Conservative MP Maggie Throup speaks in parliament to highlight need for radiographers

The SoR has written to Maggie Throup to thank her for raising an intervention on behalf of radiographers during the King’s Speech debate

Published: 28 November 2023 Government & NHS

Conservative MP Maggie Throup raised an intervention in Parliament earlier this month to address inadequacies in the long-term NHS workforce plan. 

Addressing the House of Commons, Ms Throup highlighted the need for radiographers and other NHS workers essential to offering effective care. 

The Society of Radiographers has now written to Ms Throup, MP for Erewash, to thank her for drawing attention to this issue during the King’s Speech debate.

Debate around the policies announced in the King's Speech In November presents an opportunity for a “wide-ranging and constitutionally significant” discussion about the government's policies and programme for the year ahead, making Ms. Throup’s contribution especially noteworthy.

'We need more radiographers'

Ms Throup is also chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Diagnostics, which “exists to highlight the value of diagnostics, promote the diagnostic workforce, and improve diagnostic services by raising awareness of the barriers and solutions to optimising the early and swift diagnosis of diseases, illnesses, and injuries.”

Ms Throup said in parliament: “The focus of that plan has always been on nurses and doctors, but I want to put in a plug for other NHS workers. We need more radiologists and radiographers; we need more pathologists and biomedical scientists. Let us make sure we have all the supporting NHS staff in place that the doctors and nurses will need to conduct their business in an effective manner.”

Dean Rogers, executive director of industrial strategy and member relations, wrote to Ms Throup, thanking her for her contribution to the debate and for raising the importance of the radiography workforce, among other healthcare professions.

'Crude political shorthand'

Mr Rogers said: “It was reassuring for members of the Society to hear you make an important point about how constant reference to 'doctors and nurses,' at best a form of crude political shorthand, is unhelpful to the debate about workforce planning in the NHS.

“As you recognised, it hides the scale of the challenges in other professions such as radiology, radiography or the other allied health professions, such as physiotherapy or podiatry for example.”

Mr Rogers added that it fails in particular to recognise the “central importance” of radiography to reducing waiting lists and treatment times for cancer patients.

Removing barriers

In the NHS, nine in 10 patients are now supported by a radiographer in their pathway. Meeting the increased demand for early diagnosis and intervention is the “keystone” to bridging through to a “world class, 21st century health service”, Mr Rogers continued.

He added: “The debate needs a deeper level of engagement from those in power to understand the reality below the soundbites. So many thanks again for raising this in a positive way in such a high profile debate. We look forward to providing more specific briefings on a number of key issues over the coming period.”

Mr Rogers raised in particular the issues of recruitment and retention of radiographers against the developing workforce strategy; of removing barriers to these efforts in the 2024/25 pay round; of continued concerns around extending regulation to the sonography profession; and of concerns about treatment and support of international recruits.

Some of these international recruits have been engaged by private sector ultrasound providers, Mr Rogers explained, where the SoR has found evidence of modern slavery practices.

Ms Throup also praised the King’s Speech for its implementation of the cigarette-sale restriction, which raises the age of sale for tobacco by one year, each year.

(Photo: Maggie Throup MP, via