UK’s NHS radiology services under review after 20,000 X-rays go unread

The National Health Service’s Care Quality Commission has launched a national review of its radiology services after indications that more than 20,000 chest x-rays and 2,000 abdomen X-rays of patients were not interpreted by trained personnel.

Investigators also found three “serious incidences” of patients at the Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth, England, with the possible spread of lung cancer because inexperienced junior radiologists were interpreting the scans.

"Patient X-rays must be viewed as quickly as possible by a radiologist or appropriately trained clinician,” Nicola Strickland, MD, president of the Royal College of Radiologists, told Ella Pickover of The Independent. "That the Queen Alexandra Hospital encouraged staff who were not suitably trained to review them, in an attempt to manage its sheer volume of unreported scans, is a concern.”

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