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Careers in Diagnostic Imaging

Local careers in diagnostic imaging

Love Cornwall? Stay Local and develop an exciting and stimulating career in Diagnostic (Clinical) Imaging at Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust.

We have many apprenticeships and local jobs to offer local people.

Diagnostic Imaging is a very interesting, perpetually changing healthcare service with plenty of opportunities for a wide variety of jobs and career development.

Diagnostic Imaging uses x-rays, ultrasound, magnetic fields and isotopes to image and scan patients’ bodies in the diagnosis of injuries and pathologies such as cancer. Most patients coming into hospital will have some form of diagnostic imaging to inform their clinical diagnosis and treatment.

Work experience placements

Diagnostic Imaging sees it all! We can offer one week workplace experience to students studying for relevant BTEC or A level qualifications.

Our Clinical Imaging department at Royal Cornwall Hospital, Treliske in Truro is a great place to get some insight into careers in healthcare, including medicine.
You will be rotated through a variety of imaging modalities and functions including:

X-ray – observe Radiographers and Assistant Radiographer Practitioners taking x-rays of patients from the emergency department, in fracture and outpatient clinics and from their general practitioner [GP].

Ultrasound – spend time with Sonographers scanning inpatients, outpatients and pregnant women.

CT [computerised tomography] – watch experienced Specialist Radiographers scan patients to visualise body anatomy in cross section and to create 3D images of vessels and organs.

MRI [magnetic resonance imaging] – join the MR Radiographers as they scan patients using very strong magnetic fields, with an emphasis on working safely in this environment.

Nuclear Medicine – gain an understanding of how radioisotopes are used to visualise body function, impairment and extent of disease.

Bone densitometry – watch patients being scanned to ascertain their bone health and fragility.

Imaging IT – spend time with our specialised IT team to learn about the importance of data security, digital technology and artificial intelligence in medical imaging.

Administration & Clerical [A&C] team – observe reception functions, how appointments are booked and telephone queries answered in the engine house of the imaging service

Clinical Imaging Assistants [CIA] – accompany our CIA colleagues as they move patients between wards and imaging departments across the hospital, providing some insight into how the wider hospital functions.

Reporting – spend a session with the Consultant Radiologists or Reporting Radiographers as they interpret x-rays and scans into a written report using digital dictation software.

If you are interested in workplace experience within Clinical Imaging please apply here:

Get into Health and CareOpening doors to a career in health and care

Flexible working

Kernowflex – Join our hospital ‘bank’ as a CIA or A&C officer to work flexible hours around your other commitments.

£18,546 per annum or £9.50 per hour plus holiday pay and enhancements.
Weekend and evening work available as well as shifts during bank holidays and holiday periods.

You choose the shifts you can work. Also, allows the opportunity to Earn while you Learn as a student, whilst you continue your studies to gain higher education and degree qualifications.

Paid induction training and uniform provided.

If you are interested, you will need to complete a RECRUITMENT APPLICATION FORM:


Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust has a variety of clinical imaging apprenticeships on offer. These are full-time with 30 hours per week based in hospital practice plus 6-7.5 hours per week for study, or equivalent.

You will need to join us on Kernowflex, or apply for a permanent job, as a Band 2 Administration and Clerical [A&C] Officer or Clinical Imaging Assistant [CIA] to access our Level 3 apprenticeships.

If you are interested, you will need to complete a RECRUITMENT APPLICATION FORM:

To apply for our apprenticeships as an Assistant Radiographer Practitioner (Level 4/5) or a Diagnostic Radiographer (Level 6). Level 4/5 and Level 6 apprenticeships are also subject to a university led selection process.

An expanded workplace experience over a fortnight, providing more information and insight into what a career in Clinical Imaging can offer before you commit.

You will rotate through modalities and spend time with Clinical Imaging staff working in a variety of roles as well as having more opportunity to interact with patients and experience the healthcare environment first-hand.

If you wish to pursue a career in Diagnostic Imaging after your ‘taster’ fortnight, you will need to join Kernowflex or be supported to apply for a permanent post with us through an interview process.

Direct entry onto our Level 5 and Level 6 Apprenticeships will be potentially available to the right candidates after a suitable selection process (application and interview).

Health science in radiography

This course is a level 3, 24 months, delivered by Truro College.
Equivalent of 3 A levels, including science, leading to careers as an Assistant Radiographer Practitioner or Diagnostic Radiographer.

Applicants must have Grade A-C/Level 4 GCSEs in Maths and English.
Full-time employment as a Clinical Imaging Assistant including flexible study time around service and study requirements.

