What assessment has the Minister made of the workforce shortfall of therapeutic radiographers in Wales?
The overall workforce is now at record levels, with over 102,000 people employed by NHS Wales organisations. Health boards and NHS trusts actively manage their workforce with regular recruitment when vacancies arise.
Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW) is working with the Wales Cancer Network to consider how to improve workforce planning to support the single cancer pathway. This work will support health boards and trusts with their workforce planning.
In developing the annual education commissioning plan, HEIW’s recommendations are informed by health board and trust workforce plans, workforce modelling and wider available workforce intelligence, such as recruitment difficulties.
In December 2020, we announced a significant uplift in oncology training places and related specialties which see large volumes of cancer patients such as gastroenterology and urology. We are also working through the National Endoscopy Programme to train more clinical endoscopists, to develop a specialist staff bank and to develop a recruitment campaign for endoscopy professionals.
The number of full time equivalent (FTE) histopathologists has increased by 14% since 2016, however there is a recognised need to expand the number of training places as greater demands are placed on histopathology services due to the complexity of reporting and the evolving field of genomics. HEIW will be undertaking a review of current training capacity and will make recommendations in 2022.
We have supported a significant increase in the number of clinical radiology and radiographer training posts in recent years, responding to health board and trust workforce plans. Since 2016 the number of FTE clinical radiology staff increased by 16% and therapeutic radiographers by 8%.
Specialist cancer nurses play a vital role in delivering high-quality care, supporting people and their families through cancer. The number of registered nurses in Wales continues to increase and training places have risen significantly. HEIW is leading on the development of a new workforce plan for nursing.