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Executive Summary

In May 2016, the College of Radiographers (CoR) carried out a census of the diagnostic radiography workforce in the UK. The objectives were to establish the size, structure, nature and vacancy rate of the workforce in order to inform workforce planning. Around 90 providers of diagnostic imaging responded to an online questionnaire. This document presents an analysis of the census results and compares them to a similar census carried out in September 2014[1]. The following bullet points highlight the main findings:

  • The average number of diagnostic radiography establishment staff by whole time equivalent (WTE) per respondent is 66.7.
  • The average current vacancy rate for the diagnostic radiography workforce is 13.1% at the census date of 1 May 2016. This compares to an average current vacancy rate of 7.8% in the September 2014 census. The increase in current vacancy rate since the last census may in part be due to the different times of year. This May 2016 census was before the largest intake of recently qualified radiographers in the year, which is around June/July.
  • The average current vacancy rate varies by UK country: England 13.5%, Scotland 4.6% and Wales 12.4%. (There is insufficient data to provide a figure for Northern Ireland.)
  • The average three-month vacancy rate across all respondents is 8.8%.
  • The average percentage of the respondents’ establishment headcount on long term absence is 4.5% (comprised of 0.6% on a career break; 1.5% on long term sickness absence and 2.4% on parental leave).
  • 4.4% of respondents’ radiographic workers are due to retire in the next two years.
  • Radiographic staff of band 7 (or equivalent) and above spend on average 50% of their time on non-clinical duties.
  • On average each respondent has 4.2 members of staff (WTE) in postgraduate training in MRI, CT, ultrasound, breast or reporting.
  • 69% of respondents use either diagnostic radiography or sonography agency staff (or both). None of the eight non-NHS providers responding to this question use agency staff.
  • There is an average of 0.8 clinical staff band 5 (or equivalent) and above (headcount) per respondent not registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).
  • 90% of radiographers (by headcount) at the responding providers are from the UK.
  • On average, each respondent has 11.7 radiographers, sonographers and/or nuclear technologists (headcount) carrying out advanced practice and 0.5 carrying out consultant-level practice as of the census date 1 May 2016. Both numbers have increased since the previous census in September 2014.
  • The main reasons respondents gave for radiographers leaving their posts are promotion in other centre, retirement and personal reasons.

[1] College of Radiographers. (2014). Diagnostic Radiography UK Workforce Report 2014.


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