Trauma radiology teaching for foundation doctors working within the Scottish Trauma Network improves radiology requests and patient safety: a multidepartmental quality improvement project

Postgrad Med J. 2023 Jun 8;99(1171):506-508. doi: 10.1136/postgradmedj-2021-141276.


The importance of radiology in trauma management is particularly relevant today as Scotland develops its Scottish Trauma Network. Trauma and radiology are scarcely covered in the 2016 and 2021 Foundation Programme Curriculum. Trauma is a significant and endemic public health challenge, while radiology is ever growing in use as a diagnostic and interventional tool. Currently, the majority of radiological investigation requests in trauma are made by foundation doctors. Accordingly, there is an urgent need to ensure foundation doctors are adequately trained in trauma radiology. This prospective, multidepartmental quality improvement project at a single major trauma centre primarily analysed the impact of trauma radiology teaching on the quality of foundation doctors' radiology requests according to Ionising Radiation Medical Exposure Regulations (IRMER) criteria. As a secondary outcome, the impact of teaching on patient safety was also evaluated. 50 foundation doctors across three departments dealing with trauma patients had their trauma radiology requests analysed before and after the intervention of trauma-focused radiology teaching. Results showed cancelled and altered radiology requests decreased from 20% to 5% and from 25% to 10%, respectively, with a p value of 0.01. This translated to fewer delays in trauma patients receiving radiological investigations. The foundation curriculum would benefit from the introduction of trauma radiology teaching for its foundation doctors, in parallel to the demands of a growing national trauma network. Education globally improves radiology request quality by raising awareness and respect of IRMER criteria and ultimately leads to positive changes for patient safety.

Keywords: medical education & training; radiology & imaging; trauma management.

MeSH terms

  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate* / methods
  • Humans
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality Improvement
  • Radiology* / education
  • Scotland