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Resuscitation Training

The Society and College of Radiographers (SCoR) publishes this statement to clarify the expectations of the professional body with regard to training in resuscitation. The subject was raised as a motion at the Annual Delegates Conference in 2013 and this statement is issued in response.

The provision of resuscitation training is the responsibility of the employing authority and clearly the nature of training requires that it should be regular and include hands-on practical training for it to be effective.

The Resuscitation Council UK (RCUK) provides clear guidance on standards and expectations regarding training within its 2013 document Quality standards for cardiopulmonary resuscitation  practice and training: Acute care1  and SCoR supports these standards fully and without reservation.. 

RCUK's standards state that all healthcare staff must undergo resuscitation training to a level appropriate for the individual’s expected clinical responsibilities at induction and at regular intervals thereafter to maintain knowledge and skills. Clinical staff should have at least annual updates.  The training must include how to identify the patient whose condition is deteriorating and how to undertake cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Training and facilities must ensure that, when cardiorespiratory arrest occurs,  all clinical staff can, as a minimum, recognise this condition, summon help, start cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and attempt defibrillation, if appropriate, within three minutes of collapse using an automated external defibrillator or manual defibrillator. Organisations must recognise and make provision for staff to have enough time to train in resuscitation skills as part of their employment. Specific training for cardiorespiratory arrests in special circumstances (eg children, newborn, in pregnancy and in cases of trauma) must be provided for clinical staff in the relevant specialities. 

The practice of radiographers and the wider radiography workforce brings them into constant contact on a daily basis with a large number of patients with diverse healthcare needs. Incidents requiring the radiography workforce to initiate cardiopulmonary resuscitation are not infrequent and it is vital that the workforce is thoroughly trained and regularly updated.

It is clear from the key guidance and standards2,3,4,5  from both the Health and Care Professions Council (as the regulatory body for radiographers) and the SCoR (as the professional body) that radiographers are expected to be able to use basic life support techniques and be able to deal safely with clinical emergencies. However, they must only do that which they have been educated and trained to do and hence they would be placed in an untenable position should a patient deteriorate and require resuscitation if they had not received the regular update training in resuscitation skills. Accordingly, SCoR will consider it a clear breach of an employer’s duty if radiographers and the wider radiography workforce are not trained and regularly updated in resuscitation.

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