Joint statement by IPEM and the National School of Healthcare Science: Imaging with non-ionising radiation speciality

After a lengthy consultation regarding the best route forward for our Scientist Training Programme Specialty ‘Imaging with Non-ionising Radiation’ we have jointly issued a statement with IPEM detailing the outcome. You can read this below.

Prior to beginning Curriculum Review for the Medical Physics specialties, The National School of Healthcare Science hosted a cross specialty meeting for representatives from all specialties to discuss the future of your specialties. The meeting was supported by IPEM and chaired by the IPEM Director of the Professional Standards Council. At the meeting a proposal was developed for the specialties which was subsequently surveyed with the wider Medical Physics community. The survey supported the proposal for Radiotherapy Physics to remain on the whole unchanged. It also supported rebrands of Radiation Safety Physics to Diagnostic Radiology and Radiation Safety, and of Imaging with Ionising Radiation to Nuclear Medicine Physics.

The conclusion for the future of the Imaging with Non-Ionising Radiation Specialty was less straightforward. The School subsequently hosted a second meeting in December, with continued support from IPEM, to focus on this specialty area. At the close of the meeting a firm conclusion on a way forward for this specialty had not been reached.

IPEM has given careful consideration to the workforce data and the business case for the future of both MR and Ultrasound. Based on the available evidence IPEM recommends that the Non-Ionising Radiation Specialty remain a combined curriculum.

At the INIR meeting in December, there was a proposal for a revised curriculum with a change to the proportions of the MR and Ultrasound content. The content and exact split of the curriculum will be defined by the Curriculum Review Group giving due consideration to the required competencies. All the revised curricula will have a much greater focus on specialty training, addressing concerns around the limited time available to trainees in a combined curriculum.

Up to 32 months will be available to the home department to focus on specialty training in the workplace and university. It is difficult to equate this renewed focus of the combined curriculum to practice time as this depends on the needs of the trainee to achieve the competencies required. This additional time is a result of a new model of Rotations being taken forward which allows for a minimum of 4 weeks per Rotation. The new Rotation format will provide greater insight into the role of Clinical Scientists in the Rotation Specialty and allows for greater flexibility in delivery as a direct result of the recommendations of the STP Improvement Review.

A process of rolling review will be introduced following the full Curriculum Content Review currently in progress. This process will ensure the changing needs of the workforce are recognised and considered moving forwards.

We are grateful to everyone for their engagement in defining the future for your specialties. Curriculum Review for the all Medical Physics Specialties will begin shortly.