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1. Introduction

In November 2009 the Society and College of Radiographers published a document entitled ‘Developing and Growing the Sonographer Workforce- Education and Training Needs’. This is available on-line to both members and non-members via

Although first discussed as a possibility at least fourteen years ago the above document again proposed that undergraduate courses for sonography be developed as one of the options to address the continuing sonographer workforce shortage. 

Since the publication of the above document, interest in developing direct entry undergraduate ultrasound programmes has been expressed by some Higher Education Institutions (HEI) in the UK and, more recently, by Health Education England’s  Local Education and Training Boards (LETB). Some of these organisations have sought the advice of the College of Radiographers.

The College recognises that proposals for undergraduate programmes in ultrasound have been controversial historically, and the community of ultrasound practitioners tends to have divided opinions on the issue. 

This briefing is aimed at informing early discussions within HEIs, LETBs and other key stakeholder organisations such as employers of sonographers and sonographer placement providers. The briefing reviews the main issues that will need to be addressed or considered and this document should be used as a basis for deliberation by those organisations interested in or thinking about establishing a direct entry undergraduate ultrasound programme. No specific order of importance is attached to the range of issues discussed. Rather, they will all need consideration alongside pertinent local matters if a successful programme is to be the outcome.

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