• A UK survey exploring the assistant practitioner role across diagnostic imaging: current practice, relationships and challenges to progression

      Snaith, Beverly; Harris, Martine A.; Palmer, D. (2018)
      Objective: Skill mix has been established as one method of maintaining imaging service delivery, with vertical and horizontal substitution of roles and tasks. Assistant practitioners (APs) have been undertaking limited imaging practice for almost two decades, but there remains a paucity of evidence related to the impact of their roles. Methods: This article reports on an electronic survey of individual APs within the NHS in the UK to explore utilisation, role scope and aspirations. Results: Responses were analysed from APs (n = 193) employed in 97 different organisations across the UK. The majority work in general radiography or mammography, with very few responses from other imaging modalities. Training routes varied across modalities, with most achieving Band 4 under Agenda for Change on completion of education. Limitations on practice vary between organisations and modalities, with many reporting blurring of the radiographer-AP boundary. Many aspire to continue their training to achieve registrant radiographer status, although there were clear frustrations from respondents over the lack of overt career prospects. Conclusion: Integration of the role into imaging department practice does not appear to be universal or consistent and further research is required to examine the optimal skill mix composition. Advances in knowledge: Skill mix implementation is inconsistent across modalities and geography in the UK. Opportunities for further workforce utilisation and expansion are evident.