Wolverhampton and South Staffordshire’s radiology department has recruited 29 international radiographers and one international nurse, with the new specialists spanning two continents.
The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust (RWT) has recruited a total of 30 international staff to help fill vacancies within the department.
So far 23 new recruits have taken up their posts, while seven more are due to arrive in December from the Philippines, India, Nigeria, Saudia Arabia and Qatar.
The “long-standing, hard-to-fill vacancies” facing radiography in the UK have challenged professionals in the field, making this round of international recruitment “vital,” according to the trust.
Sue Johnson, professional officer at the Society of Radiographers, explained around 30 per cent of diagnostic radiographers in the UK received their training overseas.
She said: “It is important to appreciate and embrace the diverse professional practices that our international colleagues bring to the table. This will enable us to provide them with the appropriate development and training necessary to ensure a comprehensive understanding of UK radiographer standards, radiation protection regulations, and patient care.”
Those recruited are all diagnostic radiographers, and have primarily been recruited into CT, MRI, the Catheter Laboratory, and Interventional Radiology.
The staff will rotate between New Cross Hospital and the new Community Diagnostic Centre (CDC) at Cannock Chase Hospital, which is expected to see use by around 30,000 patients per year once operational.
The seven staff expected in December will support MRI services at the CDC, which requires a large volume of staff that the trust wants to be permanent, rather than agency.
All the new staff have a minimum of 12 months post-qualification experience as qualified diagnostic radiographers in their home country.
Sharon Dhadda, radiology workforce lead at the RWT, said: “Our international colleagues have brought a wealth of experience, a kind and pleasant manner, a patient-centred approach to care and a vast level of diversity to our radiology family.
“They have integrated fantastically well and now contribute to ensuring that our patients receive the best care in the shortest time possible.”
Ms Dhadda added: “We are conscious of the need to recruit sustainably and ethically so as not to deplete the workforce from the base country. We also take the pastoral care of these candidates very seriously.”
The RWT emphasised the international radiographers are supported on what to expect when they arrive, with tips on British culture and values, the weather, where to live and shop, government websites and even a lowdown on the Black Country dialect.
Ms Johnson said: “The recruitment practices of the radiography department in Wolverhampton are an excellent example of supporting international recruits… and reflects the growing understanding of the support needed for internationally educated radiographers moving to the UK.”
The RWT also recently invested in a Diagnostic Radiography Apprenticeship, to support traditional undergraduate routes into the profession.
The new arrivals have all been recruited since April 2022.
The SoR has launched two new e-learning modules and a learning path to support radiographer trained overseas who are considering joining the NHS, providing insight into the roles of diagnostic and therapeutic radiographers in the UK.
According to the society, these resources “will be helpful to those who are applying for jobs, have been offered employment in the UK, or are new to the role. The SoR is excited to offer this resource to support overseas-trained radiographers in their career growth in the UK. By working together, we can strive towards improving the quality of patient care through continuous learning and development.”