De­lay in reading can­cer scans due to lack of spe­cial­ists

The Scotsman - - News Digest - By Chris Green

Thou­sands of can­cer scans taken in Scot­tish hos­pi­tals are not be­ing viewed for more than a month due a short­age of spe­cial­ist doc­tors, ac­cord­ing to a new re­port.

The de­lays in in­ter­pret­ing the im­ages are ex­tremely se­ri­ous and could be putting pa­tients’ lives at risk, the Royal Col­lege of Ra­di­ol­o­gists (RCR) warned.

A snap­shot study in April found that there were around 4,000 can­cer scans sit­ting in Scot­tish hos­pi­tals that had not been in­ter­preted more than 30 days af­ter be­ing

taken. The RCR said the prob­lem was due to a lack of ra­di­ol­o­gists, who in­ter­pret scans to help di­ag­nose con­di­tions such as can­cer and also pro­vide some treat­ments.

“This is about pa­tient safety. Within some of these un­re­ported films there are bound to be pa­tients with can­cer. We see it as a huge safety is­sue,” Grant Bax­ter, chair­man of the RCR’S Scot­tish com­mit­tee said.

The RCR also con­ducted a cen­sus of staffing in ra­di­ol­ogy across the UK, which found that one in ten posts in Scot­land is ly­ing va­cant. At least a fifth of the work­force is also ex­pected to re­tire over the next five years.

Although the num­ber of full-time ra­di­ol­o­gists work­ing in Scot­land has in­creased by 7 per cent over the past five years, the num­ber of can­cer di­ag­nos­tic scans taken rose at a much higher rate. The num­ber of MRI scans and CT scans, which are both im­por­tant for di­ag­nos­ing can­cer, in­creased by 67 per cent and 62 per cent re­spec­tively.

“These fig­ures are fur­ther proof of the short­ages that are im­pact­ing on can­cer tests across the coun­try,” said Gre­gor Mc­nie of Can­cer Re­search UK.

0 Dame Sally Davies warns of the risk of overuse of an­tibi­otics for public health

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.