Hats off to Sir Peter Mansfield (1933-2017)

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Sir Peter Mansfield left school with no qualifications to become one of the most eminent scientists in the world of physics. Here, Dr Adrian Thomas pays tribute to the man who lived through World War Two and with dogged determination forged his way in science to become a distinguished and recognised physicist who played a major part in the story of MRI.

 

Sir Peter Mansfield was born on 9 October 1933 in Lambeth in London, and grew up in Camberwell. His mother had worked as a waitress in a Lyons Corner House in the West End of London, and his father first worked as a labourer in the South Metropolitan Gas Company, and then as a gas fitter. Mansfield recounted being sent with other children on a holiday to Kent for disadvantaged London children by the Children’s Country Holiday Fund.

Peter Mansfield was 5 years old when the war broke out in 1939. He remembers standing with his father at the entrance of an air raid shelter watching anti-aircraft shells exploding around German bombers caught in the searchlights. As the Blitz intensified he was evacuated from the dangers of the capital, as were so many other London children. With his brother he was sent to Devon, where he was assigned to Florence and Cecil Rowland who lived in Babbacombe, Torquay. The Rowlands were called Auntie and Uncle, and Mansfield  attended the nearby junior school. Cecil Rowland was a carpenter and joiner by trade, and encouraged Peter to develop his practical skills by giving him a toolbox, and tools were slowly acquired. He obviously obtained some proficiency since with some guidance he made several wooden toys which he was able to sell at an undercover market and a toyshop in Torquay. His life was not without danger even outside London, and in early 1944,whilst out playing, he saw a German twin-engined Fokke-Wulf plane flying at rooftop level. The tail gunner was spraying bullets everywhere, and he rapidly took shelter behind a dry-stone wall.

On his return to London his secondary schooling was at Peckham Central, moving  to the William Penn School in Peckham. Shortly before he left school at 15 he had an interview with a careers adviser. Peter said that he was interested in science, and the adviser responded that since he was unqualified that he should try something less ambitious. He was interested in printing and so took up an apprentice in the Bookbinding Department of Ede and Fisher in Fenchurch Street in the City of London, and whilst there he took evening classes.   Developing an interest in rockets he was offered a position at the Rocket Propulsion Department (RPD) at Westcott, near Aylesbury.

In 1952 he was called up into the Army for his National Service, where he joined the Engineers. The Army allowed him to develop his interest in science. On demobilization he returned to Westcott and completed his A levels. This enabled him to apply for a special honors degree course in physics at Queen Mary College in London. In 1959 he obtained his BSc, and three years later he was awarded his PhD in physics. From 1962 to 1964 he was Research Associate at the Department of Physics at the University of Illinois, and in 1964 was appointed Lecturer at the Department of Physics at the University of Nottingham.

During a sabbatical in Heidelberg in 1972 Mansfield corresponded with his student, Peter Grannell in Nottingham, and became interested in what became MRI, presenting his first paper in 1973 at the First Specialized Colloque Ampère. Mansfield developed a line scanning technique, and this was used to scan the finger of one of one of his early research students, Dr Andrew Maudsley. The scan times required for these finger images varied between 15 and 23 minutes. These were the first images of a live human subject and they were presented to the Medical Research Council, which in 1976 was reviewing the work of various groups including those in Nottingham and Aberdeen.

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In 1977 the team at Nottingham, which included the late Brian Worthington, successfully  produced an image of a wrist. The following year Mansfield presented his first  abdominal image. In 1979 Peter Mansfield was appointed Professor of Physics at the University of Nottingham. As the Nobel Committee emphasized, the importance of the work of Peter Mansfield was that he further developed the utilization of gradients in the magnetic field. Mansfield demonstrated how the signals could be mathematically analyzed, which resulted in the development of  a practical  imaging technique. Mansfield also demonstrated how to achieve extremely fast imaging times by developing echo-planar imaging. This is all very impressive for a boy who left school at 15 with no qualifications.

