SoR officer tackles ultrasound controversy on BBC Woman’s Hour 

Sonographers have faced backlash when partners excluded from examinations

Published: 29 March 2021 News

Gill Harrison, SoR Professional Officer for Ultrasound, has spoken on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour about the #butnotmaternity campaigners demanding that partners are allowed into obstetric scans.

During the interview, Gill raised the many clinical demands and physical conditions faced by sonographers while conducting examinations under Covid-19 restrictions.

She acknowledged the importance of having partners and support people present, and the efforts being made to achieve that, but made clear the equally important issues for sonographers, including:

  • Risk to other patients such as cancer patients.

  • Prepping the patient for the scan and cleaning the room after each patient. 

  • Having to focus on the ultrasound in order to report any finding accurately which could have life-changing effects if not done so. 

  • The health of the sonographer themselves and their family and how contracting Covid could impact them.

Gill was cut off in the interview before being able to mention the distractions that live streaming would have on sonographer concentration or sonographers’ concerns about being live recorded whilst performing a complex clinical examinations.

The invitation to speak on Woman’s Hour came after months of controversy and increasing low morale among sonographer facing the daily impact of Covid-19 as well as abuse in hospital and on social media from angry partners.

In February, London sonographer Anna Madar wrote a powerful opinion article in Synergy News detailing the struggles faced by colleagues, which prompted the interest from the BBC:  ‘We cannot allow obstetric ultrasound to become entertainment'.

Listen to Gill’s interview on the BBC Sounds App and on the BBC website here, from 30.12 to 37 mins into the recording.