Plans to invest in more NHS scanners will not solve the workforce crisis, the Society of Radiographers has said in The Times newspaper.
In a piece published on Monday, 6 November, director of industrial strategy Dean Rogers shared his response as all three main political parties have announced plans to invest in new money for hospitals.
While funding for technology is welcomed, Mr Rogers highlighted concerns that new machines will not reduce NHS waiting lists without significant investment in the workforce.
In the article, Mr Rogers said: “The inescapable truth is that there are currently too few radiographers in the workforce to carry out X-rays, MRI and CT scans, and to plan and deliver radiotherapy to cancer patients
“And yet the three main political parties have pledged investment in new technology in hospitals, without earmarking any resources to recruit desperately needed staff.”
Currently, nine out of 10 NHS patients referred beyond primary care are supported by a radiographer, but there are currently one million patients waiting for scans, delaying diagnosis and treatment.
Mr Rogers pointed to society members who have reported having a brand new MRI or CT scanner installed in their department, only for the technology to remain largely unused, because the machine was not supported by staffing budget.
In SoR’s most recent workforce census, released last year, 94 per cent of respondents said there were vacant posts for diagnostic radiographers in their departments.
In his article, Mr Rogers added: “All three main parties need to realise that they have to invest in a stronger workforce. Radiographers need an urgent retention strategy, possibly including retention allowances, as well as improved starting pay.”
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