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Peter Mansfield was awarded many prizes and awards including:

the Gold Medal of the Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (1983); Fellow of the Royal Society (1987); the Silvanus Thompson Medal of the British Institute of Radiology (1988); the International Society of Magnetic Resonance (ISMAR) prize (jointly with Paul Lauterbur)(1992);  Knighthood (1993); Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Radiology and Honorary Member of the British Institute of Radiology (1993);  the Gold Medal of the European Congress of Radiology and the European Association of Radiology (1995);  Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Physics (1997); the Nobel Prize for Medicine together with Paul Lauterbur (2003);   Lifetime Achievement Award presented by Prime Minister Gordon Brown (2009).

His autobiography The Long Road to Stockholm, The Story of MRI was published in 2013. This is an interesting read, particularly in relation to his early years, and is recommended reading for everyone interested in the radiological sciences. This is a revealing account of a remarkable life. Whilst we may discuss the complexities of the development of MRI and exactly who should have received the Nobel Prize, there can be no doubt about his major contributions. MRI has made, and is making major contributions to health care. He died age 83 on 8 February 2017.

The University of Nottingham has set up an online book of condolence http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/news/sir-peter-mansfield/

About Dr Adrian Thomas, Honorary Historian BIR

Dr Thomas was a medical student at University College, London. He was taught medical history by Edwin Clarke, Bill Bynum and Jonathan Miller. In the mid-1980s he was a founding member of what is now the British Society for the History of Radiology. In 1995 he organised the radiology history exhibition for the Röntgen Centenary Congress and edited his first book on radiology history.

He has published extensively on radiology history and has actively promoted radiology history throughout his career. He is currently the Chairman of the International Society for the History of Radiology.

Dr Thomas believes it is important that radiology is represented in the wider medical history community and to that end lectures on radiology history in the Diploma of the History of Medicine of the Society Apothecaries (DHMSA). He is the immediate past-president of the British Society for the History of Medicine, and the UK national representative to the International Society for the History of Medicine.

See more on the history of radiology at http://www.bshr.org.uk

 

 

Breaking the mould – how  radiographer reporting is better for the patient.

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Professor Nigel Thomas from the University of Salford explains why allowing a radiographer to report X-rays  is not threat to the radiology profession.

 

 

 

I’ll nail my colours to the mast straight away, and state that I have been an active proponent of radiographer role extension in general, and radiographer reporting in particular, for over 20 years.

I first became involved in mid 1995 when the University of Salford (then University College Salford) asked for help in setting up a formal plain film reporting course for radiographers. The context for this was the unresolved tension between the large numbers of unreported films in most X-ray Departments and the realisation that radiographers as a group of professionals were often working below their full potential – a real untapped resource within our own departments. Becoming involved in the process seemed to me to be a very obvious thing to do, and I have never had any regrets about doing so. I don’t believe that I have contributed to the demise of my profession, and I certainly don’t feel like a “turkey voting for Christmas”.

Over the years since then, radiographers have increased the breadth of their involvement in reporting (to currently include some types of MR scanning and CT, as well as gastro-intestinal contrast studies amongst other things), as well as developing a career structure which encompasses working at Advanced Practitioner and Consultant Radiographer levels (the latter being a particular success in the world of breast imaging, where consultant radiographers can follow an entire patient journey by being able to perform and report mammograms, perform and report breast ultrasound and perform guided biopsies, as well as having counselling skills).

It was clear from the beginning that there would be opposition to the idea of radiographer reporting, both from the radiology establishment, and, to a much lesser extent, from within the radiography profession itself. In order to ensure that the process of creating reporting radiographers was as good as it could be, certain quality measures were put into place. No radiographer can report in the UK without a recognised qualification (at PgC or Pgd level) gained from a higher education institution. In the context of the workplace, reporting is done within an agreed scheme of work (signed off by the employing Trust Board), and regular audit is undertaken.

In 2017 between 15 and 20% of all plain film examinations in the UK are reported by radiographers, and there are now over 50 people in consultant radiographer grades around the country. Reporting radiographers have been “part of the furniture” in X-ray departments for over 20 years, and generations of junior doctors, nurses and physiotherapists have been familiar with using them as a port of call for advice on the interpretation of images.