Salary £18,546 p.a. or £9.50 per hour plus holiday pay and enhancements for weekend and evening working.

Assistant practitioner in radiography

This course is a level 4/5, 2 years, delivered by the University of Plymouth.
Applicants must have Grade A-C / Level 4 GCSEs in Maths and English, ideally the Level 3 Healthcare Science qualification.

Employed full time as a Clinical Imaging Assistant including study time aligned to university requirements.

Salary in training is £18,546 p.a. or £9.50 per hour plus holiday pay plus enhancements for weekend, evening and bank holiday working.

Applicants will be interviewed by the university as well as the Clinical Imaging department before being accepted onto the programme.

Upon qualification you will be able to apply for an Assistant Radiographer Practitioner post, current salary (July 2022), initially £22,549 per annum rising to £24,882 per annum after 3 years or £11.56 – £12.76 per hour plus holiday pay and enhancements for out of hours working.

Diagnostic radiographer

This course is a level 6 (degree level), 3 years, delivered by the University of Exeter or the University of Plymouth.

Applicants must have either 3 A’levels including at least 1 science or the Level 3 Healthcare Science in Radiography certificate which is an equivalent qualification.
Applicants will be interviewed by the university as well as the Clinical Imaging department before being accepted onto the apprenticeship programme.

This degree level apprenticeship leads to a Batchelor of Science (BSc) in Diagnostic Radiography.

A degree qualification of 2:2 or above entitles professional registration as a Diagnostic Radiographer with the Health Care Professions Council (HCPC) after which you can apply to work as a professionally qualified Diagnostic Radiographer.

Salary in training is £20,330 per annum rising to £22,549 after passing the exams at end of year 2 (the equivalent of the Assistant Practitioner qualification).

An HCPC registered graduate Diagnostic Radiographer earns £25,665 per annum or £13.16 per hour, rising to £27,780 p.a. or £14.22 p.h. after 2 years (as of July 2022) with holiday pay plus enhancements for weekend, evening, bank holiday and night shifts.

Career progression as a Radiographer over several years can ultimately lead to Consultant Radiographer practice with a salary of c£54-63,000 per annum.

Business administration

This course is a level 3a, 18 months duration, delivered on-line by Lifetime Training.
Equivalent of 3 A levels, leading to careers in project management, team lead / manager, data analyst etc.

Applicants must have Grade A-C / Level 4 GCSEs in Maths and English.
Full-time employment as an Administration and Clerical [A&C] Officer including flexible study time around service and study requirements.

Salary £18, 546 p.a. or £9.50 per hour plus holiday pay and enhancements for weekend and evening working.

University Life

Interested in becoming a Radiographer but want the complete university experience?
You can also qualify as a Diagnostic Radiographer through attainment of a full-time university undergraduate degree which includes clinical placements in hospital sites. Please apply direct to the universities through UCAS for this approach.

There are relatively local degree programmes in place at the University of Exeter, the University of Plymouth and the University West of England in Bristol.

If you are planning to study Medicine at University and are ultimately interested in training to be a Consultant Radiologist (a doctor who specialises in Radiology / Clinical Imaging), the South West Radiology Academy is based in Plymouth.

Clinical Imaging recruitment video on YouTube:

Links to further information

Healthcare science associate / Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education CSR-Healthcare-Associate-Standard-Level-4.pdf

Diagnostic Radiographer (Level 6 BSc) | Degree Apprenticeships | University of Exeter

Diagnostic radiographer (integrated degree) / Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education

Therapeutic Radiography Degree Apprenticeship (Level 6) – Current higher and degree apprenticeships | UWE Bristol

Therapeutic radiographer (integrated degree) / Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education

Healthcare assistant practitioner / Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education

Level 5 Diploma for Assistant Practitioners in Healthcare – Varsity Training

Business administrator / Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education

Further information regarding Apprenticeship Career Pathways for AHP [Allied Health Professionals] is available here:

For an informal discussion with one of our team please e-mail to arrange a date and time:

A&C / CIA roles and apprenticeships: Laura Biggs, Clinical Imaging Operations Manager

Assistant and Diagnostic Radiographer apprenticeships: Jackie Knox, Radiography Service Lead

Kernowflex link for applications via email with name, email address, identifying type of role you might be interested in such as admin and clerical in imaging or Clinical Imaging Assistant in Imaging

Pelvic health wellbeing is important throughout life.

The Perinatal pelvic health service has been set up to share information to support prevention of pelvic health issues during pregnancy and birth and ensure accessible support, advice and treatment for those with perineal or pelvic floor concerns in Cornwall and Isles of Scilly.

