Radiographer retention: Exciting research opportunity!

Published: 15 February 2019 Ezine

Researchers are being asked to apply for funding to research the retention of radiographers in the National Health Service.

‘Why do radiographers leave NHS employment and how might they be incentivised to stay?’ is a joint initiative of both Health Education England (HEE) and the College of Radiographers. The grant is for £18,000.

Radiography was identified as a priority profession in the 2017 Cancer Workforce Plan. Both diagnostic radiography and therapeutic radiography workforces are under pressure and without action there will not be enough staff to deliver the Cancer Taskforce Strategy ambitions by 2021.

Based on HEE’s waterfall workforce modelling methodology (5 year historical trend) 9% diagnostic (1290) and 6% therapeutic (159) radiographers will retire from the NHS by 2021 and 28% (3793 diagnostic, 747 therapeutic) will leave for nonretirement reasons. 

HEE already planned to invest in 1890 more diagnostic and therapeutic radiographers and identified further actions to better utilise existing supply and secure 955 additional radiographers through reduced attrition (10%) and improved retention (5% delayed retirement).

“The Plan proposed a piece of qualitative research, in collaboration with the College of Radiographers and NHS Employers, to help understand why so many radiographers are leaving and how we might keep staff, particularly experienced staff, longer,” Charlotte Beardmore, The Society and College of Radiographer’s Director of Professional Policy, said.

This call is looking to appoint a Project Lead and Team through competitive call for research proposals.

The project specification will need to include:

  • Review of existing evidence/data, e.g. peer reviewed publications, NHSE leavers survey
  • Primary evidence collection (qualitative methods e.g. interviews, focus groups)
  • Sample to:
    - identify age / geography / speciality specific issues
    - cover diagnostic radiography (including sonography and mammography) and therapeutic radiography
    - include staff approaching retirement, recently retired and employees of independent providers
  • Collection of case studies, vignettes and/or exemplars
  • Produce a report with recommendations

A participatory action research design would be considered a suitable alternative approach.

Charlotte Beardmore, The Society and College of Radiographer’s Director of Professional Policy, has emphasised “This is an exciting opportunity to produce a solid piece of research that will be invaluable to the radiography profession going forward, and help produce clear evidence and proposals to strengthen our recruitment and retention strategy for the future.”

To apply please send expressions of interest with project proposals to Dr Rachel Harris, Professional and Education Manager, at the Society and College of Radiographers [email protected] by Monday 11th March.

Interviews for prospective bidders who have passed the first stage of panel assessment will be on 22 March at the Society and College of Radiographers HQ in London.