Audenshaw radiographer Lucy wins top national award for her pioneering work at The Christie

Press release posted 11 December

A consultant radiographer from Audenshaw, working at Manchester's internationally acclaimed cancer centre, The Christie, has been named the ‘Radiography Professional of the Year’ at a prestigious national award ceremony.

Lucy Buckley, age 37, is a consultant colorectal radiographer who has worked at The Christie since 2009.

When The Society of Radiographers named Lucy their 'Radiography Professional of the Year,’ she was thrilled. “I feel incredibly humbled to have been recognised by my peers,” she said. “Without their support and encouragement, I would never have reached this point. I’m passionate about driving positive change to benefit the profession, the NHS, and our patients.”

A colleague who nominated Lucy for the award said: "Lucy's dedication and deep commitment to patient-centred care and continuous improvement within the field of radiotherapy is unmatched. Lucy is also an exceptional team player who continuously shares her knowledge and expertise to upskill others, fostering a culture of continuous learning and collaboration."

It was a careers advisor at college who suggested Lucy study radiotherapy. “Having researched further, I realised it would suit my personality and skills,” said Lucy. “Radiotherapy requires a blending of the highly technical knowledge and skills needed to operate the equipment and deliver treatment with the ability to provide emotional and psychological support to patients and their carers during the treatment.”

Lucy studied at Cardiff University and qualified in 2007 as a therapeutic radiographer who provides treatments such as radiotherapy for cancer patients.

Her first post was as an entry-level therapeutic radiographer at The Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital. This was a small department, but it allowed Lucy to gain experience in all areas of radiotherapy, including pre-treatment, radiotherapy planning, radiotherapy treatment delivery, brachytherapy (an internal form of radiotherapy) and post-treatment support for patients. The breadth of experience helped Lucy understand the whole journey or pathway for cancer patients requiring radiotherapy.

Not long after starting at Exeter, Lucy received the devastating news that her younger brother, Jack, had been diagnosed with leukaemia at the age of 18 and was being treated at Alder Hey Children's Hospital. Lucy wanted to move closer to her brother and the rest of her Merseyside family, so she applied for a role at The Christie in Manchester in 2009 as a senior radiographer. Jack is still in remission 15 years later, although he does have some long-term side effects from his cancer treatment.

Lucy made a good impression at The Christie and was promoted to the role of colorectal specialist radiographer in 2010.

Shortly afterwards, she received funding to undertake a Master's in advanced practice at The University of Liverpool.

Lucy finds her current role very rewarding. “I love that my role is so varied and that I'm able to support patients across their entire pathway,” she said. “I attend colorectal multidisciplinary team meetings where we discuss a patient’s cancer diagnosis and their anti-cancer treatment.”

“As a consultant practitioner, my role covers clinical practice, education, research, and management. I make clinical decisions, formulate complex treatment plans and respond to healthcare problems. I explain the diagnosis and treatment plan to patients in a way they understand, and I am well known for using drawings for patients to explain how radiotherapy works.”

“One of my proudest achievements was working with the blood transfusion service here at The Christie and nationally to develop radiographer-led blood product prescribing service for patients, the first of its kind.”

Lucy has benefited from numerous training and development opportunities throughout her career at The Christie. "I have been incredibly lucky to work within a clinical team who supported my professional development through enhanced, advanced, and now into consultant practice,” she said. “I completed my master’s in advanced practice with the support of my medical supervisor, Dr Nooreen Alam, and want to continue challenging the professional boundaries of non-medical health care professionals.”

Radiotherapy has proved to be an enriching career for Lucy, and her advice for people starting in radiotherapy is as follows. "Role opportunities for therapeutic radiographers continue to develop, especially outside traditional radiotherapy roles. More than ever, radiographers are being recognised for their knowledge, skills, and capabilities as a professional body, enabling new roles and opportunities to develop.”

Last updated: December 2023