Workforce shortage concerns prompt return of senior leaders’ meeting


WORKFORCE shortages in the Medical Physics and Clinical Engineering community have prompted the return of a senior leaders’ meeting to discuss the issues.

IPEM is to restore the Heads of Medical Physics and Clinical Engineering (MPCE) meetings, which, prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, were held in person at the annual conference.

The initial primary aim of the rejuvenated meetings is to address the workforce shortages facing MPCE staff. As different regions of the UK have different MPCE workforce challenges, these meetings will now be separated by UK nation, to allow discussions regarding specific challenges each area of the UK faces.

Heads of MPCE - England

The first meeting will take place on Friday 7 July, via Microsoft Teams and any Heads of MPCE, who are existing members of IPEM, are welcome to join. It will predominantly discuss workforce challenges and solutions. Data relating to the current staffing levels and training outputs in England will be presented by IPEM’s Workforce Intelligence Unit (WIU), followed by a discussion chaired by Matt Dunn, IPEM’s Vice President Medical Physics.

If your department does not have an active Head of MPCE, then Heads of Section who are existing IPEM members are also welcome to join the meeting to ensure that all NHS Trusts are effectively represented.

Heads of MPCE – Scotland

Recently, IPEM has lobbied directly to the Chief Scientific Officer for NHS Scotland regarding funding for training places in Scotland.

In April 2024, the Health and Care (Staffing) (Scotland) Act 2019 will be implemented, which will put a legal responsibility on NHS Scottish Health Boards to ensure there are always sufficient staff in MPCE departments. The WIU has been in conversations with Professor Andrew Reilly, Scientific Director of Medical Physics and Clinical Engineering in Glasgow, with a view to developing a strategy to aid the effective implementation of the Act. Following this, IPEM is looking to  work with all Heads of MPCE in Scotland to ensure the safe staffing numbers used to enforce the Act are sufficient for the needs and requirements of the MPCE workforce in Scotland.

Heads of MPCE – Wales & Northern Ireland

IPEM are actively looking for opportunities to engage with Heads of MPCE in Wales and Northern Ireland to discuss the challenges these areas are facing. THE WIU is working towards active participation in the Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW) stakeholder meetings and welcome participation in any other appropriate initiatives.

Workforce panel

Opportunities to engage with IPEM around workforce issues are not just available for Heads of MPCE.  A Workforce Panel is being set up, which will be open for any IPEM members who are interested in discussing workforce issues in MPCE.  The purpose of this panel is to establish and develop strategies to tackle pressing workforce issues and advise on opportunities for IPEM to influence on policy.

Dr Robert Farley, IPEM’s President, said: ‘Restoring this meeting is a vital step to help understand and tackle the workforce issues facing the community.

‘The fact we are going further and setting these meetings up across the UK means we can really look at the issues in depth on a nation-by-nation basis, demonstrating how crucial this is to IPEM, the NHS and for patient safety.’

If you are an existing IPEM member and Head of MPCE (or appropriate alternative) and are interested in engaging in any of these meetings and discussions, please email for further information.