We are a team of midwives and physiotherapists here to provide additional support you if you experience pelvic floor dysfunction symptoms or a perineal tear or episiotomy during birth. We provide information, education and individualised care and treatment to protect your postnatal pelvic health.

What is Pelvic health?

It is important to maintain positive pelvic health routines. These include bladder and bowel habits, healthy diet, good fluid intake and regular exercise including pelvic floor muscle awareness.

Some common pelvic health concerns include the following (Information on all conditions available further down):

  • Stress incontinence- Leaking of urine (wee) with activities including coughing, sneezing, lifting and exercise.
  • Urinary urgency – Sudden need to pass urine (wee) and/or unable to get to the toilet in time
  • Flatus incontinence – Uncontrolled passing of wind (farting/gas)
  • Prolapse – Change in the position of your pelvic organs which may cause a heavy or aching feeling in the pelvis and/or lump/bulge within the vagina
  • Faecal incontinence – Leaking of faeces (poo) with activity, unable to get to the toilet in time or staining in your underwear.
  • Dyspareunia – Pain and discomfort during sexual activity
  • Pelvic girdle pain – Pain or discomfort within the joints that make up your pelvis (Hips, back, pubic area) that starts during pregnancy and may continue postnatally.
  • Abdominal diastasis – Separation of the stomach muscles during pregnancy and postnatally causing pain, discomfort or doming of the abdomen during physical activity.
  • Perineal injury – A tear, graze or cut to the genital area (perineum, vagina, labia, anus or surrounding areas) during childbirth.
  • Constipation – Finding it hard to poo or going to the toilet less often than usual for you.

How common are pelvic health issues during pregnancy and birth?

What support can the PPHS offer?

  • An inclusive, kind and experienced team approach
  • A safe space to talk and share your experiences
  • Signposting to accessible information for prevention and treatment of pelvic health concerns
  • Support and education for service users and healthcare professionals
  • Specialist midwifery support for wound care and management after birth
  • Specialist physio support for pelvic conditions, pelvic floor exercises and relevant lifestyle advice
  • Ongoing community based pelvic floor rehab and treatment for up to 12 months postnatal

Signposting or referral to specialist perinatal support in Cornwall including:

  • Birth Reflections
  • Perinatal Mental Health
  • Infant Feeding
  • Specialist Physiotherapy
  • Bereavement care
  • Urogynaecology services

Who can access support through this team?

Anyone experiencing:

  • Episiotomy
  • Third or fourth degree perineal tear
  • Readmission to hospital for perineal wound complications
  • Fistula
  • Suspected wound breakdown or infection
  • Female genital mutilation or cutting
  • Manual removal of placenta
  • An instrumental delivery (forceps, ventouse or assisted delivery)
  • Breech delivery
  • Shoulder dystocia

Anyone with single risk factor from following:

  • Instrumental delivery
  • Greater than or equal to 4kg baby
  • Prolonged second stage (pushing for more than 1 hour)

Where to go if you don’t meet these criteria

Speak to your GP and/or midwife if you have concerns about your pelvic or perineal health. There are a range of alternative support services available including specialist physiotherapists, bladder and bowel services and urogynaecology services. We work closely with these teams and will endeavour to find appropriate support for anyone with symptoms. Please don’t suffer in silence, help is available.

How to access support?

The PPHS service aim to identify and contact anyone meeting our service criteria soon after birth. If you feel you meet the criteria but have not been contacted you can self refer with the form below or speak to your Midwife, GP or Health Visitor who can refer you into the service.

You can self refer by filling in the form below. You will be sent a more detailed form to provide an overview of your concerns within one week
Self Referral Form – to be added.

The team

Our Perinatal pelvic health service is run by our specialist midwife and specialist physiotherapists and they are supported by a consultant urogynaecologist, obstetric consultants and community physiotherapists.

Information for maintaining positive pelvic health routine

Information about perineal tears

Information for pregnancy – Links to leaflets, videos, infographics

Information for preparing for birth – Links to leaflets, videos, infographics

General support for Pregnancy, birth and postnatal period

How to feedback about the service

Clinical guidelines relating to pelvic health

These are example exercises for the spine, upper limbs and lower limbs. Please, check with a healthcare professional or GP if you have any concerns regarding exercising with a specific condition.
You don’t always need specialist equipment nor a purpose-built hydrotherapy pool to perform the exercises.

Remember to drink water before, during and after exercising and to start slowly and warm up gently if you are new to exercising in water. Work at a level you feel comfortable at and
appropriate to your own level of fitness.

