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Sonographers and the forthcoming HCPC renewal/audit

Revised November 2015

The following questions and answers have been discussed and agreed with the HCPC, and can also be found on the HCPC website. This page aims to answer the questions and issues sonographers have raised during previous renewal of registration periods. Queries can also be raised directly with the HCPC and we encourage anyone who is in any doubt to do so.

 

Q1. I am registered with the HCPC as a radiographer. I later trained in ultrasound and am now exclusively involved with these techniques. My job title is that of sonographer and I use that title in preference to 'radiographer'. Can I re-register with the HCPC?

A1. Yes. Ultrasound examinations are considered to be within the scope of practise of a registered radiographer and the HCPC recognises that a registrant's scope can change and evolve as they move through their career.

Q2. I am a sonographer and have not taken an x-ray for many years. At previous renewals I have been uncertain about signing the declaration as I am no longer in current practise with respect to taking x-rays. Can I legitimately sign the renewal declaration?

A2. Yes. The HCPC recognises that a radiographer's extended scope of practice as a sonographer may mean that they are unable to continue to meet all of the standards of proficiency that apply to the whole radiography profession. As long as you have ensured that the skills and knowledge relating to your scope of practice are up-to-date, you would be able to sign this aspect of the renewal declaration.

Q3. I have been told by a colleague that I can't re-register as a radiographer as I am now solely involved with ultrasound as a sonographer. I have also been told locally that if I want to renew my registration I will have to spend time in the main x-ray department refreshing my knowledge of x-ray procedures. Is this correct?

A3. No, see answer to Q1. It would, however, be down to an employer to set their own requirements in respect of the training and skills staff are expected to demonstrate. The HCPC would not interfere with this and would expect the registrant to follow local policies.

Q4. I have been asked by the HCPC to present evidence of CPD as part of my renewal procedure. Can I just present evidence based on my work in ultrasound? I am solely involved with these techniques now.

A4. Yes.

Q5. If I renew my registration can I say that I am statutorily registered as a sonographer?

A5. No. Sonography is not a protected title. Your statutory registration is as a radiographer with the HCPC. Ultrasound is considered to be within the scope of practise of a radiographer and there are no restrictions on calling yourself a sonographer if you wish but you cannot say that you are a statutorily registered sonographer.

Q6. My work is solely in ultrasound and I work as a sonographer. I really don't want to renew my registration as a radiographer – am I legally required to do so? I do not work as a radiographer, do not use the title and do not use ionising radiation in my work.

A6. There is no legal requirement to register/re-register with the HCPC as a radiographer if you are solely working as a sonographer and are not using the protected title of radiographer. However, some employers require registration with the HCPC for those they employ in sonographer positions, so it would be wise to check your contract of employment to see if you are required to be registered by your employer. The SCoR strongly recommends that if you are entitled to be statutorily registered with the HCPC then you should be so (see further advice provided by the SCoR).

Q7. I am solely working in ultrasound as a sonographer but trained initially as a radiographer. I am thinking of allowing my statutory registration to lapse. Can I still use the title of radiographer if I wish to do so?

A7. No. The title is a legally protected one and you must be registered with the HCPC as a radiographer in order to use it.

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