Vanguard established radiographer academy receives high praise

A UK first training academy for radiographers set up to grow the number of people who are able to read (also known as report) X-rays is receiving high praise from the first wave of cohorts.

Since September Rotherham has been home to a tailor-made Reporting Radiographer Academy, which is the first centre in the country where radiographers undertake their initial clinical training together.

Radiographers are the health professionals who take diagnostic images such as X-rays, MRI and CT scans, however some also interpret what the images are showing, alongside their medical radiologist colleagues. Using radiographers to also interpret the images is now common in the UK, however it is believed this is the first time in the UK that NHS organisations have grouped together to offer their existing staff the chance to up-skill through attending the dedicated academy.

The concept for the Working Together Reporting Radiographer Academy was born after the leads from each of the hospital Trusts in Sheffield, Rotherham, Barnsley, Doncaster, Bassetlaw and Chesterfield commenced working together to collectively address local issues. They identified that although they wished to increase the number of reporting radiographers the national shortage of radiologists was having a significant impact on the ability to train staff, so they came up with the collaborative Reporting Radiographer Academy as a solution.

The first wave of trainees from Trusts in Barnsley, Rotherham, Mid Yorks and Calderdale and North Lincs commenced their training in September and are all guaranteed jobs reporting back in their trusts upon completion of the course.

Trainee Ryan Holmes said: “I’m so pleased I’ve had the opportunity to do my training at the WTPV Reporting Radiographers Academy. The amount of knowledge, support and experience we have acquired is fantastic, and I have colleagues who have done other reporting radiographer courses who are very jealous when I tell them about the approach that is taken at the Academy. “

Lynsey Fowler added: “It’s very beneficial that we are taken out of our workplaces and have a dedicated place and time to complete our training, whereas if we were trying to do whilst at the Trust the chances of us being pulled back to do our clinical duties would be very high!”

Emma Tattersall, said: “One of the key benefits for me is that we are all learning lots from each other, not just the tutor.”

Chris Osborne, said: “The course is great. Just two months in and you can already see how massively improved we all are in our reporting.”

James Harcus, the Clinical Educator for the academy said: “They are a fantastic group of trainees . They have the right attitude, and really value the training.

Dr Des Breen, Medical Director for the Working Together Partnership said: “It is great to hear that the first trainees are enjoying the course and finding it so beneficial. It is significantly beneficial to the Trusts too, as well as the trainees. As it is a regionally coordinated initiative, with candidates training as one cohort, it massively reduces the training burden on individual Trusts who would otherwise have to attempt training reporting radiographers on their own.”

Another cohort of trainees will commence their training soon as part of the trial. Health Education England and the WTPV Trusts are exploring the continuation of the Academy after the end of Vanguard programmes in March 2018.

For more information on the reporting radiographer academy please contact James Harcus, Clinical Educator on j.harcus@shu.ac.uk or Professor Bev Snaith, Clinical Lead on b.snaith@bradford.ac.uk