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Clinical radiology census reports

Our census report presents a comprehensive picture of the clinical radiology workforce each year, and enables us to speak decisively about the issue.

Workforce Census 2022

This is the 15th annual RCR clinical radiology census report - presenting a comprehensive picture of the clinical radiology workforce as it stood in October 2022. Once again, we have secured a 100% response rate, enabling us to speak decisively about the state of the radiology workforce across the UK.  

Key findings from this year’s clinical radiology workforce census include:  

  • The workforce is not keeping pace with demand for services. In 2022, the clinical radiology workforce grew by just 3%. In comparison, demand for diagnostic activity is rising by over 5% annually, and by around 4% for interventional radiology services. 

  • The UK now has a 29% shortfall of clinical radiologists, which will rise to 40% in five years without action. By 2027, an additional 3,365 clinical radiologists will be needed to keep up with demand for services.   

  • This will have an inevitable impact on the quality-of-care consultants are able to provide. Only 24% of clinical directors believe they had sufficient radiologists to deliver safe and effective patient care.  

  • Interventional radiologists are still limited with the care they can provide. Nearly half (48%) of trusts and health boards have inadequate IR services, and only 1/3 (34%) of clinical directors felt they had enough interventional radiologists to deliver safe and effective patient care.  

  • Stress and burnout are increasingly common among healthcare professionals, risking an exodus of experienced staff. 100% of clinical directors (CDs) are concerned about staff morale and burnout in their department. 76% of consultants (WTE) who left in 2022 were under 60. 

  • We are seeing increasing trends that the workforce is simply not able to manage the increase in demand for services. 99% of departments were unable to manage their reporting demand without incurring additional costs.  

  • Across the UK, health systems spent £223 million on managing excess reporting demand in 2022, equivalent to 2,309 full-time consultant positions.  

Clinical directors have expressed their increasing concerns that workforce shortages are preventing safe and effective patient care, damaging staff wellbeing, and denying national health systems of a successful future. Costs spent on alternative methods to manage excess reporting demand are skyrocketing and will continue to do so without action.  

The answers to the workforce crisis are not easy, but we hope that the recommendations in this report go some way in supporting the radiology workforce – now and in the future. More trainees need to be bought into the system to support demand, the capacity to train these doctors must be established, and proactive and immediate work is needed to prevent an exodus of burnout and exhausted staff. Now, more than ever, is the time to act.

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