29th September 2021: The National Clinical Programme of Radiology has recommended the training of approximately 30 additional interventional radiologists to deliver 24/7 access to vital life-saving treatment for patients in Ireland.  The Group made its recommendation in its ‘Model of Care for Interventional Radiology’ report at the opening of RCSI Faculty of Radiologists’ Annual Scientific Meeting in Dublin today.

The Model of Care report was developed for Ireland as part of a Europe-wide strategy to provide equity of access to interventional radiology and life-saving minimally invasive surgery to patients. 

Radiology is the term used to describe the use of imaging technology such as CT scans, ultrasound, MRI and X-rays to see inside the body and detect various diseases. Interventional radiology is a growing practice that involves the use of similar imaging technology to perform minimally invasive life-saving surgical procedures such as the insertion of stents into arteries and veins, blocking  arteries that are actively bleeding such as in trauma or bleeding from the gut, local tumour treatment in cancer and many more minimally invasive treatments throughout the body.  The United States and Canada as well as many European countries have recognised interventional radiology as a distinct specialty and European medical societies are now working to achieve speciality status for interventional radiology in all EU countries.

Professor Colin Cantwell, Consultant Radiologist, St Vincent’s University Hospital said: ‘Healthcare systems around the world are recognising the role of interventional radiology in the delivery of organ and life-saving treatment for patients.  24/7 access to interventional radiology can make a big difference to patient outcomes, particularly in trauma, cancer, obstetrics and urology.  Ireland needs at least an additional 150 radiologists over the next decade, including approximately 30 interventional radiologists to provide this service and bring us in line with the European average of 8 consultant radiologists per 100,000 population.  This report sets out a path to this goal and ultimately to the improvement of patient care and outcomes in Ireland.’

Professor Michael Lee, Department of Radiology at RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences and Consultant Radiologist said: ‘IR procedures are vital in the provision of life-saving care for a wide and growing range of conditions. It offers an alternative to more invasive surgery that results in shorter recovery times for patients and saves organs and lives. For example, bleeding after childbirth, the most common cause of maternal death worldwide, is a condition that can generally be treated most effectively using interventional radiology. However, patients need 24/7 access to this service and we need more trained interventional radiologists to deliver emergency access for patients. The Model of Care report puts a framework in place to train qualified interventional radiologists in order to increase access to this life-saving treatment for clinicians and patients across the country.’

The ‘Model of Care for Interventional Radiology’ report forms part of the National Clinical Programme of Radiology’s application to the Irish Medical Council for speciality status for IR in Ireland.

The Annual Scientific Meeting of Radiologists is the major scientific gathering organised by the Faculty of Radiologists in Ireland.  Approximately 350 delegates, including diagnostic radiologists, radiation oncologists, radiographers and industry representatives are expected to attend the two-day meeting, which takes place online on Wednesday 29th September and Friday 1st October for Diagnostic Radiology. The Radiation Oncology meeting will be held on 8th October. 

For further details on this meeting, visit RCSI Faculty of Radiologists.  


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