Sonography is not recognised
as a specialty by the Health Act 1999, so there is
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
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.