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7. Students / Trainees

A total of 49 trainee sonographers are due to qualify in the next 12 months across the 57 departments who responded to this question. 31 of the responding departments have at least one trainee sonographer due to qualify in the next 12 months (all NHS).

14 of the responding departments count the above students in their current qualified staffing establishment.

Across the 57 responding departments, 32 (all NHS) are planning to have trainee sonographers start training with them in the next 12 months. A total of 46 trainee places are planned, of which 21 places are confirmed.

Respondents were asked for any additional comments on their local circumstances with respect to sonographer recruitment, education and training. The themes in the table below were mentioned by three or more responding departments.

Theme Number of departments Illustrative comment
Recruitment is difficult 20 “We have been unable to recruit full time sonographers for the past 2 years despite 3 rounds of advertising.”
Sonographers leave once qualified 4 “We train sonographers and then they leave once qualified which is very frustrating. Often it is due to personal circumstances but a lot of time and effort goes into these candidates and just when we think we will have more sonographers to tackle our ever increasing workload we are back to square 1.”
Recruitment difficult due to location 4 “Very difficult due to relatively isolated position and lack of employment opportunities for sonographers' partners.”
Recruitment is a lengthy process 3 “In general our US posts are vacant for 6-12 months.”
Training because recruiting qualified sonographers is so difficult 3 “Recruitment very difficult/impossible. Training and retaining only way forward.”
Rely on agency workers 3 Have employed agency sonographer almost continuously for 4 years.”
Difficult to get funding / permission to recruit 3 “No funding for training sonographers for nearly 7 years.”

The following table gives the distribution of responses by Local Education and Training Board (LETB) in England for the 48 departments who responded to this question.

Local Education and Training Board (England)

Number of responding departments

East Midlands


East of England


Yorkshire and the Humber




Thames Valley


North West London


South London


North, Central and East London


Kent, Surrey and Sussex


North East


North West


West Midlands


South West


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