Facing ever increasing demands, an ageing population, and an increase in the complexity of imaging examinations, the Cheshire and Merseyside Radiology Imaging Network (CAMRIN) are working to make radiology services sustainable across the region.
Trusts within Cheshire and Merseyside have been working collaboratively since they joined together to procure their Radiology Information System (RIS) and Picture Archiving Communication Software (PACS) in 2012. This approach was groundbreaking and the first of its type in England; it is now seen as the gold standard for imaging networks. The joint system provides the cornerstone for transformation and collaborative working across Cheshire and Merseyside as it enables the separation of the local acquisition of images from the reporting. Since 2016; 12 Trusts have come together to work on a large scale change programme to improve services for patients and staff.
Fast forward to 2019 and the NHS Long Term Plan was published. Within this document a commitment was made to develop imaging networks:
By 2023, diagnostic imaging networks will enable the rapid transfer of clinical images from care settings close to the patient to the relevant specialist clinician to interpret. This open standards-based infrastructure will enable both the rapid adoption of new assistive technologies to support improved and timely image reporting, as well as the development of large clinical data banks to fuel research and innovation.
Since this policy commitment was made CAMRIN have been been successful in receiving sign up to a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) by all Trusts, bidding for funding to support the transformations and developing a sound governance structure that feeds into the Cheshire & Merseyside Health Care Partnership.
As a result of the funding received a programme management office was established in January 2019 and subsequently a formal programme of change.
There are five programmes that currently sit within CAMRIN, diagram 2 details the projects that currently sit within each programme and a data work stream that runs through all of them.
The clinical transformation programme conducts specialist service reviews to ensure an increase in quality of services, a reduction in variation for patients and to improve sustainability of radiology imaging services. It supports the standardisation of pathways and collaborates closely with the Cheshire and Merseyside Cancer Alliance. The programme is also looking at bringing outsourced reporting back into the NHS by developing a radiology reporting collaborative.
Data and access to it is key to improving care and transforming radiology imaging services. CAMRIN are looking at how they can deliver benefits to patients by developing a network wide approach to working with data and developing a capacity and demand planning tool.
The digital delivery programme works to implement new technology to support improvements in patient care across Cheshire and Merseyside. CAMRIN achieved ground breaking collaboration in 2013 with a collective approach to digital radiology systems, this has facilitated the delivery of patient care by enabling rapid access to clinical images throughout clinical environments. CAMRIN are continually building on this and have a variety of projects in progress within the digital delivery programme. This includes looking at innovative artificial intelligence products.
CAMRIN work together to maximise the NHS resources by working collaboratively on procurement. This approach also minimises unwarranted variation in systems and equipment. There are various projects running within the procurement programme which include digital systems, capital replacement, equipment maintenance and consumerable spend.
With so many demands on imaging services and strategic drivers, it is crucial that the workforce is able to deliver. Professor Sir Mike Richards has recommended large increases in the number of imaging staff over the next five years. The workforce vision is:
‘To develop and nurture a skilled workforce that will provide the current and future imaging needs of patients across the North – West of England, embracing new technology and models of high – quality service delivery’.
Due to its network maturity and having dedicated resource, CAMRIN have worked with colleagues in the North West of England and from other regions to develop a NW Imaging Workforce Strategy.
The strategy is aligned with the HEE STAR model i.e. leadership and management; ways to increase supply; up skilling current staff; new roles and new ways of working. It covers the staff groups involved in delivering imaging services, mainly Radiologists, Diagnostic Radiographers and Sonographers, Assistant Practitioner Radiographers and Radiology Support Workers. It also considers other staff groups associated with imaging services, mainly Medical Physicists, Radiology Nurses, PACS/RIS teams and Clerical and administration staff.
An implementation plan for use by workforce teams in each Integrated Care System is currently being developed.
All these programmes contribute to towards CAMRINs:
To find out more about CAMRIN and the work they have been doing please read their regular newsletter.
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