Radiology and the medical student: do increased hours of teaching translate to more radiologists?

Cindy Chew, Patrick J O'Dwyer, David Young

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Objectives: The UK has a shortage of Radiologists to meet the increasing demand for radiologic examinations. To encourage more medical students to consider Radiology as a career, increased exposure at undergraduate level has been advocated. The aim of this study was to evaluate if formal Radiology teaching hours at medical school had any association with the number of qualified Radiologists joining the General Medical Council Specialist Register. Methods: Total number of doctors joining the GMC Specialist Register as Clinical Radiologists, and those with a primary medical qualifications awarded in Scotland, was obtained from the GMC (2010–2020). Graduate numbers from all four Scottish Medical Schools (2000–2011) were also obtained. Hours of Radiology teaching for medical schools in Scotland were obtained from validated AToMS study. Results: Two hundred and twenty three (6.6%) of 3347 Radiologists added to the GMC Specialist Register between 2010 and 2020 received their primary medical qualification (PMQ) from Scottish Universities. The number of Radiologists from Scottish Universities joining the GMC specialist register was 2.6% of the total number of Scottish Medical Graduates. There was no association between the number of hours (Range 1–30) Radiology was taught to medical students and the number that joined the specialist register as Radiologists (p = 0.54 chi square trend). Conclusion: Increased exposure to Radiology teaching does not influence medical students’ decision to take up Radiology as a career. While continued Radiology exposure remains important, other strategies are required in both the short and long term to ensure radiology services are maintained without detriment to patients. Advances in knowledge: Increased hours of Radiology teaching in medical school was not associated with increased radiologists joining the profession.
Original languageEnglish
Article number20210074
Number of pages6
JournalBJR Open
Issue number1
Early online date8 Dec 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 8 Dec 2021


  • radiologists
  • medical students
  • radiology teaching


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