Thoracic ultrasound experiences among respiratory specialty trainees in the UK

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Achieving competence in thoracic ultrasound is a mandatory requirement for the successful completion of respiratory specialty training in the UK. We evaluated trainee competencies, access to training and confidence in thoracic ultrasound by means of a nationally distributed survey with the participation of 202 (of approximately 600) respiratory trainees. 65.8% (131/199) of responders are RCR Level 1 accredited and 20.6% (22/107) of these trainees had performed fewer than 20 ultrasounds in the past year. 29.2% (50/171) of trainees reported that access to an ultrasonographer for advice was either ‘not easy’ or ‘impossible’. 59% (107/171) of all respondents are ‘never’ or ‘rarely’ supervised, with 60% (102/169) of queries answered by real-time evaluation or review of stored media. Encouragingly ultrasound training has evolved considerably in recent years, but ongoing work needs to focus on improving supervision and training. There is a case for reviewing current guidance and to consider tailoring training and expectations to align with the specific needs of respiratory registrars. We propose a revision of the current Royal College of Radiologists framework towards a respiratory specialist led accreditation in thoracic ultrasound.

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