British Society of Interventional Radiology speaks to MPs about the looming crisis in radiologist numbers

November 20, 2015

BSIR Logo (edited)

The British Society of Interventional Radiology (BSIR) took its campaign to improve the numbers of interventional radiologists in the NHS to Westminster this week.

At a reception organised by the Medical Technology Group, the BSIR met a number of MPs and discussed the issue of the lack of fully qualified and trainee  interventional radiologists.

Dr Trevor Cleveland from Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, Vice President BSIR and Dr Paul Crowe, Birmingham Heartlands Hospital  were able to discuss the Royal College of Radiologists recent report on their workforce census. This report highlighted the lack of radiologists across the UK  and crisis we face in the next few years as many current radiologists hit retirement age.

The Royal College of Radiologists Report showed that in the ten year period from 2002-03 to 2012-13 showed:

  • Number of imaging and radiodiagnostic examinations or tests increased from 27 million to nearly 40 million.
  • Fewer than half the vacant interventional posts were successfully appointed to.
  • In general radiology three in every four posts advertised at small and medium non-teaching hospitals failed to result in an appointment in 2012.
  • A total of 283 unfilled consultant posts were identified as of 31 December 2012
  • More than one in five of the consultant workforce in the East of England and South East Coast, and one in four in Wales, are estimated to retire in the next five years.
  • Almost one in three of the current consultant clinical radiology workforce is expected to retire in the next ten years.

Dr. Crowe & Dr. Cleveland at Westminster

Dr Paul Crowe and BSIR Vice President Dr. Trevor Cleveland at Westminster

Dr Cleveland said:

“This is a critical issue that needs to be given significant Government focus. As we have seen the number of radiodiagnostic tests continue to increase every year as does the need for urgent image guided treatments. However, the number of qualified radiologists has not increased to support it. A significant number of tests are now being reported by Radiologists outside the UK, or by private suppliers. The situation is also acute in interventional radiology, especially when you look at the number of interventional radiologists that are set to retire in the next few years. Whilst there is a recognition that more Radiologists and Interventional Radiologists are needed, the overall increase in training numbers is tiny.

For patients the situation is critical. Access to radiology treatment conducted by qualified radiologists is critical in delivering rapid treatment to patients (including those suffering trauma, bleeding and strokes). Given the current Government’s objective of delivering a 7 day NHS, part of which will mean radiology services delivered 24/7, this situation needs addressing urgently.”

What is the BSIR?

The BSIR is a charitable foundation founded to promote and develop the practice of Interventional Radiology.

What are the main objectives of the society?

  • To support and develop access to high quality information on Interventional Radiology for patients and all healthcare professionals.
  • To support audit and research in Interventional Radiology
  • To support education and training in Interventional Radiology