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Increased demand for experienced radiographers as student numbers fall

Friday 15th January 2016
Radiographer student numbers are beginning to fall in the UK. Image: skynesher
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Vacancies for experienced radiographers could be set to increase over the coming months, as new figures reveal that the number of students taking courses in this area has fallen.

This is according to figures from the latest Health Education England Commissioning Development Plan, which revealed a wide disparity between the student numbers and targets for the radiography industry.

The health service wants to increase radiographer numbers by 25 per cent over the next five years, but with figures predicting a 4.3 per cent decrease in people embarking on studies in therapeutic radiography over the coming 12 months, officials are concerned that these targets will not be met.

Commissions in this area came in at 414 for the 2015-16 period, but it is expected that only 396 students will take up a therapeutic radiography course next year, and not all of these individuals will go on to have a career in the industry.

For diagnostic radiography, the outlook is somewhat brighter. Some 1,115 students began a course in this field in the 2015-16 academic year, but this is expected to increase by 1.4 per cent over the next 12 months to 1,131.

Commenting on these figures, chief executive of the Society of Radiographers Richard Evans stated: "The downward trend in radiotherapy student numbers is of significant concern."

The society's director of professional policy Charlotte Beardmore added: "Significantly more trained staff will be required and working patterns will have to change."

Training commissions have also dropped in podiatry (by ten per cent), dietetics (8.5 per cent) and physiotherapy (6.7 per cent), indicating that there will be an increasing number of opportunities available for individuals with prior experience in these areas as a result.

Mr Evans continued: "If staff numbers do not rise steadily it will not be possible to meet the targets set in the Independent Cancer Taskforce's 'Achieving world-class cancer outcomes: a strategy for England 2015-2000'."

Written by Megan Smith

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