Cancer priority pathway
The imaging network has been working with Cheshire and Merseyside Cancer Alliance to ensure that radiology services meet the challenges set by the introduction of local and national optimal diagnosis and assessment pathways for the four priority areas – lung, colorectal, prostate and upper GI. Representative from Trusts involved in each of these pathways have joined an Imaging delivery group, each led by one or two consultant radiologists who specialise in the particular area acting as clinical leads. The groups have reviewed current practice at all the Trusts and data is being gathered to demonstrate whether imaging investigations are being performed within the timescales set in the pathways. The core aim of this workstream is to improve diagnosis turnaround times and align processes across the region to increase the quality of the images produced, for the benefit of both patients and staff.
The clinical transformation programme is focusing on areas within radiology that are currently experiencing issues that can’t be easily resolved in order to make them clinically & financially sustainable going forward, the current areas of focus are:
- Interventional Radiology review
- Development of a collaborative hub for reporting
- Paediatric Radiology review
- Breast services review.
Data Analytics is key to ensuring that imaging services are sustainable into the future. The ever increasing role of modern imaging in clinical care has led to a relentless increase in demand, particularly for complex imaging techniques such as CT and MRI scans which has outstripped the ability of the current NHS services to cope. Over the next six months, this workstream will be focusing on capacity and demand data available, development of a ‘Did Not Attend’ predictor and benefits realisation, and demand optimisation plan.
This is an exciting time for the Trusts in Cheshire and Merseyside as the imaging network support the implementation of a shared workflow across all the Radiology departments. We are aiming to be able to share any radiology image within any Trust in Cheshire and Merseyside so that it can be reported on by the right person first time and the outcome can be fed back to the originating Trust for clinicians to see in a timely manner.
We are also looking at pilots for AI solutions, with it being a very exciting time for new technology to be used within the NHS as a support tool for clinicians. The pilots are at the early stages but we are very keen to see how AI can be used within radiology to assist our clinicians.
The other initiative the imaging network is progressing supports all of our other Ologies departments, we want to be able to prove a central repository for all of our ologies images so they can be safely archived and are easily accessible for our staff as and when the images are required.
The key objective for the imaging networks procurement programme is to obtain the best pricing through economies of scale, reduce price variation and improve service delivery. We are engaging with all 13 Trusts through the imaging and procurement departments. The initial priorities are:
- Developed a fixed rate for outsources reporting payments across the region
- Collaborative procurement for capital equipment
- Collaborative procurement for non-pay consumables.
This will ensure we are utilising taxpayer’s money most efficiently.
Workforce and quality
There is plenty of documented evidence to prove that there are not enough radiologists and radiographers to handle the current and increasing demand for imaging services.
The main aim of the network workforce programme is to provide a collaborative approach to work force planning.