The origins of the society date back to 1976. Dr Keith Levick was asked by the Royal College of Radiologists (RCR) to form a speciality group on paediatric radiology to review speciality training and to advise the College on Advisory Appointments Committees where there was a substantial element of paediatric work. This report was ready by 1979. After that report, Dr Levick met with Dr David Baum, chairman of the British Paediatric Association (BPA), and agreed to add a Paediatric Radiology Group to the BPA, linked by Dr Levick as a ‘speciality convenor’.
The BPA had a long history, beginning in 1928, to promote the study of paediatrics and friendship among paediatricians. In practice, the BPA was an inclusive group of paediatricians, surgeons, radiologists and open to all doctors who were involved in the care of children. Dr Levick and a group of enthusiastic paediatric radiologist colleagues agreed to meet twice a year: at the Spring BPA meeting and a second separate meeting in the Autumn. The first Autumn meeting was arranged in Sheffield.
The meetings continued. Subsequently, Dr Sidney Smith from Leeds and then Dr David Pilling from Liverpool became speciality convenors. In late 1991, the College and BPA groups were amalgamated as the British Paediatric Radiology and Imaging Group (BPRIG), with Dr David Pilling as Chairman. This involved a new constitution and executive committee. BPRIG meetings continued at the BPA and were increasingly well attended.
However, the ground was shifting at the BPA. The BPA had no statutory functions or political influence because the Royal College of Physicians was responsible for postgraduate training and examination of paediatricians. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, BPA members began to feel that paediatrics needed to have it’s own College. The association received Royal College status in 1996. The BPA ceased to exist and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) took its place.
BPRIG had a crisis of identity, as it was now a group of paediatric radiologists allied with a College that represented the narrower political and professional interests of paediatricians. Paediatric radiologist attendance at the annual RCPCH meeting fell off precipitously. The membership elected to ally itself more closely with the RCR. The 2000 AGM voted to rename as the British Society of Paediatric Radiology (BSPR). The society was a recognised Special Interest Group of the RCR and RCPCH. These links were formalised. The BSPR achieved Category 1 Special Interest Group Status with the RCR in 2005 and Special Interest Group Status with the RCPCH in 2006. The post of Convener remains as the link to RCPCH, but paediatric radiologist attendance at RCPCH meetings has effectively fallen to zero over the past few years.
The BSPR is now more clearly allied to the RCR and is recognised as the voice of paediatric radiology in the UK. Membership is over 200 paediatric radiologists, general radiologists with a paediatric interest, trainees and retired members. The single, peripatetic Annual Meeting is held in Autumn and usually attended by about half the membership.