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Sonography is not recognised as a specialty by the Health Act 1999, so there is no obligation for sonographers to be registered to practice. There is currently no statutory requirement for ultrasound practitioners to receive accredited training. Risk management and clinical governance at local level will ensure that many sonographers will have achieved a postgraduate certificate or diploma in clinical ultrasound. There is no direct entry (undergraduate) for accredited courses in medical ultrasound.

The NSC Down's Syndrome Standards specify the minimum qualifications for professionals undertaking antenatal screening scans.

The majority of training is based around provision for sonographers with a background in radiography or midwifery. Postgraduate medical ultrasound courses are accredited by the Consortium for the Accreditation of Sonographic Education (CASE). Essentially, there is a 3-year programme with dropping off points for the PG Cert, PG Dip, and MSc qualifications; PG Cert (1 year obstetric), PG Dip (2 year obstetric/gynaecology, or obstetric/abdominal), and a 3 year MSc. The only CASE accredited courses in the West Midlands are run by Birmingham City University (BCU); all courses include theoretical modules and the completion of a clinical module/placement.

For many years, the Perinatal Institute has run several training initiatives and study days for professionals working in obstetric ultrasound.

Training Opportunities

The West Midlands Strategic Health Authority has funded a regional strategy for increasing obstetric ultrasound capacity by training more radiographers. The aim is to relieve local barriers to training by co-ordinating clinical placements across the region.

Twleve extra sonographers will be trained across the lifetime of the project.






© Perinatal Institute 2011