On Tuesday 25 July at 8am, thousands of radiographic professionals across England’s NHS Trusts will stop work for 48-hours in a national strike by the Society of Radiographers.
For trade unions, strikes are a last resort. Asking members to vote for, then take part in, industrial action only happens when we have no other option to make our voice heard.
And we need to make our voice heard. Despite our repeated attempts to share our solutions, the Government isn’t doing enough to recruit and retain adequate levels of radiography professionals. Low pay and long hours mean we have a 10% gap in the workforce with colleagues burning out.
Little wonder then that with nine out of 10 NHS patients supported by radiography professionals, waiting lists are now over one million people.
Speaking about why she’s taking strike action, a trainee consultant therapeutic radiographer in breast cancer from Nottingham told us: “We don’t have enough radiographers to treat people. There are patients whose needs aren’t being met. It can feel as though we’re treading water: we’re seeing patient after patient, but it doesn’t make a dent in the waiting lists. It feels like we’ve been doing that for far too long.”
“We meet people at the most difficult moment in their life,” says a therapeutic radiographer from South London. “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."
Concerns about patient care are echoed by a diagnostic radiographer from Liverpool: “You give so much on a regular basis. You’re seeing patients on the worst day of their lives – how you deal with that is so important.
“There are definitely times when you don’t feel like you’re providing the care you’d necessarily like to provide. Time pressure is enormous, and we’ve got a queue out the door.”
Our members deserve better, our patients deserve better.
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