And yet, despite all of the above, resistance to radiographer reporting persists. I find this particularly perplexing for several reasons:

  1. The reporting shortfall still persists, and patients are being put at risk by our failure to report their examinations in a timely and accurate way – would we rather leave them unreported?
  2. Radiologists have more than enough to do – there are too few of us, and our time is used to apply our unique skill set to report labour intensive complex examinations, undertake time-consuming interventional procedures, and provide a commitment to the support of MDTs.
  3. There is a substantial body of sound scientific evidence (published in the major UK peer-reviewed radiological journals) that radiographer reporting works, is safe, and is of a comparable standard to that provided by medical staff in many areas.
  4. Radiologists have been involved in this process from day 1 – advising on course content, giving lectures, acting as examiners and external examiners, and, most importantly, acting as mentors to radiographers in training at their places of work.

The final irony for me, as we progress into the 21st century is that, despite all the above, it is clear that some of my colleagues are much keener to gain help from computers than humans. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure that Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Artificial Intelligence (AI)  will have a huge role to play in the routine provision of a radiology service in the near future, but reporting radiographers can help patients here and now.

References

Berman L, de Lacey G, Twomey E, Twomey B, Welch, T and Eban, R. ‘Reducing errors in the accident department: a simple method using radiographers’, British Medical Journal 1985; 290: 421-2

Loughran,C.F., Reporting of fracture radiographs by radiographers: the impact of a training programme. British Journal of Radiology, 67(802), 945 –950, 1994

Judith Kelly, Peter Hogg, Suzanne Henwood. The role of a consultant breast radiographer: A description and a reflection. Radiography, Volume 14, Supplement 1, e2-e10, 2008.

Brealey, S., Hewitt, C., Scally, A., Hahn, S., Godfrey, C., and Thomas, N.B. Bivariate meta-analysis of sensitivity and specificity of radiographers’ plain radiograph reporting in clinical practice. British Journal of Radiology, 82, (979), 600-604, 2009.

Piper, K., Buscall, K., Thomas, N.B., MRI reporting by radiographers: Findings of an accredited postgraduate programme. Radiography, Volume 16, Issue 2, 136-142, May 2010

  1. Piper, S. Cox, A. Paterson, A. Thomas, N.B. Thomas, N. Jeyagopal, N. Woznitza. Chest reporting by radiographers: Findings of an accredited postgraduate programme, Radiography, Volume 20, Issue 2, 94-99, February 2014
  1. Snaith, M. Hardy, E.F. Lewis Radiographer reporting in the UK: A longitudinal analysis

Radiography, Volume 21, Issue 2, 119-123, 2015

About Nigel Thomas

Born and raised in Cornwall, I qualified from St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London in 1981 having gained an intercalated B.Sc in Biochemistry in 1978.

My radiology training was undertaken on the North Western Training Scheme (based in Manchester), and I was appointed as Consultant Radiologist to North Manchester General Hospital in 1989.In 2005 I moved to a Consultant post at Trafford General Hospital and retired as a full-time NHS Consultant Radiologist in 2015.

I currently work as an independent Consultant Radiologist and, amongst other roles, am a mentor to Reporting Radiographers at two large Foundation Trusts in the Manchester conurbation.

I first became involved in the process of radiographer role development at the University of Salford in 1995, and was appointed as an Honorary Professor there in 2000. I have over 40 publications in scientific journals, and am a co-author of a standard textbook of Obstetric and Gynaecological Ultrasound scanning.

 

Image: Courtesy of Nottingham University Hospitals

 

The role of the radiologist when a baby dies

3-elspeth-whitby-100-x-150As we launch our Fetal MRI portfolio, Dr Elspeth Whitby explains how a research project on MRI in early-life autopsy made her realise what an impact a radiologist can have on bereaved parents.

She found that MRI images can help to create and manage a woman’s feelings during pregnancy and increased her own understanding of her role in the process.

