Sonography vacancy rate higher than wider workforce
Findings from the latest ultrasound workforce survey found that 75% of respondents have unfilled sonographer posts in their organisation, reflecting an overall vacancy rate of 12.6%.
“For comparison, the vacancy rate in the wider diagnostic radiography workforce is 9%,” the survey authors said.
However, vacancies have fallen since 2014, when the figure was more than 18%.
Reasons given for the shortfall are low pay, lack of training resources, and location issues.
One respondent commented, “We should be able to offer better support and training to attract new staff. The limited funding within the NHS for courses and personal development means we are unable to offer this as an incentive.”
Another noted how it is “very difficult to recruit as there is not much movement of sonographers within the region.”
Regarding pay, a manager commented, “Core/permanent workforce are generally feeling overworked and undervalued, especially as they are regularly working as hard as sonographers in the next room who are being paid locum rates.”
The majority of sonographers are employed at Agenda for Change Band 7.
Around half of sonographers (47%) in the responding organisations work full time. This has increased from 35% at the time of the 2014 survey.
Three-quarters of respondents only have sonographers working who are registered with a statutory regulatory body; 65% of respondents say their employer insists their staff hold statutory registration.
The census of the ultrasound workforce was carried out in May and June 2019 and was targeted at ultrasound managers in the National Health Service (NHS) and other healthcare sectors.