There is still a serious shortage of diagnostic radiographers across the UK, according to the Diagnostic Radiography UK Workforce Report 2017, with the average current radiography vacancy rate calculated as: England 10%, Northern Ireland 5%, Scotland 7% and Wales 9%.
The report is based on the annual Society and College of Radiographers’ UK-wide diagnostic radiography workforce census sent to all UK clinical imaging managers at the end of last year.
Serious training funding issues, not training enough radiographers and the need to change the overall approach to training in core skills were cited by respondents, as well as the difficulty in recruiting and retaining new graduates, and the number of qualified radiographers who are expected to retire within the next two years .
‘Clinical imaging is integral to almost all pathways of care; as both part of informing the diagnosis and in monitoring outcomes to treatment. Timely imaging and reporting is, therefore, essential in delivering efficient patient pathways, and supporting the goal of improving outcomes for patients. Sufficient workforce is required to support this goal’ quotes the report.
‘More diagnostic radiographers will be required to image patients and at advanced practitioner level contribute to the interpretation / reporting of imaging studies that are part of the diagnostic pathway of care. Nearly three quarters of departments indicate that they have used agency staff to fill the gaps. Positively, reductions in the three month vacancy rate and long term absence rate are seen.’
‘We urge service leaders to work with key stakeholders to develop clear plans to support the growth of the workforce to meet the population’s needs at the local level; this should include optimising skills mix with both implementation of assistant practitioner support workforce and investment in advanced and consultant practice to support service innovation in order to maximise capacity and capability.
Summary of the results
The 2018 census will be emailed to managers on 13th November.