Workforce Intelligence Unit

IPEM’s Workforce Intelligence Unit provides accurate data on the UK medical physics and engineering sectors, for the benefit of both the profession and patients. IPEM is uniquely well placed to collect and interpret this data from a complex workforce landscape, across the UK.

The Unit comprises the Workforce Intelligence Manager, Jemimah Eve, and is overseen by IPEM's UK Liaison Group.

Data, surveys, reports and guidance notes from the WIU are available on our members' pages

Why do we need accurate workforce data?

High-quality data is vital to ensuring the right decisions are made on issues such as training, recruitment, staffing and services.  The Unit was set up in 2013 to meet a widely recognised lack of comprehensive data in this area. The information we collect is used to:

  • Advise on policy. Decision makers such as Higher Education England and the National Shortage Occupation List need such data, often at short notice. The information could prove particularly important for a possible future review of NHS healthcare science.
  • Inform our members. The data is available for our members to use to help them influence local, regional or national decisions.
  • Shape IPEM’s own work. The Unit’s work improves IPEM’s knowledge and understanding of the sector and helps form policies and priorities.

In June 2015, data from the 2014 Radiotherapy Census was used to form IPEM's Position Statement on the Radiotherapy Physics Workforce, and also a more detailed report which is available to members on the member's pages.

Workforce data also enabled IPEM input authoritatively into the Centre for Workforce Intelligence's Call for Evidence for advising the Migratory Advisory Committee regarding the National Shortage Occupation List. The result was that  Nuclear Medicine Physics, Scientist and Practitioner, and Radiotherapy Physicist, Scientist and Practitioner remain on the list, facilitating recruitment from outside the European Economic Area.

What is the unit working on?

Ultrasound Physics Workforce Survey

A survey to assess the WTE and experience of those providing physics support to ultrasound.

Magnetic Resonance Equipment Survey, a joint survey with other members of the Clinical Imaging Board

The Clinical Imaging Board is launching a survey to gain a better understanding of the current state of UK NHS magnetic resonance (MR) equipment. 

The CIB is seeking to establish current utilisation, identify whether existing equipment is fit for purpose, and understand organisations’ plans for replacement.

These plans will then be used to predict whether the current state is adequate for anticipated future increases in demand. 

The end result will be a freely available report, published by the CIB, and will follow on from the successful CT equipment survey conducted last year which elicited a 64% response from NHS organisations across the UK and Channel Islands. 

This survey is being carried out via an excel spreadsheet, which is available to download by clicking on the button below.When prompted to do so, please make sure you select ‘enable macros’, otherwise the document will not open.  

Macros will need to be enabled prior to completion, and the completed spreadsheet mailed back to, as per the instructions. If macros are enabled this process is automated.

Workforce Surveys 2016

Workforce Surveys 2015

There were four workforce surveys undertaken in 2015:

  • Clinical Computing (closed, data in analysis)
  • Rehabilitation Engineering (report in progress)
  • Radiotherapy Physics (report in progress)
  • Ultrasound delayed until 2016


Staffing and services baseline

The Unit is providing baseline mapping of the UK’s medical physics and engineering staffing and services. The data should reveal any regional differences and provide a basis for subsequent studies.  It can be overlaid onto other geospatial data, such as disease incidence. In 2014 staffing surveys were carried out in the following specific workforce areas:

  • Diagnostic Radiology 
  • Radiation Protection 
  • EBME 

 Visit the members' pages for results of mapping and surveys.

Electronic Staff Records (ESR)

NHS England and Wales recently updated the ESR coding for healthcare science staff. The new codes are much more detailed than before and an important opportunity to collect better workforce data.  To ensure the new codes are applied consistently, the Unit worked with heads of department to produce guidance notes. Visit the members' pages for more information and guidance notes.  

Workforce watch

A confidential way to report any workforce changes that could threaten service delivery, such as band downgrading or non-replacement of staff. The aim is to develop a nationwide picture of any concerns, with which to address senior officials, if necessary. We do not intercede in individual cases. Workforce watch.

How is access to the data controlled?

All information collected is treated in strict compliance with the Data Protection Act. We also recognise other confidentiality issues. Some of our information is being made available to IPEM members only, at least in the first instance. You can view our Data Usage Policy here.

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