Strike action between Monday 2 October to Thursday 5 October 2023

Consultants and junior doctors at The Christie will both strike between 7am on Monday 2 October to 7am on Thursday 5 October 2023. Both consultants and junior doctors will still provide emergency care during their strikes.

We are proactively contacting patients with appointments that may be affected by this strike. If you have an appointment at the Trust on any of these dates, please continue to come to The Christie and our other centres as planned unless we contact you to tell you otherwise. There may be longer waits than usual in clinics during this time.

Please do not call to check if your appointment is still going ahead.

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Diagnostic radiology and radiation protection

The services provided by Christie Medical Physics and Engineering (CMPE) provide the professional and technical advice and support to enable employers to meet the requirements of the Ionising Radiations Regulations 2017, the Ionising Radiation (Medical Exposure) Regulations 2017 and other relevant legislative requirements. 

Our team of clinical scientists and technologists are able to provide support across the broad range of scientific, practical and legislative matters encountered in diagnostic radiology today. Our group has a number of recognised medical physics experts and radiation protection advisers and we are recognised by the Health and Safety Executive as a Radiation Protection Adviser Body. We are able to draw on a depth of knowledge and experience in providing support and advice.

In the provision of our medical physics expert (MPE) and radiation protection adviser (RPA) service, we ensure that all advice is traceable to one of our 6 accredited RPAs and 6 recognised MPEs. As a large group, we are able to draw on the expertise of staff with a depth of knowledge and experience across the broad range of imaging modalities found in diagnostic radiology today.

The equipment testing work performed by our dedicated team of clinical technologists is directly supported by a clinical scientist allocated to oversee our testing work within each imaging modality. We ensure that one or more senior member of staff is allocated as a dedicated point of contact for all sites that we support. This enables us to build strong working relationships with our customers and provide good continuity of service when assisting employers in the long and short terms.

Further to this, we maintain a hotline and email address which are permanently staffed during working hours should one of our dedicated contacts be unavailable.

We have a well-established, quality management system in place, accredited under the international quality standard ISO 9001:2015.

This covers the following areas of expertise: 

  • assisting with equipment specification and selection
  • critical examinations and acceptance testing
  • commissioning and routine safety and performance testing
  • local quality assurance programmes
  • calibration of QC equipment
  • patient and staff dosimetry
  • incident investigation
  • advice and assistance with research projects
  • staff training
  • advice on compliance with the legislation 

We have a depth of experience in providing support in the following areas: 

  • general radiography
  • direct digital and computed radiography systems (CR/DR)
  • interventional rooms
  • rotational angiography
  • hybrid theatres
  • mobile systems
  • computed tomography
  • cone beam computed tomography
  • mammography (FFDM and tomosynthesis)
  • dental radiography
  • DEXA scans (bone density scans)

Imaging and radiation protection physicists sit within the healthcare science NHS Employer profiles. They are a bridge between science and the clinical environment, fulfilling roles that facilitate and optimise medical imaging to improve patient outcomes while ensuring the radiation safety of patients, staff and members of the public.

The profiles are split into healthcare science practitioner roles (often called clinical technologists) and healthcare scientist roles (associated with the protected title of registered ‘clinical scientist’ – regulated by the Health and Care Professions Council). Within this structure, there is a career pathway for support roles from assistant to advanced practitioner and scientist progress to consultant status (with service manager options for both roles).

Healthcare role regulation is designed to assure patients and the public, as well as employers, that professionals on a register are appropriately qualified and competent to practice. Where physics roles are required in a clinical environment, they should be performed by a clinical scientist or be overseen by one.

Currently, registration of healthcare science practitioners is voluntary although there is a consultation underway by the Department of Health and Social Care on Healthcare regulation: deciding when statutory regulation is appropriate. It is anticipated, that due to the important role of healthcare science practitioners and their impact on the risk of harm to patients, that these healthcare practitioners will be regulated in future.

The table below sets out some key aspects of healthcare science roles.





