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Appendix 3 - Briefing Paper

Evaluation of impact of radiography consultant posts - case study research


The University of Hertfordshire and the Institute for Employment Studies have been commissioned by the College of Radiographers to undertake exploratory work aimed at evaluating the impact of the four tier Career Progression Framework (CPF) and, in particular, introduction of consultant radiographer roles.
The aims of the project arise from recommendations made to the SCoR in the Scope of Radiographic Practice 2008 report
d and are to:

  • evaluate the impact and cost-effectiveness of consultant radiographer posts on clinical imaging services in England to inform future workforce role redesign decisions
  • explore and identify the extent to which core functions are being assimilated into consultant roles
  • identify and investigate factors that promote and encourage the establishment of consultant posts and factors that deter their establishment.

As a result we are inviting you to participate in this pilot study to identify issues around the introduction of the consultant posts and their impact on clinical imaging services in England. Outcomes from the study will include recommendations for measures that might be used by departments to gauge the impact of introduction of consultant posts and will outline the potential merits of a larger study to demonstrate the value of these posts across imaging and radiotherapy services across the UK as a whole.

The research

We have gained agreement from two NHS acute trusts that have adopted radiographer consultants and have embedded fully the Career Progression Framework for the radiographic workforce.  The work consists of case studies at each site to explore the implementation and impact of consultant roles locally. The case studies will capture data on issues pertinent to consultant appointment, operations and service improvement.

The case studies will involve interviews with key personnel in the trusts, including consultant radiographers, consultant radiologists, other medical staff where appropriate, service managers and advanced practitioners. The interviews will be undertaken by Dr Richard Price (University of Hertfordshire) and Dr Linda Miller (Institute for Employment Studies). The researcher visiting your Trust will be:

The aim of the visits to the Trusts is to gather information on the factors that drove introduction of the consultant radiographer posts and the impact that has been seen in the department since then. Some of the areas we will want to discuss with you are shown below; these are factors that our previous work has identified as potentially relevant:

Workforce issues

  • drivers for role implementation and the process of post development
  • rationale and criteria for consultant appointments and areas of specialist practice
  • numbers and grades of staff who directly support consultants
  • impact on use of other staff’s time.

Patient pathways

  • patient throughput numbers prior to implementation and post-implementation
  • proportion of patients meeting 18 weeks targets pre- and post-implementation
  • patient waiting-list length pre- and post-implementation
  • other indicators of service improvement
  • benefits for referrers and multi-disciplinary teams.

The interviews will generate a range of both quantitative and qualitative data on the local impact of consultant radiographer practice.  Examination of the data gained will enable us to provide an estimate of the benefits of introduction of these posts. In addition, we will use this information to develop a data capture proforma that will be suitable for use either by departments that wish to demonstrate cost-benefits or productivity/service improvements arising from implementation, or as a research tool for a larger future study should the College of Radiographers decide to commission further work on this topic.

Case study involvement

We have therefore gained agreement from two Trusts to assist in this initial exploratory stage of the work and your Trust is one of them. You are one of the individuals we would like to speak to as part of the research and we very much hope you will agree to take part.

What will participation involve?

The interviews will last around an hour and cover the topics identified above and other issues related to implementation. Also as indicated above we will be interested in collecting data on patient pathways and service performance before and after introduction of the post(s) and so will be interested in exploring the data your Trust collects relating to the patient pathway. It is possible too that you may be aware of service improvements arising from the changes that are not routinely collected. We will be very interested in hearing from you about what introduction of the consultant post(s) has meant for your department and your views on what data might be collected in the future to demonstrate impact and value.


Although an overall research report covering main findings across case study institutions will be produced for the College of Radiographers, neither of the individual institutions nor indeed any individual staff members will be identified in the report. You will be provided with a copy of the final published report, once this is approved by the College of Radiographers.

Ethical Approval

The project has received ethical approval from the Ethics Committee for Health & Emergency Professions at the University of Hertfordshire.

Protocol Number: HEPEC/10/09/2

d. Price R, Edwards H, Heasman F, Miller L. Vosper M. The Scope of Radiographic Practice Hatfield: The University of Hertfordshire. 2008.

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