Our radiology team praised for teamwork in national NHS report

Thursday 11th March 2021

Our radiology team praised for teamwork in national NHS report

Queen Victoria Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has been praised in an NHS national report for making the most efficient use of its radiology team to help increase capacity.

The report by the Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT) programme – written by Dr Katharine Halliday, a leading radiologist from Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust – examines ways of meeting the ever-increasing demand on radiology units in England within the constraints of COVID-19, at the same time as shaping a better service for those who use it.

As a specialist surgical trust, Queen Victoria Hospital has seen a ten per cent year on year increase in demand for its radiology services over the last decade. However, the NHS nationally suffers with a shortage of radiology staff. That is where the hospital came up with its own solution which has not only succeeded but increased staff retention.

The GIRFT report praises the hospital for the way it has developed the radiology department assistants (RDA) role to help improve patient experience and efficiency of the department. RDAs play a pivotal role in getting patients into the system more quickly, including checking the urgency of the procedure, that the correct procedures have been requested and confirming patient details. They also prepare equipment enabling radiologists and sonographers to focus on performing procedures such as biopsy and sialography.

The Trust has introduced a standard induction and mentoring process to help new RDAs develop the skills they need. The approach has helped improve departmental productivity and effectiveness, and enabled the hospital to meet its 62 day targets (patients beginning their first treatment for cancer within 62 days following an urgent GP referral for suspected cancer) including during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr Ian Francis, consultant radiologist and Director of Clinical Strategy at Queen Victoria Hospital, said: “As a specialist surgical hospital we provide a one stop diagnostic shop for patients – for example someone in the space of one visit could have an MRI scan, receive their diagnosis and then an ultrasound scan. It’s important that as a team we support patients especially if they are anxious or have additional needs and this is where our radiology department assistants have really come into their own. They are fantastic, always showing initiative and it means that as radiologists we can concentrate on more complex work whilst our patients continue to receive the best care we can provide.”

Talking about her role, Suzie Deighton, radiology department assistant, said: “We are encouraged to learn and are supported by the team to increase our own skills which is brilliant. We support patients through their whole journey, from the waiting list right through to picking up if they feel anxious when they come for their procedure. Having a thirst for knowledge and passion to do the best we can for our patients is an important part of being a radiology department assistant and it’s a role I really enjoy.”

The GIRFT report is based on visits to more than 140 radiology units across England. You can read the full report here [click here]

Pictured: Dr Ian Francis and Suzie Deighton showing radiology team working in action

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