 

End of or start of life

When a baby or infant dies, MRI can be used as a minimally invasive method to replace formal autopsy. Dr Elspeth Whitby explains how, not only does this provide scientific information, but with the interpretive and sensitive communication skills of the radiologist it helps to provide some answers and fill gaps for devastated and grieving parents. Here she talks through the unexpected learning which came out of an innovative and groundbreaking research project.

As part of my work as a consultant radiologist I am involved in a minimally invasive autopsy service where magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is used along with a number of other investigations that can replace the formal autopsy. Over the last 12 months I have embarked on a 30-month interdisciplinary project which aims to explore the use of visual technologies in post-mortem, bringing together researchers, medical practitioners and technology manufacturers to examine how clinical applications of these technologies (such as MRI) are impacting upon professional practice and parental experiences of loss.

1a-memory-box-black-and-whiteThis project, entitled ‘End of or Start of Life?’, developed from my previous work with a medical sociologist (Dr Kate Reed) looking at the value of the fetal MRI image to patients and professionals. A published paper from this original study argues that MRI can both create and manage women’s feelings of uncertainty during pregnancy. While it may not always provide women with unequivocal answers, the detailed information provided by the MRI images combined with the interpretative and communication skills of the radiologist enables women to navigate what can be difficult and emotional issues.

We think this current research on MRI in early-life autopsy will build on the original study about pregnancy and is important for a number of reasons:

  • It will benefit bereaved parents by providing information about potential choices they may have over fetal and infant autopsy;
  • It will raise general public awareness around prenatal and neonatal loss and contribute to reducing the silence and taboo which many parents who experience early life loss experience;
  • It will contribute to the ongoing professional development of pathologists and related professionals through informing professional guidelines and educational materials on visual technology use in autopsy;
  • It will provide information about how parents and other professionals feel about the use of this technology and therefore help to ensure that UK policy on autopsy is developed and applied in a way that is sensitive to practitioners and parents.

Personally my involvement in the work has allowed me to understand the needs of my patients and their families. I have had time to explore areas neglected by medical staff due to time pressures and the lack of insight into the importance of small details. When their baby is going to have a post-mortem, families need to know about what happens, who has contact with their most precious bundle and when. They don’t always need the detail I had assumed they’d want in terms of medical information about the post-mortem process, but rather more seemingly ‘mundane’ details for example: who holds their baby, how they hold them and place them on the scanner table.

Telling a bereaved mother that I was the person who held her baby boy, carried him, dressed and wrapped in a blanket, to the scanner and talked to him as I placed him on the scan table in the required position – as I would any baby in my clinical practice – resulted in tears from his mother and father.  These were followed by a very emotional hug and a comment from mum that she could finally ‘let go’ as I had put her mind at rest that he had been well looked after when she couldn’t be with him during the post-mortem. To them this part of his ‘life’ was a blank space that they could not fill and this left them feeling helpless. Being able to tell them about the process allowed them to fill this space and to understand what had happened. They knew that he had been cared for, and that they had done all they could as his parents.

1a-pm-mriThe most frequent request for information is ‘who will look after my baby when I can’t be there?’ No parent wants to be separated from their baby. I have underestimated the importance of such detail before, assuming that medical information is more important as this is what I have been trained to provide. I am beginning to understand more about parents’ complex needs, and hopefully I now provide an opportunity for all patients and parents I am involved with to obtain this information. The conversations I have with patients have changed from a medically-centred approach to a wider, more social approach. For example I have been able to book longer appointments and build in flexibility so no one feels rushed.

And so, I hope my continued involvement with the social research work can widen my understanding further and hopefully improve the services we provide. For instance, being part of this research has helped to inform my involvement in the production of a video that talks parents through the MRI post-mortem process which they can watch whenever, if ever, it suits them.

If you are interested in this topic, you may be interested in learning more. Take a look at the new BIR Fetal MRI Portfolio

References

Visualising uncertainty: Examining women’s views on the role of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) in late pregnancy


Dr Elspeth Whitby

Dr Elspeth Whitby is a senior lecturer at the University of Sheffield and an honorary consultant at Sheffield teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation trust.

