Radiography census highlights staff bravery amid workforce shortages

Average vacancy rate across providers was 10.5%

Published: 21 April 2021 College of Radiographers

Between November 2020 and January 2021, the College of Radiographers carried out a census of the diagnostic radiography workforce in the UK.

The objectives were to establish the size, structure, nature and vacancy rate of the workforce as part of an annual survey to inform future policy development.

Sixty-five providers of medical imaging responded to an online questionnaire. This was at a time when imaging services were making inroads into the backlog of imaging referrals from the first wave of the pandemic and were facing the prospect of a second surge.

SCoR President Chris Kalinka said the pandemic had highlighted the vital role that imaging services play in healthcare services and the need for a well resourced and well balanced imaging workforce.

He said: ‘A few respondents took the opportunity to comment on the increased workload and
impact from Covid-19 on services and staff, expressing praise for their responsiveness but also alluding to the physical and mental impact on staff.

‘Once again, we would like to thank our service managers for submitting figures for the 2020 diagnostic workforce census. I would personally like to thank all members of the radiographic workforce for your bravery, care, strength, professionalism and stoicism during the ongoing pandemic.’

Census facts and figures:

  • The average number of diagnostic radiography establishment staff by whole-time equivalent (WTE) per respondent is 109.1.
  • Of the 62 respondents, 57 (92%) report vacant posts in the diagnostic radiography workforce.
  • The average current UK vacancy rate across respondents was 10.5% at the census date of 1 November 2020.
  • The rate varies by UK country, with England at 10%, Northern Ireland at 7.1% and Scotland at 8%. No responses were received from providers in Wales this year.
  • The average three-month vacancy rate across all respondents is 6.6%.
  • On average, respondents in NHS England report that 1.7 posts are apprenticeships (by headcount).
  • By headcount, 12% of practitioners at the respondents’ organisations are in advanced practice.

Download the full Diagnostic Radiography Workforce UK Census 2020 report.