Radiology and diagnostics

Radiology and diagnostic services are vital to almost every specialty in the NHS, to ensure patients receive high-quality, effective and timely treatment and care. The NHS carries out more than 43m radiological procedures annually (2018/19) providing X-rays, ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), fluoroscopy and computed axial tomography (CT), and also intervention radiology (IR), to help diagnose and treat injuries and diseases.

There is increasing demand for MRI and CT scans; CT figures doubled from 250,000 per month to 500,000 between 2012 and 2019, while MRI figures rose from 170,000 to 320,000 per month in the same period.

GIRFT’s Radiology National Report makes 20 recommendations to help maximise existing capacity and plan for expansion with the creation of community diagnostic hubs, away from hospitals.

In addition, GIRFT’s pathology workstream presents the development of an overarching quality framework – called the Clean Framework – to help pathology networks and labs widen their focus to include the pre-analytical and post-analytical stages of the diagnostic pathway.

The Pathology National Report recommends that The Clean Framework is established as the governing ethos for pathology testing – including tests for COVID-19 – and as the basis of pathology accreditation throughout the healthcare system. GIRFT is now working with national bodies to embed the framework across the whole end-to-end pathway, starting with primary care and emergency departments.

Dr Giles Maskell OBE

Clinical Lead for Radiology

Dr Giles Maskell OBE has been a consultant radiologist in Truro since 1991.

He was previously president of the Royal College of Radiologists from 2013-2016. He has particular interests in radiological error and in building and maintaining a healthy culture in radiology departments.

He was awarded the OBE for services to diagnostic radiology in June 2023.

Alex Barnacle

Clinical Lead for Interventional Radiology

Alex is a paediatric interventional radiologist at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, London. Originally from Zimbabwe, she trained in the UK and Australia and has been a consultant at GOSH since 2006. Her main clinical interests are vascular anomalies, renal stone disease and interventional oncology.

Alex has a longstanding interest in service improvement and leads on several initiatives to develop paediatric IR within the UK and Europe. She is on the executive committee of The British Society of Interventional Radiology (BSIR) and a member of the IR committee of the Royal College of Radiologists (RCR). She authored the RCR 2022 document ‘Improving Paediatric Interventional Radiology Services in the UK’.

She founded Paediatric IR UK, an annual multidisciplinary meeting for the sharing of paediatric IR knowledge and skills, and was the RCR-BSIR Travelling Professor for IR in 2018.

Vicky Goh

Senior Clinical Advisor for Radiology (imaging networks)

Vicky is an academic radiologist at Guy’s & St Thomas’ Hospitals and head of department of cancer imaging at the School of Biomedical Engineering and Imaging Sciences, King’s College London.

Her work centres on improving standards of care and patient outcomes. Her research is focused on improving cancer detection and evaluation through imaging innovation and artificial intelligence. She has a longstanding interest in education and workforce development in the UK and Europe.

She is the past Chair of the Royal College of Radiologists’ Academic Committee and workforce lead of the National Institute of Health and Care Research Imaging Group. She has served as president of the European Society of Oncologic Imaging.

She is currently imaging lead for the World Health Organization Classification of Tumours and senior deputy editor for Radiology, the top-ranking journal for radiology.

Elaine Quick

Clinical Advisor for Radiology

Elaine is an experienced Imaging Specialist with a demonstrated history of working in the hospital & health care industry. Skilled in NHS, Healthcare Information Technology (HIT), Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS), Healthcare Management, and Medical Imaging. 

Dr Kath Halliday

Former GIRFT Clinical Lead for Radiology

Dr Kath Halliday is past chair of the British Society of Paediatric Radiology from 2010 to 2016. She has been a consultant paediatric radiologist in Nottingham since 1998. She has a special interest in the imaging of non-accidental injury and provides expert opinion for cases throughout the UK. She was appointed as president of the Royal College of Radiologists in 2022.

Useful information

  • Transforming imaging services in England: In 2019, NHS England published a national strategy setting out a proposal for implementing collaborative imaging networks on a national basis across England, delivering better quality care, better value services for patients and providing NHS staff opportunities to develop their career and increase their productivity.

  • In December 2023, NHS England published guidance for enhancing GP direct access to diagnostic tests for patients with clinical features of suspected chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma or heart failure. Click here to read or download.

GIRFT radiology report puts patients at the centre of the post-COVID service

Improving the experience of patients should be at the heart of work to increase capacity in radiology services within the constraints of COVID-19, according to a new national report on the specialty from the Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT) programme. 

Professor Sir Mike Richards’ recent review of diagnostic services Diagnostics: Recovery and Renewal called for an urgent increase in diagnostic provision, including the creation of community diagnostic hubs, or ‘one-stop shops’ away from hospitals.

This aligns with recommendations in the GIRFT report, which identifies ways of maximising existing capacity and planning service expansion. Other patient-centred measures outlined in the report include: online booking and extended hours for outpatient appointments, dedicated day case units or beds for patients having interventional radiology procedures and delivering faster results by increasing the amount of reporting carried out at home by radiologists and reporting radiographers. 

Find out more about GIRFT’s data-led approach and best practice resources:

In November 2020, GIRFT published its national speciality report for Radiology:

Click above to view the pdf report

Watch the video about the Radiology report…

Click above to play the Radiology national report video

Radiology and Diagnostics Academy Resources