Long-awaited NHSEI Imaging Network Guidance published

"The pressures on radiography services are extreme and we need to see more radiographers and associated professionals at the front line"

Published: 07 April 2022 SoR

NHS England and Improvement has published the long-awaited Workforce Guidance to accompany the already published general guidance on Diagnostic Imaging Networks in England.

The Society of Radiographers contributed extensively to the work in preparation for this guidance. We were joined by colleagues from the Royal College of Radiologists and the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine.

The document opens with an important recognition of the current severe workforce shortage in Diagnostic Imaging, across all professions. It calls for increases in recruitment and training in line with the review produced by Professor Sir Mike Richards: , Diagnostics: recovery and renewal (2020).

The SoR suggests that these vital increases in the workforce are essential if the initiatives and great examples of good practice in the guidance are to be anything more than aspirations for the many services struggling to deliver on a daily basis across England. Our members tell us that many of them and their services feel broken. 

The benefits to service users and to better health for the population can only be fully realised when there is sufficient growth in numbers of the whole imaging workforce.  From our perspective, we continue to push to see growth in numbers for radiographers, sonographers, assistant practitioners and the essential support workforce as well as seeking increased investment in education and development across all areas of practice. 

Sue Johnson, Professional Officer for Clinical Imaging and one of the SoR representatives on the National Imaging Board said: “The SoR is pleased to see the publication of this guidance. We contribute as a professional body to the work of the NHS England / Improvement National Imaging Board and it has been good to be consulted extensively on the guidance as it has been developed.

“We hope that this guidance will provide a source of ideas and inspiration for service managers and clinical members alike. The pressures on radiography services are extreme and we know that ultimately, we need to see more radiographers and associated professionals at the front line. Until this happens, the guidance points to case studies and other examples of innovation that proudly show how commitment to better services can be realised through team-working, commitment and ingenuity of radiographers.”