New leaflets which aim to reduce unwarranted variation in requests for MRI scans for spinal conditions have been issued in a collaboration between the BestMSKHealth Collaborative programme and Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT).
GIRFT’s clinical lead for spinal services, Mike Hutton, who is also the lead of the spinal services BestMSKHealth recovery programme, worked with stakeholders and lived experience groups to develop the leaflets – one for clinicians and another for patients.
The leaflets are part of the NHS’s drive to recover and restore services post-pandemic. With radiology and spinal services under more demand than ever, the BestMSKHealth advice leaflet for clinicians is designed to support their decision to request an MRI scan – in particular, considering whether it is the best approach for the patient. It also aims to help with the interpretation of the scan report on a patient’s spinal symptoms.
It is hoped this advice will reduce unwarranted variation in MRI requests and highlight potential patient harm caused by inappropriate MRI requests and interpretation of reports.
The BestMSKHealth patient leaflet is for clinicians to share with their patients when they attend their MRI scan appointment. It explains what an MRI scan may pick up and how MRI findings should be interpreted, aiming to reduce anxiety and misunderstanding when patients receive a copy of their report. It is also hoped that radiology departments will include a link to the advice leaflet on spinal MRI reports, to signpost the advice to patients.
Both leaflets are available on the NHS England website here.