When you find out you are pregnant, there are three things for you to do:
  1. Book your first appointment
  2. Arrange access to your Electronic Personal Health Record (ePHR)
  3. Read up on how to stay healthy during your pregnancy

Book your first appointment (your booking appointment)

The easiest way to get a midwife appointment is to complete the online form in the Electronic Personal Health Record section. This will go straight to the Maternity IT team who will organise your registration and inform your local midwives of your pregnancy. The midwives will then be in touch to arrange an appointment.

Maternity Patient Contact Form

Alternatively, you can visit your GP surgery who will pass your details on for you.

Setting up your Electronic Personal Health Record (ePHR)

What is the maternity Electronic Personal Health Record (ePHR)?

ePHR is a web-based solution that allows people under our care to view their maternity notes online.

At the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust, we use Euroking, a secure maternity IT software, to record the majority of your maternity care. After you’ve had an appointment or spoken to us, your midwife or maternity support worker will record the data and you’ll be able to see it in your ePHR.

What will you see in your ePHR?

You will be able to see summaries of the following:

  • Antenatal appointments with your community midwife
  • Antenatal visits to the Delivery Suite at the Royal Cornwall Hospital
  • Antenatal visits to the Day Assessment Unit at the Royal Cornwall Hospital
  • A summary of your labour and delivery notes including caesarean section
  • Birth information about your baby(s)
  • Information about your discharge to the community midwife team after you’ve given birth
  • Postnatal contacts with the midwifery team
  • Information about when we discharge you from the service
  • You will not be able to see any sensitive information such as social concerns, or disclosures about domestic issues.

How can I get access?

You can only access your ePHR for your current pregnancy. Please fill out this Maternity Patient Contact Form to access this.

You can email the Maternity IT Team at

Or, call the Maternity IT Team on 07557 172389.

If you call, we’ll check your details and add your email address to the ePHR system (this has to be your personal email, we don’t allow work or general email addresses to make sure your personal healthcare data stays secure).

After we have received your email or you have spoken to us, we will authorise your account. You will then get an email from asking you to verify your email address and create a password for your ePHR. You must verify your details within 72 hours. If this expires then please call us and we can resend the verification email.

If you get stuck setting it up, please call 07557 172389.

Remember to keep your password secure and your personal data safe.

Staying healthy during pregnancy

There are lots of things you can do to stay healthy during pregnancy.

Mental wellbeing

The most common complication of pregnancy and birth is related to mental health.

If you or your partner are struggling with mixed emotions, sadness, irritability and exhaustion, you are not alone. You may also experience a lack of interest or pleasure in the things that you usually enjoy or in looking after your baby. For most women and their partners these emotions are relieved by spending time with family and friends, and with adequate support to allow you to rest and sleep. For around one in five women symptoms are more persistent and need additional support and treatment.

The most important thing is to talk with the people around you and with your midwife, health visitor or GP about how you feel. Your midwife is there to support you with your mental health as much as with your physical health.

We also offer a number of specialist services to support your mental health during and after pregnancy. These include:

  • The perinatal mental health team – you can contact them through your midwife or directly by sending an email to
  • The birth reflections service – they can offer you support and a debrief if you experienced trauma during a previous birth. You can contact the birth reflections midwives at

Further resources on mental wellbeing

Maternal Mental Health in Cornwall – a Facebook page run by Midwives alongside the Maternity Voices Partnership that provides pregnancy and postnatal mental health support during the Covid pandemic

Outlook Southwest – offer psychological therapy services for people in Cornwall and the Isles

Tommy’s Pregnancy and Post-birth Wellbeing Plan – a two-page plan that helps you start thinking about how you feel emotionally and what support you might need in your pregnancy and after the birth. It’s also helpful in working out how to start a conversation with your partner, friend, midwife, health visitor or GP.

If you have moved to the area and need to register with Maternity Services to continue your care
You can only access your ePHR for your current pregnancy. Please fill out this Maternity Patient Contact Form to access this.

You can email the Maternity IT Team at

Or, call the Maternity IT Team on 07557 172389.

If you call, we’ll check your details and add your email address to the ePHR system (this has to be your personal email, we don’t allow work or general email addresses to make sure your personal healthcare data stays secure).

After we have received your email or you have spoken to us, we will authorise your account. You will then get an email from asking you to verify your email address and create a password for your ePHR. You must verify your details within 72 hours. If this expires then please call us and we can resend the verification email.

If you get stuck setting it up, please call 07557 172389.

Remember to keep your password secure and your personal data safe.

