New position statement on the role profile of echo specialist physiologists

Published 14/09/2023

The British Society of Echocardiography is delighted to launch its latest position statement aimed at helping our physiologist members to clearly articulate to non-echo managers, the complexity of the role and the requirement for adequate job planning.

In recent years the role of many echo specialist physiologists has developed to include elements of Advanced or Consultant-level practice; for example within physiologist-led valve clinics, stress, contrast or bubble lists, intraprocedural trans-oesophageal echocardiography or complex adult congenital heart disease (ACHD) lists. Unfortunately, the standard description of a cardiac physiologist’s role has not kept up with this change in clinical scope of practice. this document proposes several potential novel descriptions for the role of an echo-specialist cardiac physiologist. This position statement proposes potential novel descriptions for the role of an echo-specialist cardiac physiologist.

The statement also recommends job planning. Job planning is essential to ensure sustainable service provision by balancing the need to meet demand on the clinical service, whilst also balancing the development needs of people and organisations.

Dr Tom Ingram, Consultant Cardiologist and Chair of the Workforce and Leadership Committee said, "The role of an echo-specialist physiologist has changed considerably over recent years, a process which has been accelerated by the current mismatch present between supply and demand for medical investigations. Unfortunately, the descriptions and language used to define this job have not kept up with this changing landscape. in response to this need, the British Society of Echocardiographers workforce committee has produced this position statement outlining the current role profile of an echo specialist physiologist. In particular, this document highlights the areas within patient-care pathways where autonomous practice is already being undertaken (e.g. valve clinics, echo education) and emphases the need for supporting structures to be in place around these individuals so that they can thrive in these advanced-practice roles. We hope that this document becomes a key part of the wider conversation between different stakeholder groups going forwards."

Dr Catherine Townsend, Cardiac Clinical Scientist and Vice Chair of the Workforce and Leadership Committee said, "The BSE Workforce Committee has produced this position statement as a direct response to an individual member’s request. We wish to support our members to evidence to service managers that the requirements of a well-run echocardiography service extend far beyond simply running clinical echocardiography lists and that the individual role profile of echo-specialised physiologists needs to reflect this, as it does in other healthcare professions."

Read the position statement