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Concerns over condition of NHS radiography equipment

Friday 19th May 2017
Radiographers are calling on healthcare leaders to invest in updating body scanning equipment to ensure it is future-proofed. Image: LeventKonuk via iStock
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    NHS radiographers and radiologists are calling on health service leaders to take action to update the scanning equipment they use in their everyday jobs to ensure it is future-proofed for the next generation.

    A new report carried out by the Clinical Imaging Board - which comprises members of the Royal College of Radiologists, the Society and College of Radiographers and the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine - found that one in 13 MRI and other types of body scanner being used by the NHS are no longer functioning correctly, rendering them useless.

    Overall, this means that eight per cent of MRI scanners can no longer be used correctly, with almost one-third (29 per cent) of these machines at least ten years old, despite a decade being the recommended maximum length of time for a scanner's use.

    The Clinical Imaging Board's research also led to the discovery that only half of UK hospitals have plans in place to update their scanning machines in the near future.

    Several healthcare facilities were found to be using MRI scanners that were at least seven years old, but only two in five of these hospitals had a strategy in place for updating these.

    As a result, it is likely that these machines will also end up becoming obsolete after they reach the end of their recommended ten-year lifespan, unless action is taken to update them now.

    Dr Nicola Strickland, president of the Royal College of Radiologists, commented: "Radiology departments are already struggling with ever-growing workloads and not enough staff, and many now face working with outdated equipment.

    "The NHS needs to invest in the future of imaging and help radiology teams plan ahead. Regardless of whether their MRI systems are two, five or ten years old, hospital managers must ensure they have appropriate plans in place to replace scanners as they age and technology continues to improve."

    Written by Megan Smith

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