Version 5. Updated 30 March 2020
Message from Nichola Jamison, chair of the SoR Student Rep Forum
Version 5. Updated 30 March 2020
Message from Nichola Jamison, chair of the SoR Student Rep Forum
Version 2. Updated 25 March 2020.
This information will be updated once more details have been published by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).
Now that the government has passed the Covid-19 bill (Wednesday, 25 March 2020), we’re expecting the temporary register to be set up by the HCPC in the next week or so with more detailed advice, so please keep checking our Covid-19 pages. The date you will be added will depend on your individual circumstances, which will be determined by your higher education institution (HEI). Please be reassured that the HCPC want to set this up correctly, which means taking a bit of time now will mean less mistakes further down the line.
If your HEI has agreed for you to join, you will be added automatically. You can let your HEI know if you prefer not to be added, or if you’re unable to work for whatever reason.
Being on a register means that you’re an autonomous radiographic practitioner and therefore should be paid at band 5. Some radiography students may be offered the option of working as an Assistant Practitioner at band 4. These students don’t need to join the temporary register.
If you are confident and able, please go onto the temporary register. We don’t currently know when current final year students will be going on to the main register, so it will be better for you to go onto the temporary one. If you are unable to work in a clinical setting in the current crisis, for whatever reason, please speak to your HEI and let them know.
Please don’t put yourself in any danger.
If you shouldn’t be working due to the government's advice on self-isolation because of an underlying medical condition, don’t work and don’t go on to the temporary register. If you’re feeling apprehensive about joining the register, or anxious about working in the pandemic environment, please find someone to talk this through such as a placement tutor, or one of your university lecturers.
What is the guidance for students with underlying health conditions who have been told by the government/their consultant that they should self-isolate for 12 weeks? When will they qualify?
Students in this category should follow the advice on vulnerable people provided by the government. Like any NHS staff member, it’s important to keep yourself safe, first and foremost. HEIs are being guided by advice from the SoR Educational team. Flexibility on getting people through their degrees is encouraged, but it’s important to note that clinical competencies should be reached before going on either register. There’s no certainty when staff falling into the vulnerable people category will be able to return to work, but once we know this, we’ll have a clearer picture about qualifying those students who also fall into that category.
There is no set number of weeks of placement because this is not a registration requirement and placement time varies greatly between HEIs. To get onto the temporary register, students must have reached their clinical competence, passing all their clinical assessments. HEIs are being encouraged to find innovative ways to allow students to pass these assessments if they have not already done so, if they are no longer on placement, or are unable to complete these with placement staff due to staff shortages, or an overstretched service. In the first instance, talk to the course leader to find out what their intention is.
Is there a guarantee that continuing placement will provide opportunities to garner experience, or is it likely such opportunities will be severely limited in the current circumstances?
In the current, ever evolving situation, there are no guarantees about anything. Students, along with NHS staff, will need to be flexible to meet the needs of patients during this time. If your HEI has made the decision to keep you on placement, then you should continue to attend unless there are reasons why you can’t. If you need some assistance or support during this time, please contact your tutors, or the SoR student officer Nic Smith.
Do they have any idea where we will be placed for work once we're on the emergency register? Is it going to be our usual centre? Or wherever they need staff?
It is currently unclear if staff will be redeployed, but it is likely to happen and will be determined as the need arises. Please be flexible like other staff, but if anything is unclear, please speak to your HEI/an SoR rep/your manager. If you have any concerns, please raise them with your HEI in the first instance, or email the student officer Nic Smith.
I work part time somewhere that is forced to close and I’m a self-financing student, so I am currently receiving no financial income. The cost of public transport to and from placement each day, as well as the electric and gas bills for all the boil washes and showers we have to do, is putting more of a financial strain on me. Is there any funding available to get us through placement?
Where workplaces are forced to close due to Covid-19 restrictions, the government is covering 80% of your wages. This should include part time workers too, so check with your workplace in the first instance.
If you’re still struggling, please look into your university's hardship fund and the Exceptional Support Fund if you’re NOT in receipt of an NHS bursary.
If we are put on an emergency register, won't we be expected to work with Covid-19 patients?
All those working in a clinical setting with patients, should follow our strict guidance on PPE. If your placement site has decided that placement students should not be treating/scanning patients with suspected Covid-19, you must respect this decision because they will have carried out a risk assessment to make that decision.
You will be trained on how to perform all of the tasks associated with your job once on the temporary register and should not perform any task that you don’t feel confident doing, as outlined in this advice to all practitioners by the HCPC.
