New training academy aims to transform NHS imaging workforce

Three health sciences students working in simulation suite

A new training initiative, the North West Imaging Academy (NWIA), is aiming to transform the NHS imaging workforce.

The University of Liverpool is a partner in this multi-million pound NHS project which is investing in state of the art facilities and education to develop a world-class imaging workforce.

This will ultimately improve patient access to high quality imaging tests such as x-rays and ultrasounds, drive earlier diagnosis and reduce health inequalities across the North West.

The NWIA will train sonographers, radiographers, imaging support workers, doctors, nurses, allied health professionals and consultant radiologists of the future.

The University of Liverpool’s Department of Medical Imaging is developing MRI and CT courses for radiographers as part of the Academy. The modules will lead to a Postgraduate Certificate in Cross-sectional Imaging.

Dr Stuart Mackay, Director of Studies MSc (pre-reg) Diagnostic Radiography Programme said: “The University of Liverpool is very pleased to have had the opportunity to work with the North West Imaging Academy to co-design these two CT and MRI modules to meet the current and future service needed. They are designed to provide education and training in CT and MRI to the radiographer new to either modality who needs to be able to get to the level where they can work as a valuable and competent member of the scanning team.”

The Academy was commissioned by Health Education England (HEE) following extensive consultation which highlighted a need to reduce health inequalities, improve access to same-day imaging tests, earlier diagnosis and greater convenience to patients.

Christopher Cutts, Regional Director for HEE in the North West, said: “This is a game changer, a whole new approach to transform how the imaging workforce is trained, increasing the number of staff and supporting them to stay in their professions. 

“The academy is an incredible army of people who share one ambition – to provide better care for our patients.”

The NWIA is a collaboration between a wide range of key partners including The North West School of Radiology, NHS trusts and universities coordinated through the Training Hub at Edge Hill University’s Medical School. Edge Hill will oversee the roll-out of the new academy and hosted the launch at its Ormskirk campus.

Dr Sue Kearney, Director of NWIA’s Radiology Academy, added: “The interconnection of different centres via video-link allows teaching to be delivered by experienced tutors from any individual remote site. I believe this will ensure teaching which will improve the educational experience for all imaging professionals.”

Hubs and satellite sites will be based within a number of partner organisations across the North West.