The CAR has been working diligently on providing our members with the most up to date information and guidance related to COVID-19. We are hearing from you that the number of radiology reads nationally has been reduced by 50-70% because of the pandemic. Patients requiring pressing procedures that have been deferred are now in an even more urgent situation due to the delay. The long-term impact will result in a backlog in the system, adding to the already extensive wait times for Canadians. Your board understands the impact that this will have on radiology practices across the country and the healthcare system in general. Your representatives decided to act and to put a plan in place to get in front of the situation now, before things become unmanageable. From there, the CAR Task Force on Re-entry was born.
The CAR’s Task Force on Resumption of Radiology Clinical Services
The Task Force’s focus is on developing a national strategy for the radiology community to begin the process of resumption of medical imaging. This process should start slowly, beginning in less impacted provinces with smaller centers and outpatient clinics. While most facilities have seen a drop in referrals during the pandemic, this gradual re-entry will allow the healthcare system to catch-up, especially if the ramp-up occurs before family medicine and elective surgery requests become too plentiful. To assist with the ramp up of radiology, the Task Force, with the support of partner organizations has published a guide for the Resumption of Radiology Clinical Services. This guide was shared with provincial associations, the Federal government and of course CAR members. Additionally, a news release was published on May 11 with the intention to raise awareness nationally. This is the first in a series of reports developed by the Task Force. The next publication will focus on wait times and analysis of inventory across the country. Stay tuned for details.
Led by Dr. Bill Anderson from Alberta, the Task Force is comprised of radiology leaders from each province and partner organizations (CADTH, CSBI, CAMRT, COMP, CANM Sonography Canada), to successfully lead the re-integration of diagnostic imaging in Canada.
The CAR’s top priority is to ensure that patients receive the care they need in a timely manner without compromising their safety.
Now is the time to invest in radiology
The next steps will include working with the federal government and our provincial counterparts to have a cross-country strategy. This will also enhance the need for a federal investment ($1.5 billion) in medical imaging equipment inventory and health human resources. Now more than ever is the time for the government to take action. The pandemic has created a significant build-up for diagnostic imaging procedures. With an investment in equipment and staff, as well as a comprehensive plan for re-entry, we can get in front of the situation, thereby minimizing wait times, improving patient outcomes and limiting physician burnout.
More details to come in the coming weeks as we roll out our advocacy strategy and take a closer look at wait times in Canada.