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Clinical radiology trainee numbers must rise, says Centre for Workforce Intelligence

Authors: Helen Jaques 

Publication date:  03 Jan 2013


The number of specialty training places in clinical radiology in England should be increased by 17% so that the specialty can cope with rising demand, the Centre for Workforce Intelligence has said.

The number of radiology examinations conducted in England rose by 26% from 2004-5 to 2010-11. The biggest rises were in those that involved the most intense work by radiologists, such as computed tomography (which rose by 86%) and magnetic resonance imaging (125%).

The centre said that there should be an increase of 30 specialty training year 1 (ST1) posts in clinical radiology above the planned number for 2013. The number of ST1 posts should be maintained at baseline plus 30 from 2014 onwards, it added.

A total of 177 clinical radiology ST1 posts are available for 2013, and 176 were filled in 2012. An increase of 30 places a year represents a 17% rise. In September 2011 there were 1068 clinical radiology specialty trainees in England and 2480 consultants.

More than 84% of departments responding to the Royal College of Radiologists’ latest workforce census said that workload demands were not being met by radiology staff working within their contracted hours.

The college has recommended that the number of trainees in clinical radiology should rise by 60 a year for the next five years but has conceded that a rise of 30 a year is more realistic in the current financial climate.

The Centre for Workforce Intelligence will conduct an in-depth review of radiography in 2013-14 to quantify future workforce requirements. The review will cover training in subspecialty areas, the skills mix, and the case for formal career plans for paediatric and interventional radiographers.

Helen Jaques news reporter BMJ Careers

 hjaques@bmj.com

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