The National Breast Imaging Academy (NBIA) has appointed a further ten Breast Radiology Fellows, as part of an international programme to train more breast imaging specialists and help to tackle workforce shortages in the NHS.
The NBIA launched the fellowships in 2019 to raise the profile of breast radiology and provide a new route into the specialism for radiologists from the UK and overseas. Developed in conjunction with several leading breast units across the country, the one-year fellowship offers enhanced breast training with an intention to provide the leaders, educators and researchers for the future.
Funded by Health Education England (HEE), the programme has appointed the ten new Fellows to breast units at Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust (now part of University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust); East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust; Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust; Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust; North Bristol NHS Trust; Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust; Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust; Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust; Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (now part of University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust) and Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust.
Over 40 candidates applied for this second round of fellowships, with the successful Fellows coming from the UK, Canada, Egypt, India, Kenya, Nicaragua and Pakistan. Due to the pandemic restrictions, a completely online assessment and interview process was rapidly developed to enable the recruitment process to continue.
The Fellows will benefit from comprehensive specialist training in breast radiology, covering all aspects of symptomatic and screening breast imaging at their host sites. Combining this practical experience with NBIA organised academic study days, the fellows will develop their knowledge and skills in multidisciplinary approach to breast pathology. Furthermore, the fellows will be encouraged and supported to pursue their individual interests in teaching, service management, quality control, audit and research.
Dr Saad Khalil Chaudhry is based at Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, which is now part of University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust. Commenting on his experience as a Fellow, he said: “Working in an oncological hospital in Pakistan, I saw the fellowship as an ideal opportunity to gain experience in the NHS. I felt that the breast radiology training complemented my interest in oncological imaging.
“The benefits of this fellowship programme are numerous. The protected clinical sessions give you hands-on clinical experience so that you can ease your way into the NHS, which is priceless for me as an international fellow. And the e-learning modules provide quality standardised teaching in one place.
“I love the interaction with the patients and feeling more involved in their care. As a breast radiologist, detecting small cancers at a very early stage and then discussing them in the MDT meetings gives you a sense of achievement and satisfaction. The fellowship provides all the necessary clinical skills and academic knowledge you need to work as a consultant in the future, anywhere in the world.”
Dr William Ramsden, Vice-President for Clinical Radiology at the Royal College of Radiologists, said: “The Royal College of Radiologists has a strong commitment to help build the breast radiology workforce through supporting initiatives such as Breast Radiology Fellowships, the Breast Clinicians Credential and the development of the NBIA itself.
“It is a great pleasure to acknowledge the success of the NBIA Breast Radiology Fellowship scheme as it welcomes the second cohort of fellows into post. The placement of trainees throughout the UK is a major strength of the programme, ensuring that they have the greatest possible opportunities to learn and serve the NHS. The subsequent appointment of all of the first cohort to consultant posts is testament to the scheme’s success and the major part it is playing in both training breast radiologists to the highest standards and in building the breast radiology workforce.”
Dr Soujanya Gadde, the NBIA lead for the fellowship programme, added: “The feedback from our first cohort of six Fellows has been tremendously positive. Following completion of their fellowship we are very pleased to see that they have all successfully been appointed to a consultant post now, five within the NHS breast units in the UK and one in Australia.
“It is our pleasure to welcome our second cohort of ten new talented and enthusiastic Fellows. We are using the experience from the first cohort to enhance and mould the training opportunities offered to this cohort. We are also excited about our third round of recruitment which is currently underway and the successful candidates will be commencing in posts from April 2022.
“Offering a dedicated breast training opportunity is making a significant contribution to the work force in various breast units across the country in terms of providing timely diagnosis and treatment to patients. This centralised prestigious fellowship has also provided the much-needed networking opportunity for host centres to share their expertise and training resources to enhance local training.”
The National Breast Imaging Academy is being run in collaboration with Health Education England and is hosted by Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust.
For more information about the NBIA Breast Radiology Fellowship, please go to https://nationalbreastimagingacademy.org/about-radiology/nbia-fellowship/