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General support workforce

The SCoR  recognises the important contribution that support staff make to current service delivery, as well as the importance of enhancing their role further to assist in both meeting the workforce shortfall in clinical imaging and radiotherapy and in maintaining effective, high quality services. In acknowledging this contribution and the diversity of the support workforce, SCoR also recognises that these staff require education, training and development to support them in their current and future roles.

The concept of support staff working in clinical imaging and radiotherapy departments is long established, as is their valuable contribution to service delivery.  It is also recognised that the range of tasks and duties carried out by support staff varies considerably according to locally determined needs. However, despite the role played by support staff, their education and development needs have been largely neglected.

Education and training requirements

In recognition of the contribution of the general support workforce and the importance to the provision of quality services of a properly educated workforce, the SCoR has reviewed its education and training requirements for the support workforce. As a minimum, the SCoR expects all support staff in clinical imaging and radiotherapy and oncology departments to hold or gain an S/NVQ level 2 in Health, or an equivalent. Normally, however, such staff should hold or be enabled to obtain an S/NVQ level 3 in Health. These expectations should ensure that the whole of the general support workforce has a relevant qualification and provides these staff with access to the skills escalator and the opportunity to develop further, if they so wish, into assistant practitioner or practitioner roles. Skills for Health, the Sector Skills Council responsible for developing Occupational Standards relevant to Healthcare, are developing a ‘Passport’ system to support the transferability of individuals and their associated skills within healthcare employers and environments. In Scotland, a set of standards and codes of conduct related to Health Care Support Workers (HCSW) for both employers and employees have been published Up to standard: a code of practice for employers of healthcare support workers in Scotland8 (2009) http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2009/10/22092739/1

Pay and grading

It is the SCoR’s view that the knowledge and skills of the general support workforce accord well with NHS Job Evaluation (JE) profiles that have been formally assessed at Bands 2 & 3.

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