The referring doctors or allied health care professionals can make clinical diagnosis but not able to see inside the affected part. They call upon radiologists to undertake the appropriate scan to confirm or negate their patient’s diagnosis and also determine other possible causes for their symptoms.
Radiologists are trained doctors, who add value beyond image interpretation. Working closely with other doctors and healthcare practitioners, radiologists are integral to the care of patients by making accurate diagnoses, monitoring response to treatment, performing imaging-guided treatments and advising on how best to use imaging in the care of patients.
The radiologists tend to be one of 3 types; general radiologist, general with specialist interests and specialist radiologist. General radiologist cover the broad range of radiology, covering the whole of the body and is a skill required for provision of acute radiology cover in any hospital. Many radiologists are general radiologist with specialist interest in one or two areas. This is a change reflective of rapid and continuous advancement in the technology of scanning equipment and increasing complexity of scans and greater understanding of anatomy and pathology. It is nigh impossible to provide a high quality evaluation of scans across the board for all body parts and systems. General radiology with specialization allows the flexibility to provide core radiology and acute radiological services but specialist skills to evaluate subtleties in the specialist field. These fields are generally anatomically based, such as musculoskeletal, neuroradiology, thoracic, vascular, breast, Gastrointestinal imaging and so on.
Specialist radiologists specialise in one of these specialist areas and have done intensive training such as Fellowship in this field and are members of the respective specialist society, such as British Society of Skeletal Radiologist. Some may further sub-specialise in their specialist area, for example, foot and ankle sub-specialisation by a Musculoskeletal radiologist. Membership of national and international specialist societies is important to keep abreast of rapidly evolving changes in specialist branch of radiology. Obviously, working focused on the specialized field, fine tunes the skills to detect tiny changes but this is further honed by working closely with referring clinical colleagues, who are experts in their own fields, such as Orthopaedics Consultant, Rheumatology Consultant , Physiotherapist etc.