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1. Definitions, supervision and delegation

1.1 Student radiographers, assistant practitioners and trainee assistant practitioners are all part of the non-registered workforce and must therefore work under the supervision of a registered healthcare professional (normally a radiographer).

1.2 Assistant practitioners, do not  practice autonomously, and must work effectively and safely within their defined area of practice, under supervision of a registered practitioner, within relevant legal and ethical frameworks, and in accordance with agreed protocols1. The term trainee assistant practitioner refers to an individual, in training to qualify as an assistant practitioner. Student radiographers follow a recognised undergraduate degree course which leads to eligibility for registration with the Health Professions Council.

1.3 Following guidance from the General Medical Council20 the supervising radiographer may delegate a task but retains overall responsibility for the task and accountability for the decision to delegate. The person carrying out the task activity is accountable for his own actions. The supervising radiographer is required to ensure that the delegation is appropriate and the supervision is adequate. The task activity should therefore be overseen, reviewed or checked as appropriate and, in some circumstances, be signed by the person responsible. Within radiotherapy practice, it has been noted that ‘unnecessary’ delegation has been identified as a known cause of error2.

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