Safeguarding Services are the central point of contact for patients with a spinal cord injury. We receive the ‘Patient Care Passport for Spinal Cord Injuries’ and liaise with the relevant wards on behalf of the patient.

Patient Care Hospital Passport for Spinal Cord Injuries

If you have a spinal cord injury, please complete our Patient Care Passport for Spinal Cord Injuries or alternatively email: to request a passport. This passport will alert staff that you have a spinal cord injury and help support any additional clinical needs you may have.

Contact Information for Digital Rectal Evacuation of Faeces (DRE)

The following staff are competent to perform or give advice and should be contacted for help and support for any patient who requires DRE:

Royal Cornwall and St Michael’s Hospitals

  • For Surgical Care Practitioners please contact Switchboard on 01872 250000
  • For Marie Therese House please contact 01736 758 879
  • For staff training on DRE please contact the Learning and Development department on 01872 256 489

Wheelchair Service

The Wheelchair Service supports adults and children who require a standard or specialist wheelchair, living in Cornwall or the Isles of Scilly. They assess people with long term mobility needs who require a wheelchair for longer than a period of 6 months. All equipment is provided on a long term loan basis for as long as your clinical need requires it. If you require a wheelchair, a GP or other health professional involved in your care can make a referral.

Spinal Patient Innovation Network Experience Service Group

Patients and professionals working together to develop practice for Spinal Cord Injury patients.

If you are a member of staff and would like to be part of this Group, please email Safeguarding Services:

Useful Links

Sepsis is a life threatening condition that arises when the body’s response to an infection injures its own tissues and organs. Sepsis leads to shock, multiple organ failure and death especially if not recognised early and treated promptly.
It is highly likely that, across the UK, sepsis claims at least 46,000 lives every year, and it may be as high as 67,000. Risk factors for sepsis should always prompt a high suspicion of sepsis. Early intervention has been shown to save lives and reduce length of stay in hospital and the need for Critical Care admission.

Here at RCHT we promote early recognition and treatment of Sepsis. Patients are screened through our E-observation system at admission and throughout their stay.

To get in touch please email

Signs of Sepsis

What to look out for in adults


  • Slurred speech or confusion
  • Extreme shivering or muscle pain
  • Passing no urine (in a day)
  • Severe breathlessness
  • It feels like you’re going to die
  • Skin mottled or discoloured

What to look out for in a child

  • Is breathing very fast
  • Has a ‘fit’ or convulsion
  • Looks mottled, bluish, or pale
  • Has a rash that does not fade when you press it
  • Is very lethargic or difficult to wake
  • Feels abnormally cold to touch

If you see any of these signs call 999 or go to A&E and ask: “Could it be Sepsis?”

A Child under 5 may have Sepsis if they:

  • Are not feeding
  • Are vomiting repeatedly
  • Have not passed urine for 12 hours

If you spot any of these signs, call 111 or see your GP and just ask: “could it be sepsis?”

UK Sepsis Trust awareness video: Get Sepsis Savvy – UK Sepsis Trust

Sepsis Trust website
RCHT resources and policies
Please see below for pool facilities around the county


Bodmin Leisure Centre

Lostwithiel Road, Bodmin, PL31 1DE
01208 75715

Hengar Manor Country Park

St Tudy, Bodmin, PL30 3PL
01208 228853


Old Coach Rd, Lanivet, Bodmin, PL30 5JJ
01208 831808


Carn Brea Leisure Centre

Station Rd, Pool, TR15 3QS
01209 714766

Kernow Hydro

The Track, Parc Erissey Industrial Estate, New Portreath Rd, Portreath TR16 4HW
01209 211073


