Radiology is a key diagnostic and interventional service for the NHS. Radiology supports patients across the full range of specialties in acute hospitals and makes a huge contribution in providing diagnostics to primary care and community services. The impact that Radiology has on health systems is considerable. The 2016 project confirms that demand for diagnostics has continued to increase at a rate significantly higher than overall growth rates for both elective and urgent care.
This year, 87 organisations have contributed data to the project. Submissions cover English Trusts, Welsh Health Boards (HB), and for the first time a Scottish Health Board.
A national report and excel toolkit are available to members via the online members’ area. The toolkit contains hundreds of benchmarked metrics and participants can choose a range of benchmarking denominators which include financial size, inpatient SPELLS and admissions, outpatient attendances, A&E attendances and staffing based benchmarks. This year, to supplement the excel toolkit and national report, bespoke dashboard reports have been issued for each participating Trust / HB summarising individual organisation position on the headline metrics covered by the project.
Highlights from the 2015/16 audit
- The findings from this year’s Radiology benchmarking project describe a service that is experiencing rising levels of demand across the NHS. Overall activity levels increased by 7% in 2015/16.
- Despite the increases in demand, Radiology departments managed to improve reporting times in the last year. Plain film x-rays are now reported on average 1-2 days quicker than last year.
- Outsourcing of examinations increased marginally in 2015/16, with most of this growth attributable to MRI scans.
- Radiology staffing levels have increased marginally in absolute numbers in the last year, but when benchmarked using activity denominators, staffing levels have reduced which demonstrates a clear productivity gain for Radiology departments.
- Waiting times for direct access services remain challenging for many departments, with evidence of pressure on the 6-week diagnostics waiting time.
The Network’s Steering Group has confirmed that the Radiology project will feature in the Network’s 2017/18 work programme. This project will collect 2016/17 data.
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