News

Coroner calls for GPs to be allowed to order urgent CT scans after patient death

BMJ 2017; 357 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.j2815 (Published 09 June 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;357:j2815

Re: Coroner calls for GPs to be allowed to order urgent CT scans after patient death

I applaud the coroner for shining a light on this issue, but the problem is wider than she has identified.
The issue is that patients in the UK are unable to access urgent CT scans, regardless of who has referred them. Patients in many areas are currently waiting more than a month for an "urgent" CT scan.
The UK's lamentable failure to invest appropriately in diagnostic imaging services - equipment and people - is now coming home to roost in the shape of poorer outcomes for patients with cancer as well as impaired patient flow in the acute sector.
Policy-makers and commissioners of services must be persuaded that CT is not an expensive luxury but a fundamental pillar of medical diagnosis. Who would have thought that it would still be necessary to point that out in 2017?

Competing interests: No competing interests

18 June 2017
Giles Maskell
consultant radiologist
Royal Cornwall Hospital, Truro