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GP speciality trainees’ knowledge, attitude and practice regarding risks associated with common radiological investigations.

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GP speciality trainees’ knowledge, attitude and practice regarding risks associated with common radiological investigations.

Educ Prim Care. 2013 Sep;24(5):355-62

Authors: Willoughby H, Ahmed H, Jenkinson R, Edwards A

Abstract
BACKGROUND: Thirty-eight million radiological or radio-diagnostic tests were undertaken in England between August 2010 and August 2011. A systematic review of studies based in secondary care reports that risk is rarely discussed with patients undergoing radiological investigations and only a minority of hospital doctors are well informed about the dose and risk associated with common radiological procedures. There is little available evidence on knowledge, attitudes and practice of radiological risk in a primary care setting.
OBJECTIVES: Explore knowledge, attitudes and practice of discussing risks associated with common radiological procedures amongst current general practice specialty trainees (GPSTs).
METHOD: Design: cross-sectional questionnaire-based survey.
SETTING: GPSTs in Wales. Outcomes measured: trainees’ current knowledge, attitude and practice with regard to risk communication about radiological procedures. Participants estimated the radiation dose of common radiological investigations, using a chest X-ray as one unit. Participants were also asked to estimate the lifetime cancer risk associated with common radiological procedures.
RESULTS: One hundred and twenty-eight completed questionnaires were returned (response rate 32%). Only 28% of respondents had prior radiation training. Although most respondents felt it was the referrer’s role to explain the risk of radiological procedures (85%), the vast majority underestimated the radiation doses associated with commonly requested investigations, including lumbar and thoracic spine X-rays.
CONCLUSION: General practice specialty trainees underestimate the risk of common radiological procedures. Educational interventions are needed to address this issue, particularly in light of increasing open access to radiology in primary care.

PMID: 24041100 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

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