Transforming imaging services in England

In 2019, we published Transforming imaging services in England: a national strategy for imaging networks.

This strategy committed to establishing imaging networks across England by 2023 in order to address the challenges of rising demand, shortages in the imaging workforce, and ageing imaging equipment which continued to put extreme pressure on delivering timely imaging services and high-quality patient care. Not only would this solution provide better value services for patients and better patient care, it would also help NHS staff develop their careers and deliver financial efficiencies which can be reinvested into imaging services to ensure their sustainability, a key NHS Long Term Plan objective.

These documents provide guidance to NHS providers of diagnostic imaging services as they begin the process of forming imaging networks to deliver the NHS Long Term Plan commitment by 2023 and aid the restoration of services.

Imaging workforce, demand and capacity tools

The NHS England Imaging Transformation Team have published the Imaging workforce, demand and capacity planning tools (30 August 2023). These are a set of tools that have been developed to support imaging services across systems, imaging networks and trusts, with planning and optimisation in imaging, including workforce.

There are three tools that vary in scope and are available on the NHS England Imaging Transformation Future NHS platform, accessible to NHS staff.

  • Operational tool – trust level detail
  • Strategic tool – national/network view
  • Network tool – ability to import operational tool inputs across a network

Each tool has its own Excel workbook and comprehensive user guide.

The tools support and promote a unified way of demand, capacity and workforce planning across imaging at different levels, with the ambition to support business planning for capital, network level management and forward planning of imaging services. The tools follow and support ambitions from the NHS Long Term Plan, Richard’s review and Imaging network guidance. The imaging workforce, demand and capacity tools support the wider suite of NHS England demand and capacity tools.

Diagnostic imaging reporting turnaround times

This document provides national turnaround time (TAT) guidance in England for imaging reporting TATs across clinical pathways, including the maximum timeframe within which all imaging must be reported.

Diagnostic imaging network workforce guidance

This document provides support to imaging networks on how to optimise the utilisation of their current workforce.

Diagnostic imaging network implementation guide

This document provides guidance to NHS providers of diagnostic imaging services on forming imaging networks and identifies possible options and factors for consideration to support operational readiness.

Diagnostic imaging network capital equipment planning guide

This document provides support to imaging networks on the key points to consider when developing a strategic capital plan for their network.

Diagnostic imaging network commercial structure and operational governance guide

This document explains the options available to trusts, transforming their imaging services for the commercial structure of the diagnostic imaging network, and gives guidance on the operational governance structure.