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Providing a consultant radiographer to breast imaging service

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Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust had a shortage of radiologists. This was causing problems to the way breast imaging services were delivered.

Problems included cancelled clinics and long waiting lists for some interventional procedures.

Imminent retirement plans and service expansions made this problem immediate. And there was a significant risk to the future provision of breast services. The trust had already implemented and successfully utilised radiographer advanced practice. And within the department, a consultant practitioner was a new investment.

The consultant radiographer post was a new role in its own right. But the trust intended the role to bring its own unique skill set as part of the multidisciplinary team.


There was an immediate reduction in the number of cancelled clinics. The consultant’s clinical role is exclusively in breast imaging. Their non-clinical sessions allow increased flexibility in their clinical workload. Radiologists usually have a commitment to other general radiological workloads. These are often non-negotiable. As this post is based in the breast imaging department it represents a form of continuity. It provides a conduit between the staff groups.

Colleagues reported an improvement in workflow and communication. User experience is improved. Extra sessions are easier to implement. Fewer cancellations reduces anxiety levels. Patients also receive a high-quality service.

Further expansion

Following further retirements, the trust developed a more robust succession plan. The trust appointed a trained advanced clinic practitioner (ACP) in breast imaging. This ACP would support the clinical work.

The trust also appointed two trainee ACPs. They will be able to support extra capacity in all clinics. These will form a pool of potential consultant radiographers in the future. As they learn their trade, they'll gain experience and confidence. Once their training is complete, they can run some clinics themselves.

Last updated:
26 June 2019