The United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS) is suffering from an extreme lack of interventional radiologists. According to The Guardian, as a result of the shortage, many patients are forced to undergo unnecessary procedures that result in permanent and unwanted physical repercussions.
According to The Guardian, there are 44 percent fewer interventional radiologists than NHS hospitals require. The NHS needs 735 specialists in order to provide 24/7 service; however, according to data from the Royal College of Radiologists (RCR), there are only 414.
As a result of this tremendous deficit, women who have recently given birth and are suffering from hemorrhaging must receive a hysterectomy in order to prevent them from “bleeding to death.” Other patients have no other choice but to wear a colostomy bag after undergoing a colon removal surgery. With the sparse numbers of interventional radiologists, some patients who suffer from stroke are not able to receive specialized treatment and end up permanently disabled.
Dr. Trevor Cleveland, the president of the British Society of Interventional Radiology and interventional radiologist at the Sheffield Vascular Institute told the paper that in order to get adequate medical attention, some patients are forced to travel up to 100 miles away so they can see an interventional radiologist.
The Department of Health refrained from speaking out about the shortage, but said that there are 29 percent more clinical radiologists now than in 2010. “There is no doubt that around the country people are dying or coming to serious harm due to the lack of interventional radiology provision in their area, although we can’t explicitly quantify how many people die or suffer because they do not get seen by an interventional radiologist,” said Dr. Nicola Strickland, president of the RCR.