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Executive Summary

Background and Nature of the Research

This work was carried out by the Society and College of Radiographers to update the Scope of Practice 2008 report1 by identifying practice developments over the past four years and quantifying the scope of current practice.

Exploring the Diagnostic Radiographic Workforce

143 service managers in diagnostic imaging departments across the UK responded to an online questionnaire identifying the scope of practice of diagnostic radiographers in their department.

The results show that the scope of practice for the diagnostic radiographic workforce continues to develop. Significant numbers of departments have radiographer-led examinations, interventional procedures and gastro-intestinal studies. Many radiographers issue written reports, especially in ultrasound departments. In diagnostic ultrasound, fewer departments are offering a service in early pregnancy, obstetrics and abdominal and more departments are offering nuchal thickness and musculoskeletal services when compared to the 2008 survey. There has been a three-fold increase in the proportion of departments with research radiographers since 2008. However, there has been a slight drop from 42% to 33% in the proportion of departments with radiographers with a substantive role in clinical education over the same period.

Exploring the Therapeutic Radiotherapy Workforce

Radiotherapy service managers from 43 out of 64 centres across the UK responded to an online questionnaire identifying the scope of practice of therapeutic radiographers in their respective centres.

The results from this survey demonstrate that the role of the therapeutic radiographer continues to expand with responsibilities across the entire radiotherapy pathway. In many centres these include responsibility for an increasing range of pre-treatment, treatment and post treatment activities. All but one centre have therapeutic radiographers responsible for pre-treatment imaging, whilst two thirds of centres (67%) have a radiographer-led treatment planning service. Most centres (81%) have radiographer-led on treatment review, and in 30% of centres radiographers are undertaking supplementary prescribing. Around two thirds of centres (65%) have tumour site specialist radiographers and just over four fifths of centres (81%) have technical specialist roles. There has been a 29% increase in the number of centres with advanced practitioners and a 7% increase of those with consultant practitioners since 2008. There has been a slight increase in the percentage of centres with research radiographers, from 61% in 2008 to 70% in this survey. However, as with diagnostic radiographers, there has been a drop in the proportion of centres with radiographers with a substantive role in clinical education from two thirds (67%) in 2008 to just over half (51%) in this survey.

 

 

1 Scope of Radiographic Practice (2008) University of Hertfordshire in collaboration with the Institute for Employment Studies for the Society and College of Radiographers
 

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