Today thousands of radiography professionals continue their 48-hour strike to urge the Government to invest immediately in pay and conditions and stop the recruitment and retention crisis which is driving huge waiting lists.
Yesterday our members joined picket lines, spoke to patients and the press and lost a day’s pay to shine a light on the 10% gap in the workforce which leaves one million patients waiting for diagnosis and treatment.
Our members’ stories flooded national, regional and social media, sharing the reality of low pay and long hours on their lives and wellbeing as well as the impact on patients’ care.
A therapeutic radiographer from South London explains: “We meet people at the most difficult moment in their life. By giving them a positive experience, you know you make a difference to their cancer journey. But there’s so few of us, we can’t provide the level of care they deserve.”
And a radiology department assistant from Southampton says: “Our waiting list is huge. One time, we went through 20 patients in two hours in emergency CT. It was a conveyor belt. I ended up with a nosebleed, I was that stressed.”
A diagnostic radiographer from Macclesfield describes her concerns over her pay not keeping up with the cost of living: “In the time we’ve been using our nursery, fees have gone up four or five times. The government’s proposed increase in my pay won’t cover the increase in nursery fees – absolutely not.”
And a trainee consultant therapeutic radiographer in breast cancer shares her experience of colleagues leaving the profession: “I see young radiographers come into the profession, and I hope they’ll stay. But they don’t: one person left to retrain as a vet; another left without any job to go to. And I understand why they leave: I’ve been feeling burnt out, too.”
The NHS is in crisis now. We need an immediate plan which includes: a good starting salary to attract trainees; pay restoration over a reasonable time to retain colleagues; and an end to the long-hours culture and dependence on expensive agencies.
Our members deserve better, our patients deserve better.