Position statement: Recommendations for time-slots for echocardiography

Published 20/09/2022

We recommend the following minimum time-slots for performing out-patient echocardiography in the UK. The following time-slots are recommended minimums, longer may be required where for example departments rely on echocardiographers to manually transcribe measurements into reports, or where there are no Echo Support Workers (ESWs).

Echo category

Minimum time-slot

Additional factors

Routine triaged outpatient: this assumes that administrative and patient care support is in place through the use of ESWs.

NB: All referrals should be fully triaged using BSE national triage guidance

45 minutes

ESWs can help reduce patient contact time for the echocardiographer, for example measuring blood pressure and undressing and positioning the patient. ESWs can work on an apprenticeship basis: this may aid recruitment.

Local audit of the impact of ESWs should focus on the effect of ESWs on ‘in-room-time’ and ‘actual scan time’ per patient.

 The ESW can release time for senior colleagues to support more junior staff.

Triaging is vital for list planning and allows prior identification of patients with known pathology who may require a longer assessment time than the standard minimum slot of 45 minutes.

Routine triaged outpatient where a trainee is present and scanning.

60 minutes

Effective workforce training is a national focus and places an additional time and work pressure on the echocardiographer.

Routine triaged outpatient where enhanced cleaning and or PPE is required between patients: for example, during a COVID surge or where the patient is known to be immunocompromised.

60 minutes


BSE Council and Trustees September 2022