First consultant radiographer for NNUH

Hazel Edwards is making history at NNUH by becoming the first allied health professional to be appointed a consultant. She is one of only six sonographers in the country to be working at this level.

Hazel divides her time between her clinical ultrasound work at NNUH and teaching at the Norwich Radiology Academy, with the emphasis on supporting specialist registrars through their ultrasound training.

Glynis Wivell, manager of the Norwich Radiology Academy, commented: “High quality healthcare is inextricably linked with high standards of training and education. We believe Hazel has the right background to help us develop our educational strategies here at the academy.”

Having qualified as a diagnostic radiographer in 1988, Hazel has been involved in ultrasound for 13 years, most recently at the Lister Hospital, Stevenage, and the University of Hertfordshire. She specialises in obstetric, gynaecological and abdominal scans.

“I am surrounded by a great team here in Norwich,” she said. “This new post gives me the chance to test my skills and do all the things I enjoy most as a sonographer.”

The demand for diagnostic ultrasound scanning has risen dramatically in recent years and there is a national shortage of skilled sonographers. Hazel said: “I am conscious that I am blazing a trail for other allied health professionals and I am grateful to this Trust for offering me this opportunity. I believe more posts like this are needed if healthcare delivery is to be responsive and sustainable in the future.”

Notes for editors

– A sonographer is a healthcare professional who has specialised in ultrasound. Usually they are radiographers, but can also be nurses, midwives, or medical physicists etc.

– Most people associate ultrasound with obstetrics and pregnant women but the technology is also used to diagnose conditions ranging from vascular disorders to musculoskeletal problems. It is non-invasive and requires no radiation.

– During a three-year degree programme, provided locally at University Campus Suffolk, Ipswich, trainee radiographers choose between diagnostic radiography or radiotherapy for cancer treatment. Initially they work across all areas, although many go on to specialise in ultrasound, MRI or mammography.

– In the main, images are interpreted by radiologists – doctors with specialist training – but there are currently six radiographers working at NNUH who are qualified to interpret and report a limited number of images and who in turn provide training for junior doctors.

– Almost all sonographers, both at the NNUH and nationally, interpret and report on their own examinations.

– The Norwich Radiology Academy, based at the Cotman Centre, opened in 2006 to address a national shortage of qualified radiologists. It is one of only three such institutions in the country.

Tuesday 6th of July 2010 03:00:05 PM