Her clinical and research interests are based around MR Imaging of the fetus and neonate. She provides a national service for Fetal MRI and is an integral part of the team at Sheffield Children’s hospital, which has set up the world’s first clinical service for minimally invasive autopsy for the fetal and neonatal age group. Her research provides the necessary data to assess the value of new MRI techniques and then to support the transitions from research to service. The multidisciplinary nature of her more recent work is changing her as well as influencing clinical practice.

She is currently Vice President for Education at the BIR, helping to improve the educational scope and methods of delivery of educational events for all BIR members.

Dr Whitby was the recipient of the first BIR/Bayer Make it Better Award for her work in minimal fetal and neonatal invasive autopsy.

 

Top tips for honest science messages in the media

13-kate-elliottScience is often misrepresented in the media. The BIR supports the charity Sense about Science in their call for all research to be openly and honestly reported. This year we supported one of their Voice of Young Science workshops called “Standing up for Science” held on 16 September 2016 in London.

Here, Kate Elliott, Medical Physicist at  Mount Vernon Cancer Centre was one of three lucky BIR members to attend the workshop which gave young researchers top tips and advice on how to get their scientific messages across as clearly and accurately as possible.

 

I hate speaking in public and even the thought of writing this article terrified me. Why then, you might ask, did I apply to go on the Standing up for Science media workshop?

I often get annoyed at the coverage of science in the media and the misuse of statistics and results. Recently, the Brexit “debate” has left me ranting at friends, and I often find myself defending junior doctors on social media. When I received the email from BIR advertising the media workshop, it struck me as an opportunity to learn what I could do to positively influence the public perception of science, and to hear first-hand from journalists about their involvement.

The first session consisted of a panel of three scientists who told us of personal experiences with the press and offered advice based on this. An example which stood out to me as a healthcare scientist was Professor Stephen Keevil’s use of the media to highlight a problem with a new EU directive on physical agents[1], which could  have caused problems for MRI. Politicians took heed of his criticism, and effected a change to the directive in Brussels. This was a great example of how the media can be used effectively to influence policy – something that is likely to become increasingly important in the next few years.

The second session was a panel of three journalists, who explained their daily process for13-standing-up-for-science-workshop-sept-2016selecting and pitching stories. Science stories are selected based on interest, accessibility, and importance. These are pitched to the editors, who decide which ones to take further. The journalists pointed out that their duty is to their audience, not to science. Unfortunately, science has to compete with news on David Beckham’s haircut. Time constraints are also a problem. They write multiple articles a day (I’m three weeks and counting on this one…), so it’s important for scientists to be available to discuss their research on the day it’s published.

The third panel was about the nuts and bolts of how to interact with the media, and recommended campaigns such as Sense about Science’s “Ask for Evidence” campaign.

I left the event with the following advice to keep in mind:

  • If you disagree with something: speak out. If the public only hears one side of the story, that’s the side they’ll believe.
  • Stick to a few key points. Get those across, even if it means having to ignore questions or turn them around in an infuriatingly politician-like way!
  • Be available. If you’ve put out a press release, you need to be able to respond quickly. Journalists work to very stringent time scales, so being available in a week’s time is going to be too late.
  • Talk to the public. Attend events such as Pint of Science, or become a STEM ambassador, because that will really help you learn to speak in layman’s terms and get you used to answering obscure questions.
  • Get training. If not full media training, a workshop like this is a really good way to be slightly more prepared – and you get to hear about all the interesting science other people are involved in!

Image: BIR members  Jim Zhong, Kate Elliott and Maureen Obioha Agwanihu who attended the workshop

[1] https://www.myesr.org/html/img/pool/MRI-Report-Stephen-Keevil.pdf

Discover the impact of X-rays on modern medicine

Adrian Thomas

Dr Adrian Thomas

As we commemorate International Day of Radiology and World Radiography Day on 8th November 2016, Dr Adrian Thomas, BIR’s Honorary Historian gives an overview of the history of radiology and encourages anyone interested in the history of medicine to dip in to the BIR’s history of radiology web pages.

