Coronavirus (COVID-19): supporting elective care – clinical prioritisation of imaging examinations

The framework provides a standardised national process for the clinical prioritisation of patients who have been referred for a diagnostic imaging test.

Upon receipt of the referral, the imaging department will vet and assign a priority category, using the suggestions in the tables in this guide for reference, taking into account the urgency category allocated by the referrer. The categories within the enclosed tables are not exhaustive and a degree of clinical judgment will be required regarding interpretation and the assignment of a prioritisation category depending on the individual clinical history.

Priority 1 and 2 scans will be booked as soon as possible within the noted timescales in order of priority or, in the case of planned treatment follow up, according to the scheduled date.

When priority 2 patients have waited longer than 12 weeks, a letter to the patient and referrer, explaining the wait and informing them of when their appointment will take place, will be issued.

When priority level 3 patients have waited longer than 12 weeks, their referral will be reviewed by the imaging department, followed by a letter to the patient and referrer, explaining the wait. This review process will be an administrative one, ensuring that there is no duplicate request and that the investigation has not already been performed as an inpatient. Consultation may be required with radiologists or referrers at this point.

There will be a review of priority 3 referrals every subsequent three months followed by communication with patients until capacity issues have resolved or the waiting time falls below 12 weeks. 


Waiting Times Team:

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