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2. Executive summary

Introduction

This is the fifth year of operation of the Approval and Accreditation Board (AAB). This annual report draws into a single commentary the approval and accreditation activity over the 2008-9 academic year, providing a national overview of the nature and scope of education provision. The report is recognised as the most authoritative record of student recruitment, retention and completion.

Comprehensive data and statistical information on the current and future workforce has been provided where collection of data has been possible.  This academic year we have been successful in engaging all our radiography education providers in submitting their individual data. Therefore, we are able to provide a full data set which has not been the case in recent years.

Annual monitoring data

The data collated enables individual education institutions (EIs) to compare its specific data with the national data set and informs discussion with external bodies such as workforce development and planning, education commissioning and professional development. This has enormous implications for the future development of the radiography profession.

We have streamlined our process for collecting data to reduce the workload burden on EIs. An online survey has replaced the traditional paper version of the data monitoring schedule. The system has received positive feedback and, therefore, we shall continue with online submission for future data collection for the next annual report.

Services for Education Institutions and Students

For 2008-9 membership has been complimentary for first year students and £4.00 per month for other cohorts. A six month free membership period on qualification applies to those students remaining in membership throughout their training

EIs have been very positive about the services provided and have worked with the Society and College of Radiographers (SCoR) to overcome data protection issues.

EIs paying student fees for second and third years (and fourth years where applicable) received the inclusive package free for this year.

All first year students received complimentary student membership packages containing SoR USB sticks loaded with SoR documentation, a credit card sized membership benefits card, a copy of the student membership booklet and mini SoR poster.

Educational Programmes

During the year the AAB has been involved in the review and re-approval of several pre-registration programmes. Currently, 25 EIs are accredited to offer diagnostic and 15 EIs are accredited to offer therapeutic radiography programmes, leading to accreditation as a practitioner with eligibility to apply for HPC registration. All EIs completed the data monitoring schedule this year.

Data is provided for pre-registration programmes, with comparative data for the preceding four years where deemed applicable.

The diversity profile of graduates from pre-registration programmes demonstrates that the ethnic diversity of radiography students remains closely matched to the ethnic diversity of the working population. However, the data shows that the profession is still significantly dominated by females.

This year we have included a selection of results extracted from the 2008-9 SCoR Graduate Survey. Interesting responses regarding jobs arranged after graduation and how long after graduation students had to wait before starting a job are included in the report.

The AAB continues to approve courses at postgraduate level across the scope of practice of radiography and has been involved in a number of programme approvals and re-approvals.

Attrition for both diagnostic imaging and therapeutic radiography training programmes remain a concern with diagnostic imaging attrition rate at 26% and therapeutic imaging at 37.3%. However this shows a significant improvement from previous years.

Several issues arise from continuously high attrition figures e.g. without an adequate workforce supply, health care targets for cancer and waiting times will not be met and certainly not sustained. There is an urgent need to reduce attrition.

CoR has published the ‘Improving Student Retention: Guideline & Good Practice’ document which reiterates many of the strategies and good practice initiatives in place. Through sharing initiatives and good practice the CoR hopes that retention of radiography students may be maximised. The SCoR Student and Recent Graduate Survey 2009 illuminated some further interesting facts on non-completion.

The minimal numbers of new submissions for approval of programmes at assistant practitioner level reflect that most intuitions have now developed assistant practitioner programmes since the initial introduction of this role.

CoR’s Practice Educator Accreditation Scheme continues to work jointly with the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy and the College of Occupational Therapists in developing the scheme further and in a united approach. At the end of August 2009 there were 138 practice educators registered with the CoR.

Submissions for short courses have declined, however, the AAB continues to encourage their development. 

Accreditation Process

The CPD Now platform has been strengthened to support the advanced and consultant practitioner accreditation process. The initial accreditation process has been streamlined and it is anticipated this will commence by the end of 2009.

98 mammography students and 554 intravenous injections (IV) students have registered with CoR in this academic year. The data shows a good increase in numbers for both specialities. This year there is a 22.3% increase in registered mammography students and a 44.1% increase in registered IV students.

Consortium for the Accreditation of Sonographic Education (CASE)

CASE continues its work. On 1 October 2009 administration will be undertaken by CoR. It is anticipated that in the future, if sonographers became regulated, then the need for CASE would disappear.

Training of Assessors

The chance for new assessors to shadow experienced assessors is now available. The AAB now has a rolling programme of training days for new assessors and a training day to refresh skills for all assessors once every two years.

The AAB handbook has now been published and is available electronically along with other AAB documentation.

Approval of External Examiners

The CoR is establishing a register of individuals for appointment as external examiners which should be available in November 2009. This should assist in identifying suitable external examiners. This service is part of the CoR’s inclusive package.

Continuing Professional Development

The upgraded version of CPD Now was launched in January 2009 and has been well-received. Development work continued throughout the year with use of the application for advanced and consultant practitioners due to be launched in 2010.

Approximately 6,000 users had engaged with CPD Now by the end of August 2009. The majority of users visit the site during the week and spend over an hour at each visit.
   
Endorsements of CPD programmes had a steady growth. Eighty four applications were received during the periods covered by this report. These included multi-submissions under the same speciality heading from certain companies.

The e-learning facility, CORe-learning, was soft launched in April 2009, in partnership with Philips Healthcare. It contains 90 endorsed modules covering a range of science topics and imaging modalities with a further 80 units currently under review. 300 users registered before the formal launch at UKRC with positive feedback being noted. However, in September 2009, there were over 600 registered users with approximately 200 certificates of completion awarded.

A successful bid by CoR has resulted in 50 e-learning units related to image interpretation being developed in partnership with the Department of Health’s E-Learning for Health.     This will significantly enhance the contribution made by radiographers in trauma services, and support a wide range of healthcare professionals to learn image interpretation skills.

Preceptorship CPD Programme

The SoR’s Preceptorship CPD Programme has been approved. The CPD programme of activities has been designed to provide a suggested CPD framework. This supports consolidation of knowledge and clinical skills for newly-qualified practitioners. The programme consists of 12 learning activities which have been devised to support the professional body accreditation of CPD.

Other Activities

Virtual Learning Environment

The VERT project came to an end in September 2009. All 10 universities and 30 radiotherapy departments have been visited during the project to co-ordinate the installation of VERT technology and to ensure that users were supported, helped and encouraged to use VERT with students.

The formal evaluation of the VERT project will be completed by the end of the year.

Interprofessional Collaboration

The AAB receives reports of meetings of the Allied Health Professions Federation (AFPF) Education Leads. Additionally, the AAB is kept abreast of the work of Assessment and Learning in Practice Settings (ALPS), who have developed a mobile assessment and an e-portfolio system which has now been piloted in partner universities.

Fellow of the College of Radiographers (FCR) by Portfolio

Work is being undertaken to ascertain how to distinguish between the honorary fellowship and a portfolio route which would bring professional recognition. It is hoped the findings will be available to the AAB in February 2010 so that AAB can advise the College’s Trustees and the Council of the Society on this important matter.
 

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