Camelford Leisure Centre

Station Road, Camelford, PL32 9UE
01840 213188


Falmouth Hotel

Castle Beach, Falmouth, TR11 4NZ
01326 312671

Fountain Leisure Club

Penmere Manor Hotel, Falmouth, TR11 4PN
01326 211411

Merchants Manor

1 Western Terrace, Falmouth, TR11 4QJ
01326 312734

St Michaels Hotel

Gyllyngvase Beach, Falmouth, TR11 4NB
01326 312707

Ships and Castles Leisure Centre

Castle Drive, Pendennis Headland, Falmouth, TR11 4NG
01326 212129


 Helston Sports Centre

Church Hill, Helston, TR13 8YQ
01326 563320

Polurrian Hotel

Polurrian Road, Mullion, TR12 7EN
01326 240421


Lux Park Leisure Centre

Coldstyle Rd, Liskeard, PL14 3HZ
01579 342544


Hannafore Point Hotel Leisure Club

Marine Drive, West Looe, PL13 2DG
01503 263273


Atlantic Reach

Whitecross, Newquay, TR8 4LX
01726 862010

Hotel Bristol

Narrowcliff, Newquay, TR7 2PQ
01637 875181

Newquay Hydrotherapy Centre

Quarry Park Road, Newquay, TR7 2NP
01637 839034

Pentire Sports Complex

Pentire Avenue, Newquay, TR7 1NU
01637 872334

Piran Meadows Resort and Spa

Whitecross, Newquay, TR8 4LW
01726 860415

Retallack Resort and Spa

Winnard’s Perch, St Columb Major, TR9 6DE
0333 3700555

Sands Hotel and Spa

Watergate Road, Porth, Newquay, TR7 3LX
01637 872864

The Esplanade Hotel

Esplanade Road, Fistral Beach, TR7 1PS
01637 873333


Trenance Leisure Park, Newquay TR7 2LZ
01637 853828


Snowlands Leisure Group Ltd

Par Farm, Par, PL24 2AE
01726 816668

Trenython Manor

Castledore Road, Tywardreath, Par, PL24 2TS,
01726 814797


 Harbourside Physio Practice

Wesley Place, Newlyn, Penzance, TR18 5AZ
01736 366224

Jubilee Pool

Battery Road, Penzance, TR18 4FF
07136 369224

Penzance Leisure Centre

St Clare St, St Clare, Penzance, TR18 3QW
01736 874744

Wheal Rodney

Gwallon Lane, Marazion, TR17 0HL


Gwel an Mor Luxury Resort

Feadon Lane, Portreath, Redruth, TR16 4PE
01209 842354

Penventon Park Hotel Health and Leisure Suite

Redruth, TR5 3TA
01209 203231

St. Austell

Merlin Centre Hydrotherapy Pool

Bradbury House, He was Water, PL26 7JF
01726 885530

Polkyth Hydrotherapy Pool

Recreation Centre, Carlyon Rd, St Austell, PL25 4DB
01726 839130

St. Ives

Tregenna Castle

Trelyon Ave, St Ives, TR26 2DE
01736 795254


Ben Ainslie Sports Centre

Truro School, Trennick Lane, Truro, TR1 1TH
01872 246050

Chycara Pool

Chycara house, Chyreen lane, Carnon downs, Truro TR3 6LG
01872 865447

Roseland Parc Retirement Village

Fore Street, Tregony, Truro, TR2 5PD
01872 530972

Trewince Holiday Lodges

Portscatho, Cornwall, TR2 5ET
01872 580289

Truro Swimming Pool

College Rd, Truro, TR1 3GA
01872 261628


Hotel St Moritz

Trebetherick, Wadebridge, PL27 6SD
01208 862242

The Olde House

Chapel Amble, Nr Wadebridge, PL27 6EN
01208 813219

The Point at Polzeath

St Minver, Wadebridge, PL27 6QT
01208 864603

Wadebridge Sports Centre

Bodieve Rd, Wadebridge, PL27 6BU
01208 814980

Our HIV service (The Marram Clinic) offers support, advice and treatment to people with HIV.
People with severe arthritis usually benefit from hip or knee replacement surgery. Osteoarthritis is the most common reason for surgery but other reasons may include disorders that cause unusual bone growth and injury.

Typically, we offer joint replacement surgery to adults aged between 60 and 80. For smaller partial knee replacement operations we see patients aged between 55 and 64.

The majority of people who have surgery feel free from pain and hip and knee arthritis disability. They also feel more independent.

An orthopaedic consultant will discuss with you and decide if you’ll benefit from a hip replacement or knee replacement operation.

Knee replacement surgery

In a total or partial knee replacement, artificial parts replace the lower end of the thigh bone (femur) and upper end of shin bone (tibia).

Some patients may need replacement of the back of the knee cap (patella).

Most patients need a total knee replacement but you may only need one part or one side of your knee joint replaced. It’s known as a partial, or unicompartmental knee replacement.

When will I need knee replacement surgery?

It’s usually necessary if you have a worn or damaged knee joint. Your mobility may be reduced and you may feel pain in your knee when you rest.

We may offer you knee replacement surgery if you have:

  • severe arthritis, including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis
  • haemophilia
  • gout
  • a knee injury
  • knee deformity
  • death of the bone in the knee joint following blood supply problems.

You may have knee replacement surgery if other treatment options don’t reduce your pain or increase your mobility.

What are the benefits?

In the long term, the majority of people who have surgery will eventually feel free from pain and knee arthritis disability. Some people may still have some pain when twisting or kneeling.

You will feel more independent but may find it difficult to do everything you were once able to do to start with.

