Regions throughout the UK are grappling with low staff numbers in their radiology departments. According to the Royal College of Radiologists in Scotland, there has been a 10 percent increase in radiology demands over the last five years. The RCR was promised 10 additional trainees per year, and they need 25 more a year in order to keep up with patient needs.
Grant Baxter, MD, the chair of the RCR in Scotland, told the BBC, "If we do not address this issue now, there simply won't be a service in the next three, four, five years.” The radiologist shortage in Scotland isn’t news to anyone. Last year, the need for radiology services had increased by 55 percent, and Dr. Baxter had declared that Scottish radiology was on the brink of collapse.
In Northern Ireland, the Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) found that 40 radiology positions remain unfilled. The RCR attributes the shortages to factors such as “inadequate training numbers and the retirement of radiologists.” The HSCB has launched campaigns to recruit more radiologists; however, according to practitioners, the lack of high salaries are deterring radiologists from working in Northern Ireland.
The Care Quality Commission has reported that in Accident and Emergency Departments (AE) in England, imaging scans can take anywhere from one hour to two business days to process. For some general practitioner referrals, it could take up to 21 days to relay imaging reports. These delays could be a result of the lack of radiologists in English hospitals.