Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on radiography practice: findings from a UK radiography workforce survey
Introduction: Radiographers are key patient-facing healthcare professionals involved in many aspects of patient care. The working patterns and professional practice of the radiography workforce (RW) has been altered during the COVID-19 pandemic. This survey aimed to assess the impact of the pandemic on radiography practice in the United Kingdom (UK). Methods: An online cross-sectional survey of the UK RW was performed (March 25th to April 26th, 2020). The survey sought information regarding 1. Demographics 2. Impact of the pandemic on professional practice 3. Infection prevention/control and 4. COVID-19 related stress. Data collected was analysed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (v.26). Results: A total of 522 responses were received, comprising n = 412 (78.9%) diagnostic and n = 110 (21.1%) therapeutic RW categories from across the UK. 12.5% (65/522) of the respondents were redeployed. Redeployment did not appear to contribute (p = 0.31) to work-related stress. However, fear of contracting the infection and perceived inadequate personal protective equipment (PPE) were identified as key contributors to stress during the study period. Compared to the therapeutic RW, a significantly higher proportion of the diagnostic RW identified fear of being infected as a major stressor (166/412 (40.3%) vs 30/110 (27.3%), p = 0.01). Conclusion: This survey has demonstrated changes to clinical practice, in particular to working patterns, service delivery and infection prevention and control were key contributors to workplace-related stress during the pandemic. Advances in knowledge: Timely and adequate staff training and availability of PPE as well as psychosocial support during future pandemics would enhance quality patient and staff safety.