Nuclear medicine and radionuclide imaging: a strategy for provision in the UK

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Produced by the Intercollegiate Standing Committee on Nuclear Medicine, published January 2003

Nuclear medicine provides essential diagnostic tools for hospital medicine. Nuclear medicine services are already indispensable to physicians in a number of specialties: the addition of positron emission tomography (PET) to the field will increase diagnostic range and accuracy. The challenge of maintaining current facilities while introducing a comprehensive PET service is addressed in this report from the Intercollegiate Standing Committee on Nuclear Medicine (ICSCNM).

This document outlines short- and long-term solutions to the impending manpower crisis in nuclear medicine, about which the ICSNM has been concerned for some time. A variety of factors have conspired to produce this crisis; among them a shortage of trainees, the growth of the specialty and further manpower and resource issues such as the introduction of PET and the likelihood that many nuclear medicine consultants will retire over the next few years.

The real possibility that nuclear medicine services will collapse in the near future is addressed by this report. It discusses the problem in detail, sets out a strategy which could allow the service to continue until such time as the overall medical manpower shortage has been reversed, and suggests a more permanent solution to the problem.

Resolutely practical, the report, which is available to download as a pdf, contains action points throughout and, in the conclusion, summarises the issues which need to be addressed. The hub and spoke model it clearly outlines will be indispensable in the search for a solution to the problems that nuclear medicine is currently facing. 

Contents

  • Introduction
  • Recent surveys
  • Current problems and their solutions: service provision, replacing retiring staff and an alternative method for service delivery while maintaining or improving quality
  • Suggested strategy for the provision of service
  • Conclusion

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