Radiography support workers: A call to action

SoR urges all imaging and radiotherapy colleagues to join together in push for better pay

Published: 15 May 2023 Trade Union & IR

The radiography workforce crisis and the need to retain and recruit radiographers to ensure effective services has been at the forefront of recent campaiging by the SoR.

Radiography and radiotherapy department assistants, assistant practitioners and others who work alongside radiographers to support patients and the service are also experiencing significant problems with retention and recruitment. Like radiographers, they are the unsung heroes of imaging and radiotherapy service delivery.

SoR Head of Industrial Relations Leandre Archer said without these important colleagues, imaging and radiotherapy departments would be unable to function effectively.

“It is important that our members working in the NHS in England who are part of the radiography support workforce know that they are also involved in the pay dispute. Their pay has been affected by the recent derisory pay offer and they are also dealing with the rising cost of living, which is harder on lower wages as most are in Bands 2-4.

Raise profile of support workers

"We need to ensure that they are aware they will also be balloted on 7 June and will be called to action if the SoR is provided with a strike mandate. Whilst better pay is the main priority in this dispute it will also raise the profile of both radiographers and the radiography support workforce", said Leandre.

"It is evident that the significance of both diagnostic and therapeutic radiography to patient flow through hospitals, decreasing discharge times and waiting lists has not been appreciated by the Government. They have allowed years of underfunding and a lack of workforce planning to create a situation where vacancies are increasing, and our members are working excessive hours and burning themselves out to ensure continuity of care and services.

"Unfortunately, patients are also feeling the side effects as waiting lists for imaging and radiotherapy continue to increase".

The independent review of diagnostic services by Professor Sir Mike Richards in 2020 recommended an increase of 2,670 in the number of administration and Band 2/3 support roles in imaging services, along with 2,500 additional assistant practitioners.

If the Richards’ Review recommendations are fully implemented there would also need to be a 438% growth in assistant practitioner roles. Without better pay the profession will not be able to entice people into these roles.

The recent consultation in which over 80% of SoR members working in NHS England said they were prepared to be balloted for strike action gives a strong message that our members, whether they are radiographers or part of the radiography support workforce, are saying "enough is enough".

Leandre is asking all SoR radiography support workforce members working in the NHS in England take a stand with their radiographer colleagues in the fight for better pay: "It is important that they respond to the upcoming formal ballot. Without a strike mandate our voice will not be heard”.

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