04 November 2015
"Without an imaging department, a hospital would not be able to function".
That's the view of Alan Rout, imaging manager at Spire Cambridge Lea Hospital and radiography of more than 20 years, who wants to make the public aware how it is at the heart of modern medicine.
His comments come ahead of World Radiography Day on Sunday, held every year to mark the anniversary of the discovery of x-radiation by Wilhelm Roentgen in 1895.
Radiographers worldwide use the day to promote radiography as a career, as a vital contribution to modern healthcare and as a chance to increase public awareness of diagnostic imaging and radiation therapy.
There are two sorts of radiographer; diagnostic radiographers who use the latest technology to look inside the body in different ways including CT and MRI scans while therapeutic radiographers use the latest technology to treat conditions including tumours and cancer.
Mr Rout said a radiographer's role was vital to the running of a hospital - and the treatment of patients. "If there wasn't an imaging department within the hospital the other staff members within the multidisciplinary team would not be able to do the things they do," he said. "They would not be able to do their operations, cure cancers or see the cancers in the first place.
"Without the imaging department the hospital would not be able to function."
This year, Spire is celebrating the day on Monday, November 9, and will be promoting radiography to all its patients. "It's a fantastic way to promote it as a career, I think it's a vital thing to get it out there," said Mr Rout. "It's a career that not many actually think about when they are at school. I think a lot of people actually come to the x-ray department throughout their lives whether it's tripping over as a child and breaking their wrist, or having an MRI scan later in life. Lots come through for an ultra scan when the are having a baby.
"Everybody uses the imaging department at some point in their lives but people don't consider it as a career for some reason - when actually it's quite a rewarding patient-centred field. It's very patient-orientated which is a key feature I think."
Mr Rout said while they did not have problems recruiting radiographers in Cambridge, outside of London it was harder to entice people.
"There's probably not awareness of the role and job," he said. "Radiography is a very rewarding worthwhile career. There's always many different avenues you can have in your career when you become a radiologist. "You can go down the path of specialising in MRI or ultra scans, read x-ray films, or go into teaching at university. You could also work with one of the big medical companies like Seimens or Kodak.
"It's always a career where the technology is increasing and becoming better as time goes on. When I first started 20 years ago, a CT scan would take half-an-hour. Now with the modelling equipment, it can take five to 10 minutes. Every year a new piece of equipment comes out."