Orthopaedic technician role

Hospital corridor

20 / 11 / 2012 Midnight


This section below includes advice that has been issued and prepared by the Job Evaluation Group (JEG) on how to match and evaluate orthopaedic technician jobs.


Following earlier advice about matching of orthopaedic technicians produced by the Job Evaluation Group (JEG), the Association of Orthopaedic Technicians (AOT) requested a meeting with JEG to state their belief that there should be profession-specific profiles rather than having jobs matched to the Healthcare Science generic profiles. Following this meeting a mapping exercise was carried out by JEG using job descriptions and JAQs sent by the AOT, where the jobs appeared to match the profiles. However, because of the sensitivity of the issues surrounding the banding of orthopaedic technicians, it was agreed by the NHS Staff Council Executive that partnership JEG pairs should visit a selection of orthopaedic departments and carry out a fact-finding exercise.

The following areas of investigation were drawn up by JEG:

1. Communication

  • nature of any explanations or advice to patients concerning maintenance of casts /splints & possible complications
  • nature of any telephone queries

2. Knowledge, training, experience

  • detail of what is learnt on a casting course, what has to be learnt through other means for the different jobs & how long typically does this take?
  • extent of required knowledge of physiology /anatomy, wound treatment and orthopaedic /trauma conditions

3. Analytical

  • extent of any involvement in initial assessment
  • nature of any selected treatment
  • frequency of any requirement to interpret x-rays and assess up to date treatment

4. Patient Care

As for 1 above
Extent of wound care undertaken
For Practitioner & Manager: Extent to which assesses initial patient condition, advises junior doctors on the treatments available and then develops, plans, implements and evaluates that treatment.

11. Research and development

  • check nature and frequency of any requirement to carry out research work or clinical trials

12. Freedom to act

Check the extent to which the jobholder follows clear procedures and protocols & nature of supervision received

13. Emotional Effort

  • extent and nature of any emotional demands

The visits

It was agreed to visit a variety of sites with as much geographic variation as was possible, with the aim to meet staff and observe them working. The four selected by JEG were:

  • Trust A - A large specialist teaching hospital in East of England.
  • Trust B - A trust in rural Wales.
  • Trust C - a large acute hospital in the North West.
  • Trust D - a specialist orthopaedic hospital.

The visits took place from December 2007 to March 2008 and all those who took part reported back to a meeting of the JEG Monitoring/Profile Group on 12 March 2008.

Conclusions reached

Following the completion of the shadowing exercise and after discussion, JEG felt comfortable that the majority of orthopaedic technician would successfully match to the generic Healthcare Scientist profiles, as had been demonstrated by the previous mapping exercise carried out by the profile group and that a technician would be likely to match at band 4, with a manager post matching at band 5. However, it was agreed that there would be some exceptions to this rule, where it would be suitable for such jobs to be fully evaluated using a JAQ.

The Casting Certificate is a course not accredited by any body at present, although a meeting had been set up with Skills for Health to discuss this further. The amount of time working both as a HCA and in gaining the Casting Certificate to become qualified appeared to vary between departments, although it was obvious that the period from starting work as an unqualified assistant to qualifying was at least one year. The course itself was either a five week course or a six month day release course, with an oral and practical exam at the end of this time.

Trusts should satisfy themselves that they have matched or evaluated their orthopaedic technicians jobs appropriately and taken account of all agreed demands of the roles in their organisation, which should be reflected in the rationales on the matching form. If the jobs do not match the HCS profiles, a full local evaluation should be undertaken, again with all job demands reflected in the explanatory text.

Issued and prepared by the Job Evaluation Group July 2008

The Job Evaluation Group is a national technical sub-group of the NHS Staff Council whose remit is to continue to ensure that the NHS Job Evaluation Scheme is fit for purpose. Its membership includes representatives of the health service, the four UK health departments and representatives of the NHS joint unions.

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