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Introduction

The ‘Assistant Practitioner’ was introduced to the radiography workforce as a result of a study into skill mix in radiography conducted by the Department of Health in 20021. The diversity of radiographic practice, coupled with increasing service demand and the introduction of new technologies and techniques, allowed for the exploration of the potential to develop new roles. Within the career progression framework, new roles have emerged that support service delivery by developing individuals in order to undertake specific tasks and activities that improve patient flow and delivery of effective and timely services. There was no suggestion at any point that these new roles would replace radiographers but that they would provide additional capacity in the workforce to allow radiographers to develop and fulfil their own potential. Assistant practitioner roles also fulfilled the need to develop career progression opportunities for the support workforce in clinical imaging and radiotherapy services.

For all new roles there is a need to develop education and training programmes that support the individual in acquiring new skills and extending knowledge. There must be a framework of supervision that allows for development and ensures patient safety during both development and ongoing practice.

Over the past decade, the Scope of Practice of assistant practitioners has been reviewed and revised to incorporate additional modalities and practice settings where assistant practitioner roles have been approved. This guidance brings together in one document the Scope of Practice of assistant practitioners across both diagnostic and therapeutic radiography and across all modalities. It supersedes any previous guidance documents although they may form a useful reference source.

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