CASE Position Statements on the following topics are published below:
Independent Scanning Prior to Award Ratification
Issued December 2021
Students enrolled on a CASE accredited programme must not undertake independent scanning / decision making without supervision until the final (or interim) award is ratified by the university examination board.
For students achieving a pass grade in all academic and clinical assessments, final marks and the overall exit (or interim) award remain provisional until subject to the scrutiny of the university academic examination boards.
Until the final award or modules equivalent to an interim award (eg. PgCert) are ratified, the trainee remains a student of the university, and an appropriate level of supervision (commensurate with their ability) must continue to remain in place in line with university, CASE, BMUS and any other relevant United Kingdom (UK) professional body guidelines. The employer must be able to provide relevant indemnity cover for any individual being employed as a sonographer. Students/new sonographers are strongly advised to check that their employment contract covers this. Additional secondary professional indemnity insurance cover can be arranged, for example through their respective professional body, as long as employer primary insurance is in place.
Non-synchronised Events - CASE / University
Issued May 2021
The following statement is issued to clarify the potential impact of a non-synchronous event where a HEI validation event is held separately from a formal accreditation review meeting.
University approval/re-approval events must normally coincide with CASE accreditation/re-accreditation events. Where this is not possible, the CASE event is normally scheduled first. This provides opportunity for any CASE conditions and recommendations to be addressed during the formal internal event.
Where university validation for a programme has already occurred, there may be limited opportunity for programme teams to implement CASE requirements ahead of a scheduled intake. Where substantive changes are required to meet CASE conditions, it may be necessary for the programme to run for the affected academic year without accreditation. Conditions will then need to be addressed through formal internal University processes prior to confirmation of CASE accreditation.
It is the responsibility of the programme team to ensure that, where relevant, students joining the programme are informed that the programme is not CASE accredited for that academic year.
Programme and course accreditation documentation
Following on from the above, Course Leaders should also be made aware of the following statement to reinforce the use of the documentation checklist and to highlight the matter that poor documentation can cause a delay in the process.
CASE accreditors undertake this work in addition to their substantive roles. To ensure timely and effective accreditation processes documentation should be complete, in a logical order with clear indexing and sent in a timely manner. The CASE website has a section ‘Documentation requirements - A checklist for the programme team’ [on this page] to assist programme teams when preparing for the accreditation.
Inaccurate, incomplete, contradictory or disorganised documentation takes an enormous amount of accreditor time. CASE will no longer be able to review substandard documentation. Programme teams will be asked to follow the guidance and complete the documents to an acceptable standard otherwise, this may delay accreditation.
Social Scanning *
Issued May 2021
Issues around ‘social scanning’ have been raised as Programme Leads are seeing an increase in applicants looking to qualify in sonography, not for diagnostic purposes but for commercial reasons (eg. baby scans for gender-reveal parties). They have asked for clarification on CASE’s position and so the following response is issued as a formal position statement:
CASE has a responsibility to provide assurance that ultrasound trainees completing an accredited course are safe, competent and have a clear and confident understanding of their scope of practice. This is at the heart of why CASE exists. The learning outcomes that must be met by students completing a CASE accredited course reflect the level of understanding and skill required for a first post competent practitioner, undertaking medical ultrasound examinations within an evidence-based environment. (For example, for obstetric ultrasound, these outcomes must be consistent with current national guidelines, including the NHS Fetal Anomaly Screening Programme or equivalent and Saving Babies Lives Care Bundle v2.)
Members of the public are unable to distinguish between sonographers employed in an NHS context and individuals undertaking social scans. To safeguard patients, and to be able to hold practitioners to account, it is recognised that there is urgent need for statutory regulation of ultrasound practice in the UK. Personal accreditation of an individual’s ultrasound practice is not a process that falls within the remit of CASE. However, in the absence of statutory regulation, CASE has a vital role in ensuring that all trainees completing an accredited course are prepared fully for practice within an NHS context. On completion of a CASE accredited award (PgC, PgD or MSc) sonographers are able to register as a sonographer with the Register of Clinical Technologists. [therct.org.uk]
In line with the position of our member organisations, CASE accreditation is only applicable to courses of study that prepare students for the use of ultrasound imaging for medical diagnosis and /or as an aid to medical/surgical interventions. CASE will not accredit courses (full awards or focused) that prepare trainees solely for the purpose of social scanning where there is no medical justification.
* Social scanning definition: The use of ultrasound for pregnant patients where there is no clinical justification for the scan. This may include scanning solely for fetal sexing and/or to capture souvenir images of the baby.
Focused obstetric courses for 3rd trimester obstetrics, Saving Babies Lives Care Bundle version 2 (SBLCBv2) Issued May 2021
Following in-depth review of CASE processes and requirements for focused course accreditation, the following position statement is issued in relation to Focused Courses in Third Trimester Obstetric Scanning:
CASE accreditation will only be approved for focused courses that specify a clearly defined scope of practice and that require trainees to demonstrate the same level of competency as any other health care professional (HCP) carrying out that same examination. For applications that are technically complex, or where differential diagnosis is required, existing CASE learning outcomes (level 6 / level 7) need to be met. The extent to which this can be delivered and assessed effectively within a Focused Course format is dependent on target course attendants, as well as the technical complexity of the defined area of practice.
Following review of the requirements of the Saving Babies Lives Care Bundle (SBLCBv2), we confirm that Third Trimester Obstetric Scanning will not be considered by CASE as appropriate for delivery by a focused course format due to the breadth and complexity of scanning undertaken in this high-risk context. A formal HEI award is required.
A stand-alone module format (such as a negotiated module) may be suitable for CPD applicants where recruitment is restricted to trainees who can evidence prior knowledge and skills consistent with CASE learning outcomes (level 6 / level 7) in science / professional issues. For example, this may include learners who already hold a formal obstetric ultrasound qualification (or who have completed previous focused training) who wish to develop additional skills in middle cerebral artery (MCA) or uterine artery (UA) Doppler.