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Radiographer reporting is well established in the UK and makes a major contribution to clinical imaging services. Diagnostic image interpretation and clinical reporting are legally and legitimately within the scope of radiographer practice and have been for many years.
Radiographers do not require the ‘permission’ of any other professionals to undertake roles in image interpretation and clinical reporting. They are, however, responsible and accountable for their practice and should take every opportunity to maintain and develop their knowledge, skills and competence. Radiographers who undertake reporting, at any level, should engage with robust audit processes to evidence their competence on an on-going basis.
The Society and College of Radiographers expects radiographers and other healthcare professionals to undertake image interpretation and reporting in a spirit of interprofessional respect and collaboration, with a willingness to share and develop knowledge and skills, in the interests of patients and referrers.
The SCoR recognises two levels of radiographer reporting:
Clinical reporting: describes the activity of radiographers and other professionals who have received accredited postgraduate training that enables them to produce a diagnostic report. The quality of the reporting delivered should meet agreed ‘gold standards’, irrespective of the professional background of the reporting practitioner. Clinical reporting by radiographers constitutes advanced practice.
Initial commenting: is the term used for situations in which radiographers assess image appearances and make a judgement based on their interpretation. This process is a natural development following the use of red dot and similar schemes which have been in place for many years but adds considerable value to the referrer and enhances the practice of the radiographer. It improves our service to the patient and referrer and dispels many of the ambiguities associated with the red dot system. The resulting judgement should, for governance purposes, be in a written form, regardless of protocol and in law constitutes a report in the semantic sense, although it should be made clear to the referrer that this is not a formal report as described above.