What happens during knee replacement surgery?

Your operation will usually last 1 to 2 hours.

You’ll have an anaesthetic for your operation. The most common is a spinal anaesthetic but some people may need a general anaesthetic.

The surgeon will make a cut (incision) on the front of your knee and remove any excess arthritic bone. This helps to make a smooth base for your new implant.

When satisfied with the position of the implant, the surgeon will close the incision with metal clips (skin staples) or stitches. They may use a drain to allow any collection of blood or fluid to drain out.

You may experience numbness over the outside of your knee.

Find out more about what happens during knee replacement surgery.

Recovering from your knee replacement

Learn how to do knee exercises to help your recovery.

Hip replacement surgery

In a total hip replacement, an artificial joint replaces both the ball (femoral or thigh bone) side of the hip joint and the socket (acetabular or pelvic side).

You may have chosen to have hip replacement surgery because of degeneration such as arthritis.

When will I need hip replacement surgery?

It’s usually necessary if you have a worn or damaged hip joint. Your mobility may be reduced and you may feel pain in your hip when you rest.

We may offer you hip replacement surgery if you have:

  • osteoarthritis
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • septic arthritis
  • a hip fracture
  • disorders that cause bone growth (bone dysplasias)

You may have hip replacement surgery if other treatment options don’t reduce your pain or increase your mobility.


Surgery stops most, if not all pain in your hip. The majority of people who have surgery feel free from pain and hip arthritis disability. They also feel more independent.

What happens during surgery?

You will have an anaesthetic for your operation. This may be a spinal anaesthetic but some people may need a general anaesthetic.

Sometimes you may have an epidural which is similar to a spinal anaesthetic.

The surgeon will make a cut (incision) into your hip, removes the damaged hip joint and replaces it with an artificial joint or implant.

The surgery usually takes around 1 to 2 hours to complete.

Find out more about what happens during hip replacement surgery.

Watch this video to find out what happens during hip replacement surgery.

Recovering from your hip replacement

Watch this video on hip exercises to help your recovery.

Find out about looking after your new hip.

Risks and benefits for joint replacement


People who have joint replacement surgery may benefit from:

  • increased mobility
  • freedom from pain
  • improved sleep
  • improved quality of life
  • ability to carry out everyday tasks that were difficult or impossible before surgery
  • ability to work again and socialise.


As with all operations, there are risks involved. There’s a low risk of serious complications, estimated to be less than one in 100 people.

Your surgeon will answer any questions you have and discuss the risks with you before your surgery to make sure you fully understand them.

These risks include:

Blood clots

Also known as Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). Blood clots can form in the veins, usually your leg, after surgery. Because you’ll be moving less than normal after your operation, you’re at a higher risk of developing DVT.

You may need to take medication to reduce this risk.

The blood thinning medication can cause your leg to swell ​and bruise. The swelling and bruising may extend all the way to your foot and ankle area. If you have pain in your calf from the swelling, please see your GP. They may refer you for a scan to check for a blood clot in your leg veins.

More information about DVT

Watch these videos about how to prevent DVT.

Learn more about DVT including symptoms and how to treat it.

Watch this video on Deep Vein Thrombosis.


This is usually minor which your surgeon stops during the operation.


Your hip will feel sore after the operation but we’ll give you painkillers. Pain normally improves with time and for most people the hip will become pain free.

Implant wear and loosening

With modern operating techniques and implants, we expect your new hip to last more than 15 years. In some cases the implants may wear or loosen and may need further surgery for infection or instability.

Known as revision surgery, the surgeon will remove your original joint implant and replace it with a new one.

Joint dislocation

The muscles and ligaments around the hip hold the two sides of a hip replacement together. They can dislocate, particularly in the first few weeks after surgery. If this happens, the joint can usually be put back into place under general anaesthetic.


To minimise the risk of infection we use ultra clean air theatres. Our surgical team take special precautions including gowning and draping but some infections can still happen. If the wound becomes red or hot, it may be a sign of infection. If you develop any of these symptoms please contact the orthopaedic ward on 01736 758812 or call your GP.

Nerve damage

In rare cases, surgery can cause damage to the nerves around the hip joint including injury, stretching or cutting.

Joint School

During the Covid-19 risk period, we’re unable to run our Joint School. We anticipate running it again when circumstances allow.

You’ll also need to attend our joint school before your operation. It’s an educational session that will help you prepare for your surgery and learn more about what to expect.

It’s a session run by the clinical team to help you prepare and learn more about your joint replacement surgery. We recommend attending joint school a few weeks before your operation.

