Working life (clinical radiology)

This page provides useful information on the working week as well as any on-call and other commitments, along with information on who you will work with. The attractions and challenges of the job are also in this section.

Radiology is a consultant-led specialty and they are responsible for reporting most imaging procedures and performing most interventional procedures.

A working week usually involves some teaching of junior staff, diagnostic and interventional procedures and managing at least one multidisciplinary team meeting.

Although you will spend a good proportion of your week writing imaging reports, radiologists also have lots of contact with people. You will deal with a wide range of specialist doctors, radiographers and other healthcare professionals across the spectrum. As well as image reporting you will also report on cases and provide follow-up afterwards.

Certain aspects of the job have more contact with patients than others. If you are working in ultrasound, fluoroscopy or breast imaging you are likely to work with patients more regularly. Interventional procedures also involve direct patient contact. A normal working week usually offers a mix of all these things, although this can vary according to your chosen special interests.

Consultants are often on-call in many district hospitals where there are no specialty trainees so there can be lots of out of hours work. This demand could increase in the future, with the proposed move to 24/7 imaging seven days a week.

On-call work can be particularly busy, particularly if you have to travel between sites. You will be working under pressure, often undertaking different emergency procedures, writing reports and communicating the results to medical colleagues. On-call commitment can vary, but is often between one in seven and one in eight.

Most radiologists find that a good work-life balance is possible and a report by the Royal College of radiologists in 2015 found that 22% of consultants work part-time.

The EU Working Time Directive limits the working week to 48 hours. It is also possible to work part-time once you are consultant, or to train on a less than full-time basis.

"Radiologists have a vital role to play in diagnosis". Dr Jackie Hughes is a consultant radiologist at Addenbrooke’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in Cambridge.

Read Jackie’s story
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