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1. Preamble

The Society and College of Radiographers (SCoR) has promoted and encouraged radiographers to become competent in the administration of intravenous injections since 19961 when it first developed and published the Course of study for the certificate of competence in administering intravenous injections and record of clinical experience. The original course of study document was updated in 20052 and now, in 2011, SCoR publishes this document to bring the course of study up to date and relevant within current health care environments. Currently, ten education centres have accredited course and, since 1997, over 5000 radiographers have registered for training for the certificate of competence, with 466 registering in 2010.

SCoR publications chart the pattern of role development within the imaging and radiotherapy professions. In Role Development Revisited: The Research Evidence 2003 (CoR 2003)3 it was acknowledged that the facility of being able to administer intravenous injections provided significant role development opportunities. Further studies into the scope of practice for the profession reveal how competence in intravenous injections has had an impact on the role of the radiographer. In the research project undertaken in 2008 by the University of Hertfordshire in collaboration with the Institute for Employment Studies for the Society and College of Radiographers (CoR 2008)4, it was apparent that the ability to administer medicines intravenously had contributed to an increase in the scope of practice for the profession. Diagnostic radiographers working in gastro- intestinal, urological and nuclear medicine departments, for example, are able to take the lead in providing the services partly because of their ability to administer intravenous injections. Similarly, therapeutic radiographers working in treatment planning and on-treatment review find that being able to administer drugs intravenously allows them to take the lead and provide seamless care for the patient. Administering intravenous injections is within the current scope of practice for many radiographers as stated in The Scope of Practice 2009 (CoR 2009)5.

In 1999, The Final Report of the Review of Prescribing, Supply and Administration of Medicines (The Crown Report DH 1999)6 recommended changes to the mechanisms whereby health care professionals could prescribe, supply and administer medicines including an extension of prescribing rights to health care professionals, including radiographers. Information on this is provided in the 2010 SCoR advice document7.Currently, radiographers may supply and administer medicines under Patient Specific Directions and Patient Group Directions. Also, radiographers may undertake courses to qualify as supplementary prescribers and therapy radiographers in particular are finding this of benefit. The next most significant change for radiographers will be when they
are able to access courses leading to independent prescribing rights. The Department of Health is committed to extending non-medical prescribing and is slowly working towards independent prescribing for some Allied Health Professionals.

National occupational standards produced by Skills for Health include standards related to establishing intravenous access and administration of fluids

The Health Professions Council (HPC) Standards for Proficiency – Radiographers8 require diagnostic radiographers to be able to perform the full range of plain film and standard contrast agent examinations. Radiographers taking the lead in these procedures would need to be competent in administering intravenous injections.

The College of Radiographers would like to encourage providers of this Course of Study to make the course available to any of the radiography workforce who would benefit from such a role development opportunity given a clinical demand. Extending the client group will create challenges for the course providers and additional academic study may be needed to bring such participants to an appropriate level. However, radiographers work within multiprofessional teams and course providers would wish to take account of this.

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