South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has today branded the Scottish Governments record on the NHS as "shameful", following reports that highlight that only 2 radiologist specialists per 100,000 people are positioned in Dumfries and Galloway to cover the region.
The report from the Royal College of Radiologists (RCR) which said Scottish radiology is on the "brink of collapse", shows that Dumfries and Galloway has the lowest doctor to population ratio in Scotland.
Scotland as a whole has 8 radiologists (all levels) per 100,000 people, and the EU average is 12 to 100,000; placing Dumfries and Galloway well below its counterparts.
Commenting on the report South Scotland MSP and Shadow Health Minister Colin Smyth MSP said,
“Ten years of mismanagement by the SNP has created a workface crisis in our NHS and rural areas like Dumfries and Galloway are always hit most because we have the biggest challenges when it comes to recruitment. The fact there is only two radiologists to cover 100,000 people in Dumfries and Galloway is truly shameful. Radiologists are just the latest group to add to GPs, consultants and a whole host of healthcare professionals to speak out against the SNPs lack of funding to the NHS and sadly its patients whose lose out".
Scottish patients are experiencing delays of a month or more to diagnosis and treatment of diseases such as cancer due to a shortage of qualified radiologists RCR has warned.
The lack of radiologists specialising in interventional radiology in particular means that only two of the 12 Health Boards can currently offer full 24-hour cover for emergency minimally invasive pinhole procedures, such as those to stop bleeding after a road traffic accident or after childbirth.
Scotland already has a lower number of radiologists than comparable European countries. The impact of this has been exacerbated by a combination of additional factors including chronically vacant posts, imminent retirements and low trainee numbers, alongside a 55 per cent increase in demand for services in just five years. These have all contributed to spiralling delays which doctors believe are now at crisis point, posing a serious and immediate risk to patient safety.
Commenting on the measures, RCR spokesman Dr Grant Baxter, Consultant Radiologist and chairman of the College’s Standing Scottish Committee said:
“Having been a doctor for 34 years I have never seen it as bad as this. Scottish radiology is on the brink of collapse, and if that happens there will be no medical diagnoses or surgical operations at all, since none can occur without radiologists interpreting the scans and X-rays. A perfect storm of increased demand, no significant increase in consultant numbers or trainees, chronically unfilled posts and a tsunami of expected retirements in the next three years means that we need a sustainable solution NOW for the sake of our patients”
For further information on the report visit: https://www.rcr.ac.uk/posts/scottish-patients-risk-radiologist-shortage