News & Events

Outsourcing investments have doubled in the NHS, according to the RCR

18 October 2018

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Every year the Royal College of Radiologists (RCR) takes on the valuable work of giving us a snapshot of Clinical Radiology. In its 2017 census, there are, as ever, some important new findings.

Let’s start with teleradiology. Over the past 10 years, Everlight Radiology has been offering a lifeline for vital radiology services, and the 2017 report highlights exactly why such a need arose: an increasing gap between the supply and demand of UK radiologists. Rising demand accounts for an increased diagnostic reporting workload of roughly a third over the last five years.

The report also states that radiology services will need to cope with the extra shortfall as a result of the increase in demand, which RCR forecasts to be 1,600 consultants in five years’ time: that’s an increase from a 1,000 consultant shortfall recorded in 2017.

It is an established fact that the crisis in workforce shortages requires urgent attention. At Everlight, we load balance imaging cases across our global network of GMC registered, FRCR  consultants to match rising and falling demand. Our ‘following the sun’ business model, in which radiologists who are qualified to UK standards are based in Australia, allows us to tap into extra capacity and from a different pool of consultants than those currently in the NHS, providing consultants during daytime hours but around the clock.

Outsourced reporting services are, in these times, necessary. According to the RCR, NHS outsourcing investment has doubled from the cost of three years ago. The RCR’s report notes that despite the increase in outsourcing and insourcing to meet demand -- 44% of radiology departments said that at least some images were being auto reported or unreported. If increased demand is leading to missed or delayed diagnoses, then companies like Everlight can make the difference as a provider, precisely because we focus on how to reduce the burden on overworked consultants.

We take that responsibility seriously: in our commitment to outcomes, for example, we aim to report all preliminary trauma reports within 20 minutes, suspected strokes in under 30 mins and all other urgent reports within 60 minutes. All serviced by emergency radiology specialists.

Rising demand is the big problem: outsourcing and insourcing play a role in the solution. The RCR, as always, is doing great work to highlight both the issues and the possible remedies. We look forward to working in partnership with the RCR going forward, to drive the reform agenda together, and I’d like to thank them personally for providing yet another highly informative and instructive report.