A plan for radiographers to undertake the majority of plain film reporting across Scotland by 2013 was condemned as irresponsible, unrealistic and unattainable.
Edinburgh consultant radiologist Maeve McPhillips said the plan had been revealed in a three-line statement in a consultation on the AHP (allied health professionals) workforce.
She said most of the AHP National Delivery Plan, published by the Scottish government in February, was about occupational therapists, physiotherapists, art therapists, podiatry, home care and rehab and was mainly concerned with the care of older people.
But ‘apparently out of the blue’ there was a proposal stating AHP directors will work with directors of diagnostic services to drive the roll-out of radiographers undertaking 80 per cent of plain film reporting across NHS Scotland by 2013.
Radiologists under threat
Dr McPhillips said while radiographers maybe interested in expanding their skills in reporting ‘if they assume the role of reporting radiographers it depletes the numbers of those available to do the radiographs’.
She added that the 80 per cent figure ‘had made even the most pioneering radiographers laugh out loud’.
Salisbury GP Helena McKeown told the BMA annual representative meeting that she feared radiologists were under more threat than any other specialty as trusts tried to cut costs by outsourcing image reporting abroad.
She appealed to NHS commissioners: ‘Do not be tempted into outsourcing radiography. Do not be tempted to do what Scotland is doing.’
Dr McKeown added that the plan was ‘irresponsible, unrealistic and unattainable’.