National Breast Imaging Academy set to deliver £50m in health savings

Tackling retention and recruitment issues is proving its long-term value, says independent report

Published: 19 January 2023 Breast

The National Breast Imaging Academy (NBIA) is helping to deliver improved outcomes for patients and save the health economy £50m over 10 years, according to an independent evaluation report.

The NBIA was established in 2018 to deliver new training programmes and tackle recruitment and retention issues across the breast imaging workforce in England. Funded by Health Education England and hosted by Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, it has developed a Mammography Associate apprenticeship, Breast Clinician Credential, Radiology Fellowship and extensive e-learning resources for breast imaging professionals.

The analysis by Economics By Design predicted that between 2020 and 2029 the savings would be generated against the costs of traditional practice, such as using agency and locum staff.

NBIA Programme Lead Dr Mary Wilson said: “By supporting and developing new training pathways, we have already provided a significant uplift in the multidisciplinary workforce. This includes the 160 Mammography Associates enrolled to date, plus the 31 Radiology Fellows and 20 Breast Clinicians undertaking or completing their training”.

SoR involvement

Sue Johnson, SoR Professional Officer for Clinical Imaging who leads on breast imaging, has served on the steering group of the academy since 2018.

She said: “It is an excellent testament to their abilities and passions that they have delivered successful workforce growth with significant transformation in an economically sustainable way”.

For radiography, the development and successful adoption of the level 4 mammography associate apprenticeship has seen this role now embedded in the CoR Education and Career Framework with its own accreditation pathway. The work is continuing on level 5 mammography assistant practitioner roles, in line with the NHS and CoR career framework.

“This supports registered radiographers developing into enhanced, advanced and consultant radiographer roles”, said Sue. “I look forward to continued work with the Academy, as they go from strength to strength.”

Image: NBIA