Healthcare science assistants and associates

Scientific support roles under supervision

No degree required. On the job training.  

Band 2 to 4

Healthcare science practitioners – also called clinical technologists

Undertakes support roles such as quality assurance on medical equipment alongside clinical scientists (differing levels of supervision). Can be advanced, managerial and/or research focused.

Normally a science degree graduate who completes approved clinical training scheme / equivalence. There is a voluntary register. It is possible to take on an apprentice without a degree and put them through a 3-year Practitioner Training Programme (PTP) to registration.

Band 5 (voluntary registration level) and upwards to 8D – typically maximum 8A/B nationally.

Healthcare scientists – also called clinical scientists

Clinical scientist is a protected title. Support regulatory compliance and research and development, working closely with those with sufficient experience to also be qualified Radiation Protection Advisers and/or Medical Physics Experts (see below).

A science graduate with a Masters’ degree in medical physics, completes approved clinical training scheme e.g. Scientist Training Programme (STP) or ‘Route 2’ equivalence through the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine (IPEM).

Registered with HCPC.

Band 7 to 9

Consultant healthcare scientist

Scientific and leadership position with appropriate expertise to oversee clinical services.

Historically, those with sufficient competence and experience to gain a consultant post at interview. Typically, at least 5 years professional experience post registration as a clinical scientist. There is now also a 5 year Higher Specialist Scientific Training (HSST) taught doctorate and equivalence route to consultant registration.

8C and up

These same employees undertake expert, legally defined roles, in both an accountable capacity and through advising employers on compliance with key regulations including The Ionising Radiations Regulations 2017 (IRR17) and The Ionising Radiation (Medical Exposure) Regulations 2017 (IRMER17).

The table below identifies key roles within this field.





Radiation Protection Adviser (RPA)

Gives advice on compliance with IRR17 – regulatory requirement. Staff and public safety.

Portfolio of evidence to meet requirements of HSE/RPA2000. Typically, 3 to 5 years post-registration.

8A and up

Radioactive Waste Adviser (RWA)

Gives advice on disposal of radioactive waste and environmental protection. Requirement of the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2016 permit

Portfolio of evidence to meet requirements of RPA2000. Typically, 3 to 5 years post-registration.

8A and up

Medical Physics Expert (MPE)

Acts or gives advice on matters relating to physics applied to medical exposure. Focus on patient safety. Required under IRMER17

Portfolio of evidence to meet requirements of RPA2000. European Qualifications Framework (EQF) level 8. Typically, 3 to 5 years post-registration.

8A and up

Please note: ‘Radioactive Waste Advisers’ may fall under a radiation protection service or a nuclear medicine service.

Roles and added value

Clinical scientists have general and specific competence that enables safe, timely, high quality, state of the art imaging activities. A recent review (cited within NHSE&I Science in Healthcare Strategy) on clinical academic careers highlighted the achievements of the healthcare science workforce in combining patient-centred innovation with clinical practice. It describes a highly motivated, scientifically trained, research literate clinical community that frequently embeds and creates innovation as part of their core practice. The healthcare science workforce is well-placed to support and lead the integration of future intelligence and technology adoption and provide insight in terms of how research fits into a clinical context, looking ahead to which technologies will be relevant in the future and considering the impact of these technologies on service providers and the health system as a whole. 

Clinical scientists

The following is an overview of the various roles of clinical scientists. Specialist legal adviser/expert roles undertaken are marked in bold.

