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Radiography recruitment goes global at Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust

Radiography in Wolverhampton and South Staffordshire has gone global with the recruitment of 30 healthcare professionals from thousands of miles away spanning two continents to work in the specialism.

Some of the new international Radiographers working at The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust (RWT)

A total of 29 international Radiographers plus one international nurse have been recruited to radiology at The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust (RWT).

Radiographers take images of the insides of patients to help understand and diagnose conditions.

23 of the 30 are already in post, with 13 from the Philippines, four from India, four from Nigeria, one from Saudi Arabia and one from Qatar. Seven more are due to arrive in December from the Philippines and India.

International recruitment was vital because of long-standing, hard-to-fill vacancies in key specialty areas and a national shortage of qualified UK Radiographers. The new arrivals have all been recruited since April 2022.

Most of the recently-recruited staff will rotate between New Cross Hospital and the new Community Diagnostic Centre (CDC) at Cannock Chase Hospital, which will be used by approximately 30,000 patients per year, once it is fully operational.

Sharon Dhadda, Radiology Workforce Lead at RWT, said: “Our international colleagues have brought a wealth of experience, a kind and pleasant manner, a patient-centred approach to care and a vast level of diversity to our Radiology family.

“They have integrated fantastically well and now contribute to ensuring that our patients receive the best care in the shortest time possible.”

This recruitment is all for Diagnostic Radiographers. They use complex equipment to produce images such as x-rays or scans, as opposed to Therapeutic Radiographers, who use radiation to treat cancer and tissue defects.

Staff have primarily been recruited into CT, MRI and the Catheter Laboratory, or Cath Lab, and Interventional Radiology – treating tumours, taking organ biopsies or placing stents by inserting tiny instruments and thin plastic tubes (catheters) or metal stents into the body.

New Cath Lab and Interventional Radiographers will only work at New Cross as these services are only delivered there. The majority of new CT and MRI Radiographers will work across both sites.

A further seven staff are expected to arrive at RWT to support MRI services at the CDC, which requires a large volume of staff which the Trust wants to be permanent rather than agency.

All the new staff have a minimum of 12 months post-qualification experience as qualified Diagnostic Radiographers in their home country.

International Radiographers are supported on what to expect when they arrive with tips on British culture and values, the weather, where to live and shop, government websites and even a lowdown on the Black Country dialect.

They have all integrated well, with many bringing their families, while three have had children since arriving here.

All are registered with the Health and Care Professions Council, and, once here, they are supported and nurtured – initially as supernumerary – to ensure they are well adjusted.

Sharon added: “We are conscious of the need to recruit sustainably and ethically so as not to deplete the workforce from the base country. We also take the pastoral care of these candidates very seriously.”

Leonard Gonzales migrated from the Philippines, where he had five years’ Radiography experience prior to coming to work at RWT.

He said: “The whole department has made us feel very comfortable working here. Coming to work here has been one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life.”

The Trust is also taking steps to train UK Radiographers and has recently invested in a Diagnostic Radiography Apprenticeship to support traditional undergraduate routes into the profession

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