Quality statement 4: Provisional radiology reports

Quality statement

People attending an emergency department with a head injury have a provisional written radiology report within 1 hour if a CT head or cervical spine scan is performed.

Rationale

Head injuries can be fatal or cause permanent disability if damage to the brain is not identified and treated quickly. Having the provisional results of a CT scan available within an hour will allow rapid treatment and improve outcomes for people with head injuries that have damaged the brain.

Quality measures

Structure

Evidence of local arrangements to ensure provisional written radiology reports are available within 1 hour of CT head and cervical spine scans.

Data source: Local data collection.

Process

Proportion of emergency department attendances for head injury for which a provisional written radiology report is available within 1 hour of any CT head or cervical spine scan.

Numerator – the number in the denominator with a provisional written radiology report available within 1 hour.

Denominator – the number of emergency department attendances for head injury having a CT head or cervical spine scan.

Data source: Local data collection.

What the quality statement means for service providers, healthcare professionals and commissioners

Service providers (emergency departments, hospitals and specialist neurological centres) ensure that provisional written radiology reports are available within 1 hour of CT head or cervical spine scans for head injury.

Healthcare professionals ensure that a provisional written radiology report is available within 1 hour of the CT head or cervical spine scans for head injury.

Commissioners (clinical commissioning groups and NHS England) ensure that service providers can deliver a provisional written radiology report within 1 hour of the scan. This may be achieved in a number of ways, including the use of 1‑hour targets in acute contracts or enhanced monitoring and audit procedures.

What the quality statement means for patients, service users and carers

People with a head injury who have a CT scan have a written report of the scan results available within 1 hour.

Source guidance

  • Head injury (NICE clinical guideline 176), recommendations 1.4.7 and 1.4.9 (key priorities for implementation), and 1.4.10.