Specific competence
  • Total quality assurance and governance support including accreditation of service quality
    • Improved patient care by striving for the right test at the right time with no unnecessary/repeat imaging
  • Regulatory advice and compliance audit. Continually drawing attention to the latest guidance and advice on implementation
  • Specification, procurement and commissioning of equipment and services
    • Key to improving access to diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, closer to the patients’ home
  • Uptake and validation of new equipment & technology
    • Preparing for new technology that will be used within the clinical environment, validating efficacy, developing tests to ensure it is suitable for use and continues to be over its lifetime
  • Equipment quality assurance programme development and performance testing
  • Identification of equipment issues and support to return to clinical service
    • Directly impacting on up time of equipment
    • Ensuring evidence for presentation to suppliers to demonstrate poor performance when equipment not fit for purpose or appropriate for acceptance against the specification
  • Integration with manufacturers and managed equipment services to improve equipment management pathways and efficiencies
  • Development of procedures including in specialised/complex services
  • Development of imaging protocols & standardisation
  • Optimisation (dose & image quality), including multidisciplinary optimisation team membership
  • Patient and staff radiation dosimetry (individual/population)
  • Increased personalised care
    • Set up of size specific adult and peadiatric imaging protocols
    • Effective use of dose management systems that track cumulative dose and support justification of repeat or high dose examination
  • Research study set up, quality, dose and risk estimation and Medical Physics Expert sign off
  • Teaching (regulatory needs, clinical science, academic, bespoke)
    • Medical physicists, radiographers, radiologists, dentists and clinicians using radiation 
General leadership and support to organisations
  • Staff/service management/development
  • H&S management, incident support
  • Risk and Quality management
  • Research and development project design, support and implementation
  • Data analysis and interpretation
  • Improvement projects
  • Regulatory inspection support
  • Support to infrastructure and software e.g. Radiology Information Systems (RIS), Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS), dose management software
  • Interface between clinical and management staff groups
  • Development of the profession and evidence-based practice
  • Multidisciplinary team working and networking
  • Leadership in clinical services, imaging networks and government bodies
  • Knowledge transfer between academia and industry and adoption of ideas to improve outcomes
  • Engagement with the public around science 

Medical Physics Expert (MPE)

MPE activities contribute to maintaining and improving the quality, safety and cost-effectiveness of healthcare services and are based on current best evidence or self-driven scientific research when the available evidence is not sufficient. IRMER17 has increased the expectation of the MPE role in diagnostic imaging in both competence and WTE. Simultaneously, the competence expectation of the role has been defined and enhanced with formal recognition through an assessment body. The four main elements of the MPE competence are regulatory compliance, equipment life cycle, patient dosimetry and optimisation of imaging.

Radiation Protection Adviser (RPA)

Diagnostic imaging is the largest manmade source of exposure to the population and it must be managed to ensure the safety of staff, patients and the public. In addition to the MPE role (patient focused) there is the role of the Radiation Protection Adviser (RPA) required under IRR17. This focuses on the radiation protection of staff and members of the public to ensure radiation doses are As Low As Reasonably Practicable (ALARP) to limit the risk of radiation induced tissue damage and cancer.

The department provides advice on all aspects of patient and staff doses to support research projects.

Members of the various groups are involved in research projects with a radiation protection element. Some of our recent research and development is presented here and on the individual group web pages.

Our group continues to be active in providing training both to centre that we support and within our own field. We are a leading accredited centre for the training of new clinical scientists via the NHS Scientist Training Program (STP) and contribute to the development of clinical scientists via the Higher Specialist Scientific Training (HSST) program. 

In addition to STP and HSST, our teaching, training and outreach activities include: 

  • Postgraduate teaching at the Universities of Liverpool and Cumbria for specific fields within diagnostic radiology
  • Teaching on the FRCR programme for radiologists
  • Provision of a training course for staff to support their appointment as radiation protection supervisors. Currently held 3 times per year
  • Regular customer newsletter containing important updates on our work, service and changes to national guidance or legislation
  • A biennial radiation protection and medical physics update day intended to help employers keep up to date with current issues in the field

We issue regular newsletters, aiming to both raise awareness of radiation protection activities and provide educational material across X-ray, nuclear medicine and radiotherapy radiation protection. Read our newsletter from May 2022 to find out more.

Staff actively participate in a range of professional matters including membership of committees and working groups advising on national and international policy matters. 

For more information please contact:

Last updated: August 2023