It is very difficult to put oneself into the position of someone living in the 19th century prior to the discovery of X-rays (in 1895) and radioactivity (in 1896). The early scientists had a certainty and confidence that is alien to our contemporary worldview. In science there was a feeling that everything important had basically been worked out, and that there would be no major surprises around the corner. Chemistry and physics were pretty much understood, and with some justification since the scientific achievements of the 19th century were astonishing. For example the laying of the cable across the Atlantic Ocean in 1858 was a remarkable accomplishment by any standards.

All was to change with the discoveries of 1895 and 1896. Neither X-rays nor radioactivity could be explained by contemporary physical models, The X-rays should have been predicted since it was already known that the spectrum extended invisibly beyond the infra red and ultra violet.

wilhelm_conrad_r_ntgen-1

The invisible rays discovered by Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen produced a sensation in both the scientific community and the general public. The sense of amazement was so great that the public needed reassurance that this was a proper discovery by a serious scientist.

There was an immediate interest by the medical community, and The X-Ray Society was founded which was the first in the world. This became the Röntgen Society and finally the British Institute of Radiology. A society needs a journal, and this has gone by many names over the years, such as Archives of Skiagraphy, Archives of the Roentgen Ray, Journal of the Röntgen Society, and currently the British Journal of Radiology. This journal is a treasure, and is a major world journal with publications by many of the major figures associated with radiology. Perhaps the main change in the journal over the years is that it is now focused on human applications of the radiological sciences. In the early years there were articles on all aspects of radiology, including radiography of paintings, X-ray astronomy, and animal radiography.

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X-ray 1897: Hand radiograph of Sebastian Gilbert Scott

The story since the 1890s can be divided into three periods. Firstly the time of the pioneers when knowledge was still very limited. The second period is that of classical radiology. This was the period of often quite invasive diagnostic tests and abnormalities were often shown indirectly, for example by the displacement of normal structures. There was an increasing knowledge of the response of tissues to radiation, with the development of a scientific approach to treatments.

The modern or third period is from the 1970s, which may be seen as a “golden decade” of radiology, and was ushered in by the CT or EMI scanner,the forerunners of our digital world. It is difficult to underestimate the role of the CT scanner, and it had profound effects on diagnosis and treatment planning.

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First image scanned on the prototype EMI scanner at Atkinson Morley’s Hospital 1971

Since the 1970s radiology has changed beyond recognition in all areas. For example not only has wet film processing disappeared but also film itself has passed away.

The BIR and its journals have been at the forefront of the advances in the radiological sciences. We have a treasure with publications by the greats in radiology, such as Peter Kerley, Ralston Patterson, Ian Donald, James Ambrose and Godfrey Hounsfield.

It is fascinating to read the words of those who came before us, and to consider the remarkable achievements in the last 120 years. I think you will find exploring our archives well worth your time.

 

 

Visit the BIR history website pages here

Visit the BJR archives here

Presidential Blog #1

2_4Well I’ve now been BIR President for nearly 6 days and it still feels slightly surreal. I have to say that taking over from David Wilson as President and having Jacqueline Fowler’s experienced hand to guide me makes me feel what could possibly go wrong!

Seriously, it is important that I focus my efforts in certain areas, notwithstanding our rolling three year strategy. These areas are crucial to the continuing upward rise of the BIR and those areas are: increasing membership, especially amongst radiographers; getting more members actively engaged in the great work we do (everyone’s time for volunteering is reduced in these days of increasing clinical workloads, and more hands enables the BIR to undertake more exciting projects) and, maybe most obviously as the new President, reaching out to both our sister organisations (to form effective collaborations to lever the most from policy makers and funders), and to BIR’s corporate partners (an integral part of the BIR ‘family’) to ensure both sides gain from the relationship and to ensure they are active participants. I also wish to reach out to similar organisations across the world to grow our international membership and, with various BIR staff, have many interesting meetings coming up at RSNA in Chicago later this year.

2_13.jpgIt’s clearly way too early to tell how successful I’ll be in my aims, but I intend to hold early discussions with all our closest allies as soon as possible and look forward to doing the same with our corporate partners – in fact this week I am visiting the factory of Midland Lead who have sponsored a PPE publication with associated poster and video material (launched at the IRMER update event, watch out on the website for more details)  – an example of an excellent project, well led by Peter Hiles and friends with excellent support from one of our newest corporate partners – thank you to all involved.

