Radiography: Training

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 7th February 2019.

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Photo of Tim Farron Tim Farron Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent steps he has taken to tackle reductions in the number of applicants to radiography courses since the end of the NHS bursaries for those courses.

Photo of Tim Farron Tim Farron Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of the end of NHS student bursaries for radiography courses on (a) the number of diagnostic tests undertaken and (b) trends in the level of the workforce recruitment and retention in radiotherapy.

Photo of Steve Brine Steve Brine The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

The NHS Long Term Plan, published on 7 January 2019, sets out a vital strategic framework to ensure that over the next 10 years the National Health Service will have the staff it needs.

My Rt. hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has commissioned Baroness Dido Harding, working closely with Sir David Behan, to lead a number of programmes to engage with key NHS interests to develop a detailed workforce implementation plan. These programmes will consider detailed proposals to grow the workforce, including consideration of additional staff and skills required, build a supportive working culture in the NHS and ensure first rate leadership for NHS staff.

Radiotherapy degree courses are three years in length, therefore students affected by the changes to the education funding system from 2017 will not have completed courses funded by loans to enable an assessment of the effect of the removal of bursaries on this profession.

The Cancer Workforce Plan Phase 1, included a target of upskilling 300 more radiographers in image interpretation and reporting by 2021. Currently, 88 individuals have started training programmes towards this, 62 will start in January, and a further 150 during 2019/20.

Phase 2 of the Cancer Workforce Plan will follow the Workforce Implementation Plan published later in 2019.

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