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2. Environments and roles

2.1 Radiographers are pivotal to delivering fast and reliable diagnoses of disease, and curative and palliative treatment and care for patients with cancer, taking responsibility for managing the complete care pathway.

2.2 Professional and legal frameworks define the way in which radiographers must practice. Of particular importance are the Code of Conduct and Ethics(7) published by The Society and College of Radiographers and the Health Professions Council’s Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics.(8)

2.3 The scope of practice for radiographers is defined within the following framework:

  • Occupational Role: clinician, manager, researcher, educator.
  • Sector: The National Health Service (NHS) across primary, secondary and tertiary care; General Practice; Independent and private health care services; Higher Education; research establishments and other fields, for example, armed forces, prisons, customs and excise, industry and commerce and veterinary practices.

The profession’s education and professional development strategy(9) introduced advanced and consultant practice roles for radiographers in line with healthcare policy(10). Recent independent research has demonstrated the degree to which these roles have been adopted and suggests that growth of these roles will increase and diversify yet further.(6)

2.4 Diagnostic radiographers take the lead responsibility for the management and care of patients undergoing the spectrum of imaging examinations, together with associated image interpretation. Increasingly, they also lead on integrating these two processes into the patient care pathway as a member of the multidisciplinary team.(11)(12)

2.5 Therapeutic radiographers take the lead responsibility for the management and care of patients undergoing radiotherapy during the pre-treatment, treatment delivery and immediate post-treatment phases. Working as part of the multidisciplinary cancer team, the role supports patients and their families through the entire cancer journey from health promotion to end of life care.(11)(13)

2.6 Diagnostic and therapeutic radiographers are engaged in research and development to continue to build the knowledge necessary for evidenced based practice.

2.7 They are also responsible for educating, training and mentoring radiographers and others so that patients receive the highest quality and standard of radiography.

2.8 Managing complex and rapidly changing imaging and radiotherapy services requires the highest level of managerial skills as well as excellent radiographic skills: radiographers are essential to the provision of strong and innovative leadership and management of these services.

2.9 The profession also needs innovators and role models to take the profession forward. These radiographers will be drawn from across the occupational roles, particularly from those in advanced and consultant positions and the profession’s leading managers, educators and researchers.

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