Andy Rogers

BIR President

Andy Rogers is Head of Radiation Physics, Nottingham University Hospitals

 

Reflections on two years at the helm of the BIR

David Wilson

Dr David Wilson reflects on the progress and achievements as President of the British Institute of Radiology.

As I come towards the end my two years as President of the BIR, writing for the BIR blog gives me the opportunity to review what has happened to our Institute during that period.

David Wilson and Stephen Davies 14.10.2015

My predecessors, Dr Stephen Davies and Professor Andrew Jones, had worked very hard to prepare what I now see was very fertile ground.

With the senior administrative team and Chief Executive, Jacqueline Fowler, not only had they resolved the problems of a building that was no longer fit for purpose and was a drain on the organisation’s resources, but they had set up new offices, a streamlined administrative system and a new team who were working very effectively together.

 

DW pp badge to AJ

Special interest groups had been established and it was recognised that as an organisation we needed to move out into the different regions. The sale of the building and careful financial management meant that we had the resources to start these and other projects.

Over the last two years we have developed and opened regional groups in the Midlands, and the south-west of England. These have been met with great enthusiasm by local imaging professionals and are now developing a drive of their own which we can use to create new regional groups over the next few years.

Investment in educational technology with the appointment of e-learning technologists has allowed us to start what is a very successful series of webinars with a steady increase in members connecting online. This project will continue and I can see many opportunities for educational development in the future. The BIR continues to invest not only in electronic education but also in delegate-attended courses. The BIR Annual Congress has undergone modernisation, with a new format of parallel streams, e-posters and an event app to increase delegate engagement. It also boasts internationally acclaimed keynote speakers. The annual general meeting (AGM) is now an online meeting and has proved very successful.

The education committee is to be congratulated on the expansion and success of the teaching and learning opportunities that we provide. We were concerned that the standards of education are hard to define and therefore we set up an independent accreditation committee whose duty it is to assess all the teaching that we provide against recognised educational standards. This team led by David Lindsell provides assurance that our courses and electronic learning are of the highest standard and they are also working with corporate members to assess other organisations’ events. Our collaborative work with UK Radiology Congress has led to very successful meetings in Liverpool and I’m glad to say that both UKRC and UKRO are flourishing.

 

ARRS agreementWe have expanded our breadth of corporate members and reached out to other societies in the UK and overseas including the Royal Society of Medicine, IPEM and the Institute of Physics as well as becoming a member of the American Roentgen Ray Society (ARRS) Global Partner Program which has extended benefits on offer to our members.

rsna DW and Guiseppe BJRCR

The BIR will only flourish if membership increases and we remain active and innovative. I’m glad to say that the membership numbers have increased substantially over the last two years and continue to do so. We have created new packages of membership and several healthcare organisations have now joined on behalf of large groups of their employees. I believe this is an excellent measure of our success in providing valued membership benefits. The great news from our publishing arm is the establishment of a case report-based online journal, BJR|case reports. This fills a gap in the market  and gives an opportunity for young clinicians and scientists to present their work. The standards offered by BJR have been maintained and indeed improved as judged by external measures.

The management team and the trustees of the organisation continue to provide sterling service and governance. We remain in a strong financial position despite external pressures.

President Elect 2015 Andy Rogers and David WilsonI’m honoured to have been the warden to an excellent provision of service within an organisation that is increasing in size and has very exciting prospects for the future. I am very pleased to be handing over to Andy Rogers with whom I worked for a number of years and I know will be an excellent President of the British Institute of Radiology.

Dr David Wilson

Images (top to bottom)

  1. With Dr Stephen Davies
  2. At my inauguration with my predecessor Professor Andrew Jones
  3. With Jonathan Lewin MD, President of ARRS
  4. With Editor of BJR|case reports, Professor Giuseppe Guglielmi
  5. With Andy Rogers, President of the BIR from September 2016