. This will help us to secure more funding from the Government.

We have provided all the information you need to contact your MP, along with template letters to send to them.

Contact your MP

Keep in touch

Please do contact us if you would like any further details on the report from WPI Economics. You can also sign up to our campaign to receive updates on all our workforce activity.