Vikki Clegg's return to practice after six years away

We recently caught up with Vikki Clegg, MRI Assistant Practitioner at Cobalt, to discuss her return to radiography after a six-year career break in the United Arab Emirates.

“I originally qualified as a diagnostic radiographer in 2000 and practised for 13 years in X-ray, CT and MRI before specialising solely in MRI.

After starting a family, an opportunity arose to move to the United Arab Emirates and we decided to up-sticks and relocate. The original intention was to be out of radiography for two years but this turned into six years before I knew it.

A return to the UK and the advent of Covid-19 made me keen to return to practice to be able to support the national shortage of radiographers in the UK. Having lived in Cheltenham before, Cobalt was my first place to enquire and they could not have been more accommodating of my needs.

Coming back was slightly nerve-wracking but the entire team have been patient, supportive and encouraging at every step. Support has also come from Health Education England who is actively supporting all Allied Health Professionals wanting to return to practice.

Looking ahead, I hope to continue working with Cobalt Health. They are forward-thinking with training and technology and constantly strive to deliver high-quality care – an ethos I strongly believe in.”

Karen Hacking-Searle, Head of MRI at Cobalt Health, said:

“An objective of Cobalt is to support training and education of all who work within Imaging. The 2020 diagnostic radiography workforce census published by the College of Radiographers, showed an average current UK vacancy rate of 10.5% in diagnostic radiographers. The imaging workforce needs to grow year on year, and new training pathways developed to support this profession. Radiographers traditionally undertake a degree in Medical Imaging or Diagnostic Radiography, however, an apprenticeship route is now an option and diversification within roles to extend scopes of practice, including image reporting and consultant radiographers ensures careers pathways and retention. Also, the development of supporting practitioner roles is gaining momentum.

Another pathway is Return to Practice (RTP). Whilst there is a recognised training requirement for RTP radiographers and additional pressures on existing teams, we should be encouraging those who wish to return with the support and tools to do so. This returning workforce is valuable, having knowledge, skills and experience in their profession and likely specialised areas, such as Vikki. Investment in their return and development will ultimately be mutually rewarding for both the return to practice radiographer and the team they join.

Cobalt MRI team is very lucky to have two training facilitators to support the MRI Trainee program and return to practice radiographers who previously specialised in MRI. We were delighted to support Vikki and her return to the profession.”