Report shows NHS radiology systems require improvement

Posted By Kirsty Dakin - 9th September 2021

A recent report by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO), which looked at 25 complaints concerning failings in patient care relating to radiology, has revealed that NHS radiology systems require urgent improvement.

Imaging is the start of many patients’ medical care and treatment and failings in this area can have life-changing consequences for patients and their families.

The report found the following issues with radiology services within the NHS:

  1. A failure to follow national guidelines on reporting unexpected imaging findings
  2. A failure to act on important unexpected findings
  3. Delays in reporting imaging findings
  4. Failure to learn from past mistakes

The report has made a number of recommendations to improve imaging services. These include implementing previous recommendations made by the care Quality Commission, Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch and the Independent Review of Diagnostic Services, improving digital infrastructure, ensuring that staff triangulate services across the NHS and guidance for unexpected radiology findings to be reviewed.

Rob Behrens, the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, said that the report showed ‘that some NHS trusts do not have clear and effective policies, processes or systems to ensure that imaging results are reported and acted upon.’

Mr Behrens also stressed that that a multi-faceted and collaborative approach is required ‘to drive through the changes required to ensure patients receive timely and effective diagnosis and treatment.’ He has also highlighted that the ‘Government and the NHS need to address the failings we have identified, so the challenges created by the pandemic are not compounded by problems with care.’

The report has been welcomed by the Royal College of Radiologists (RCR). However, the latest data from the RCR shows that at least another 2000 radiologists are required in the UK to meet demand and ensure safe practice and training continues for future demands to be met.

At Moosa-Duke Solicitors we welcome the report’s findings and hope that the recommendations will be implemented to ensure that patients receive safe and timely care and treatment.

Moosa-Duke Solicitors are experienced clinical negligence solicitors and have dealt with many cases concerning radiology. If you believe that you or a loved one has suffered because of radiology services, please feel free to call us on 0116 254 7456 for a no-obligation discussion.