2018 Radiology Services Conference review

The conference season was launched on Thursday 20th September with a national event to present the findings of one of our longest running projects, Benchmarking & Good Practice in Radiology Services. We were delighted to see so many returning and new members attend, to take a first look at the benchmarking results for 2018.

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Kath Halliday, Clinical Lead for the NHS Improvement GIRFT programme, commenced the event as the keynote speaker, providing an update from the GIRFT Radiology workstream. The GIRFT programme aims to identify the variation in process and outcomes, share good practice and improve quality of care. Kath made reference to site visits throughout the presentation, which will enable the sharing of good practice. Throughout the GIRFT process, standards of practice for reporting and competence based reporting have emerged as central issues.  

Next to speak was the first of three good practice speakers focusing on advanced practice. Homerton University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust have found that having reporting Radiographers in the Emergency Department setting has positive outcomes. The case study presented by Nick Woznitza demonstrated excellent opportunities for improved speed of reporting, that could be replicated by other Trusts.

The theme of advanced practice continued with a presentation from Warrington & Halton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, in which Lindsay Watkinson presented a personal account of her training and championed the opportunities within advanced practice training in nuclear medicine.

Our member good practice continued with a presentation from Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust on workforce recruitment and retention. Sara Bharmal presented a range of recruitment initiatives undertaken by the Trust, with reference to preceptorships, induction processes and Open Days. Their combined workforce initiatives have resulted in an impressively low 5% vacancy rate in their Imaging workforce compared with an 8.4% vacancy rate across all Trust staff.

Staying with the theme of training, we heard from Gill Harrison, Ultrasound Programme Director for City, University of London, who focused on reporting Sonographers. Gill set out a variety of options for meeting demands of reporting Sonographers required in the healthcare system.

The topic of advanced practice returned in the afternoon, with Maryann Hardy from the University of Bradford. Maryann raised thought-provoking ideas about how advanced practice will never be mainstream practice, explaining how it should be an activity that is new and not widely adopted, which leads to measurable service development and improvement. There was also a focus on the definition of role substitution within the area of advanced practice.

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Network Director, Stephen Watkins, presented our 2018 Radiology benchmarking findings. The Radiology Services project has now completed its’ eighth phase and summary findings include:

  1. Activity continues to rise with CT and MRI seeing the largest growth

  2. 87% of inpatient plain film x-rays were performed on the same day as requested

  3. The median waiting time for urgent inpatients CT scans was 4 hours

  4. The average unit cost for Imaging has fallen to £42 per examination

  5. Consultant Radiologist vacancy rates have fallen marginally to 14%

  6. 17% of organisations are now ISAS accredited

The NHS Benchmarking Network recognise the duplication of work with Model Hospital and appreciate member participation in the NHSBN programme. Project outputs, including bespoke and national reports, will be circulated in November. Thank you to all speakers and delegates for their input in the event and the project.

You can register onto our other Network conferences via the members’ area or contact Emma Pruce for more information.