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1) Training

Medical ultrasound is currently taught at postgraduate level in the UK with most sonographers having come from a healthcare background such as radiography or midwifery. Ultrasound courses in the UK are accredited by the Consortium for the Accreditation of Sonographic Education (CASE) and lead to a postgraduate certificate (PGC) or diploma (PGD) lasting between 12 and 18 months. Courses may offer day release or block release patterns of study depending on the individual institution. There are approximately 18 universities or colleges offering ultrasound courses in the UK. Entry requirements are usually a healthcare related first degree in radiography or midwifery or similar science or health related subject and confirmation of adequate access to clinical ultrasound practice.

In 2009, CASE agreed that it would accredit shorter, focused courses that would allow, for example, a midwife to train specifically in first trimester techniques or a nurse to train in ultrasound techniques applicable to work in an Early Pregnancy Unit. These courses must meet certain criteria and will be developed by individual universities and colleges.

For all ultrasound training, it is necessary to have a clinical placement approved by the university or college responsible for the student’s overall training. These can be difficult to find and are often specifically arranged by Trusts or Health Boards for existing employees who they wish to train. SCoR cannot help with obtaining clinical placements. The individual universities and colleges will help if they can but there is a general shortage of clinical placements and they often cannot be of direct assistance.

There are many short courses and study days in ultrasound that are run by professional bodies such as the SCoR, The Royal College of Radiologists, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the British Medical Ultrasound Society. These do not usually carry any formal qualification or award, although they may contribute to an individual’s continuous professional development. Details can be found on the various websites of the organisations concerned.

For those who are medically qualified and are eligible to register with the General Medical Council (GMC), the Royal College of Radiologists has published a document entitled ‘Ultrasound Training Recommendations for Medical and Surgical Specialties’ (2007) which is available from their website at 1

There is no formal system by which qualifications obtained outside the UK can be compared to the UK's awards. A body exists (UK NARIC) that may be able to advise with regards to the academic level but it cannot help with the clinical aspect of training

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