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Independent reporting sonographers-could other countries follow the UK's lead 2017

Gibbs, V., Edwards, H. & Harrison, G. (2017). Independent reporting sonographers-could other countries follow the UK's lead 2017. Imaging & Therapy Practice, Novemb, pp. 25-29.


The rapid growth in the use of ultrasound as a diagnostic imaging technology over the past 40 years, has led to a demand for a workforce with the appropriate skills to perform and interpret the scans. For many years, the majority of ultrasound examinations in the United Kingdom (UK), both obstetric and non-obstetric, have been performed by radiographers who have undergone postgraduate training. These ‘sonographers’ scan, interpret and report their own examinations. Today, sonographer-led ultrasound services are essential and well established. The second largest professional group performing ultrasound in the UK comprises radiologists. Other groups including midwives, obstetricians, emergency physicians and abdominal aortic aneurysm screening technicians, also contribute to services. This model is successful yet it appears to be unique1. No other country relies so heavily on sonographers. Throughout mainland Europe, physicians and general practitioners perform a significant proportion of ultrasound examinations, having undergone very variable levels of training in ultrasound. Alternatively, sonographers may perform the scans but reporting remains the domain of the overseeing medical staff. For example, in countries such as Australia, Canada and the United States, ultrasound might be performed by sonographers but there is little evidence of independent reporting. However, the escalating need for ultrasound services is now causing some teams, particularly from Australia and some mainland European countries, to start focusing their attention on the UK model as a possible solution to meet demand.

Publication Type: Article
Publisher Keywords: ultrasound; education; independent ultrasound; report writing
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Midwifery & Radiography
SWORD Depositor:
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