Publish date: 11 July 2018

Cheshire and Merseyside Cancer Alliance have commissioned training over the next six months which will result in a 65% increase in the number of radiographers able to undertake a preliminary review of CT colonographies. They will then have the expertise to alert radiologists to any suspicion of colorectal cancer and for patients to receive a staging CT scan.

The training is fully funded by the Alliance as part of its transformation programme following a successful bid to the national cancer transformation fund. It is leading a colorectal pathway project which aims to optimise the patient pathway and reduce the time to diagnosis and treatment for patients suspected of colorectal cancer.

The Northern School of CT Colonography (Leeds) are providing the specialist training and Craig Roe, CT advanced practitioner and CTC lead said: ‘We are very pleased to support the Cancer Alliance with this bespoke training. CT colonography can be challenging, both for the patient and the radiographic staff. We feel that this three day training course dedicated to colonic anatomy, pathology and CTC technique gives radiographers all the necessary tools to perform excellent diagnostic scans.’

Over the past 10 years in Cheshire and Merseyside, there has been a 6% increase in the incidence rate of colorectal cancer compared to a national rate of 2%. There are also more cases of cancer and more cancer related deaths here than the England average.  Each year, nearly 18,000 people are diagnosed with cancer and more than 8,000 die from the disease. 

Dr Chris Warburton, Cancer Alliance medical director said: ‘We are working to achieve the earlier diagnosis of colorectal cancer and have identified the need for additional expertise in the review of CT colonographies. Some local areas have fewer trained diagnostic radiographers than others and with a 27% increase in the number of patients referred in the past two years alone, it is important that patients are diagnosed with the disease - or reassured that they do not have cancer as quickly as possible.’

Carol Cunningham, project manager for the Radiology Forward View added: ‘This training opportunity underpins our vision of increasing the skills of radiographers to support consultant radiologists, a recognised shortage profession. It will also help with the recruitment and retention of staff.’

The Alliance will continue to drive forward the prevention, earlier diagnosis, improved waiting times to access services and better treatment and care.  It aims to close the gap between our area and England and bring together patients and partners across health and social care to address the current challenges and meet the needs of our population.