Anyone waiting to take a failed assessment will not be going on the register for now. Your HEI will be looking at your individual circumstances, so you should contact them in the first instance to find out what they are planning for exam retakes.
We’re not sure how exams will be taken or retaken at this time, but we know that HEIs are working hard to find ways to accommodate all situations.
Some students have been offered jobs already, however they may register on the Covid-19 temporary register and work within their clinical placement trust, rather than when their job offer was originally made pre Covid-19. If the emergency continues over an extended period, what happens? Do the students stay at the placement site, or move to their permanent job offer employer?
In employment law terms, if you have signed a contract or established an agreement to start employment with a particular board or trust at a date following training, there would normally be an expectation that you will honour this. You have agreed to start employment with them from that date and so simply not turning up would be a breach of this contract.
For this reason it would be wise to contact the board/trust where you have secured the post and notify them of the temporary offer. They may respond by asking you to start with them instead, which could simplify your position.
However, if you do start elsewhere before starting your permanent post then you should, hopefully supported by the current employer’s human resources department, contact the planned future employer to explain the situation. It may be possible to agree a change to the start date at the permanent post if this suits all parties.
I am currently not attending clinical placement because I have asthma but students are being asked to attend placement on for four weeks to complete portfolios early, so that they can be HCPC registered and start work. I am now worried we will not qualify or will qualify late and so will lose jobs we have lined up to begin in the summer. I am also worried about myself and fellow students regarding the current situation with PPE.
If you are classed as a vulnerable person please follow the government advice and isolate for the 12 weeks they have stipulated. You won’t do anyone any good by not following the guidance for vulnerable people.
Please also speak to your education provider about your concerns and your new employer. Explain the situation, try to find out when your university is anticipating to accommodate students in your situation, and then let your new employer know.
If you have a job offer, you won’t lose this because of Covid-19 restrictions. However, they may have to temporarily fill your position until you’re able to work.
Many staff in UK higher education institutions that deliver pre-registration radiography education courses have been approached to support radiography students to become employed as a Healthcare Support Worker in local trusts/health boards. What are the current requirements for educational programmes in order that students may be considered in this role?
The relevant educational requirements to be a radiography assistant practitioner are detailed within the SCoR document Education and Career Framework for the Radiography Workforce. Qualification levels for a support worker in radiography are also deatiled in the same document.
The Society's opinion is that current first year students (second year students in Scotland) will have met these educational levels and could be considered as a support worker employee. Normal minimal educational level for support workers is a National Vocational Qualification at Level 2 in Health and Social Care.
These outcomes are normally achieved at Level 5 of the Higher Education Credit and Qualifications Framework, or Level 8 of the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework.
It must be stressed that the concept of support staff working in clinical imaging and radiotherapy departments is long established, as is their valuable contribution to service delivery. It is also recognised that the range of tasks and duties carried out by support staff varies considerably according to locally determined needs. In no circumstances should a support worker deliver clinical services using ionising radiations; their role is mostly supporting the registered radiographer. During temporary employment as an support worker, the student will have the employer's vicarious liability as employment insurance cover.
Many staff in UK higher education institutions that deliver pre-registration radiography education courses have been approached to support radiography students to become employed as a Radiography Assistant Practitioner (AP) in local trusts/health boards. What are the current requirements for educational programmes in order that students may be considered as a Radiography Assistant Practitioner?
The educational outcomes to be a Radiography Assistant Practitioner are detailed within the SCoR document Education and Career Framework for the Radiography Workforce, in which the outcomes for an Assistant Practitioner are detailed. These outcomes are normally achieved at Level 5 of the Higher Education Credit and Qualifications Framework (HEQF), or Level 8 of the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF).
SCoR is of the opinion that present 2nd year students (3rd year students in Scotland) will have met these AP outcomes and could be considered as an AP employee. The important thing to remember is that when a trust/board employs an AP in radiography (even on a temporary basis), the employer needs to check for 'adequate training' (theory and practice) under Schedule 3 of IR(ME)R 2017 (2018, in Northern Ireland) before entitling the individual as an IR(ME)R Operator in a particular scope of practice.
To do this, a check on whether the student has passed the relevant clinical assessments that he/she will be practising during this temporary AP employment must be undertaken (a good reference is the published SCoR AP Scope of Practice).
Usually in diagnostic practice, this would mean that they are competent in undertaking standard radiographic imaging of:
Students working as an AP, still require supervision by a registered radiographer. This would be indirect supervision for those practices for which they are deemed competent and direct supervision for more complicated practices. During temporary employment as an AP, the student will have the employer's vicarious liability as employment insurance cover.
For country specific information, please refer to:
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