We’ll book your joint school session when we arrange your surgery date.

During the session you’ll meet other hip or knee replacement patients. You’re welcome to bring a relative or carer with you so that they can support you at home after your operation.

What are the benefits?

You’ll find out what to expect and how to maximise your recovery. It will help you leave hospital more quickly after your operation.

You should attend joint school even if you have already had hip or knee replacement surgery.

What will happen?

The clinical team will explain what will happen before, during and after your stay in hospital. It’s really important that you understand what to expect and how to recover so please ask as many questions as you need to.

What will I learn?

You’ll learn exercises that will help speed up your recovery. If they’re not too painful, you should start them before your operation to help strengthen your muscles.

You’ll find out how to use crutches, especially on stairs so that you can move confidently when you return home.

We’ll also show you how to manage everyday tasks including:

  • getting dressed
  • getting in and out of bed
  • getting in and out of a car.

You’ll find out how to do these tasks without bending or twisting. It’s important to familiarise yourself with these new techniques before your operation so that you can speed up and maximise your recovery time.

Tell us about your experience at joint school

Your feedback is really important to us. Ask your care team for a ‘friends and family form’ at the end of your joint school session, or you can fill it in online. In the box labelled ‘ward’, scroll down and choose ‘SMH Joint School.’

It’s important to plan your discharge from the hospital before surgery to prevent any delays in getting home.

Preparing for your operation

Before your operation you must attend a pre-admission clinic to assess your health and fitness. You’ll also get information about your operation and what you need to bring with you for your stay in hospital. This includes:

  • crutches
  • operation booklet
  • loose night and day wear.

We’ll give you the relevant equipment before your admission to hospital.

Preparing for enhanced recovery after surgery

The rapid recovery programme helps you prepare for your surgery, recover more quickly and let you get back to normal life and activities as soon as possible.

Watch this introductory video which explains what to expect from the rapid recovery programme for joint replacement.

Watch the following videos which will help you prepare for your surgery:

Before your stay in hospital

We’ll send you an admission letter. It will tell you:

  • what you need to bring with you
  • what you need to do before you leave for hospital
  • which ward you need to go to
  • what happens when you arrive.

We’ll also send you a booklet about your operation, and any mobility aids you may need when you return home (such as a long-handled grabber and shoe horn for total hip replacements).

You can find out more about what you need to know before your stay in hospital.

Regular medication

When you come in for your operation, please bring in all of your regular medications in their original boxes. If you usually have blister packs, please ask your GP or local pharmacy to have the medicines in boxes for your hospital admission.

Your stay in hospital

How long will I stay in hospital?

You should be able to go home 1 to 3 days after your operation.

Where do I need to go for my surgery?

Your hip or knee replacement surgery will take place at St Michael’s Hospital in Hayle or Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro. You admissions letter will tell you where to go.

Your operation

Your joint replacement surgery usually takes around 1 to 2 hours under a spinal and light sedation. After the operation, you’ll wake up in the recovery area before being moved to the orthopaedic ward.

What happens after my operation?

You’ll be encouraged to move around as soon as possible on the day of your operation to prevent DVT and maximise your recovery.

We will encourage you to wash and dress almost straight after surgery and you will be encouraged to do this independently where possible.

You will need to have an X-ray and a blood test before you go home.

A physiotherapist will make sure you can walk, climb stairs (where appropriate) and can do your exercises independently.

An occupational therapist will discuss your home circumstances with you to make sure you can manage and have enough support in place. They will give you any equipment you need.

Find out more about what happens during your stay in hospital

Watch this video about what happens during your stay in hospital.

Leaving hospital

Pain Relief and Medication

We recommend taking Paracetamol and a weak opiate to help with any pain you may have after your operation. We will give you a small amount for you to take home. If you already take regular pain relief at home we may advise to continue with what you have. Each patient will experience pain differently and we will make sure you are given the most appropriate pain relief.

You are also likely to be given a blood thinner to prevent a blood clot from forming. This may be a tablet or injection and depending on the type of surgery you have had. You’ll need it for between 2 and 6 weeks. If you already take a blood thinner we will assess the best options for you individually.

Moving around

During the first 6 weeks after your hip or knee replacement surgery, you must take extra care with your new joint and follow advice from our clinical team.


You’ll need to use crutches to help you walk for around 6 weeks after your operation.

Sexual Intercourse

Please discuss this with your surgeon or therapist as it will be different for everyone.

6 to 12 week follow-up appointment

You’ll see your consultant or a member of their team 6 to 12 weeks after your surgery. You will normally have an X-ray which we’ll review at this appointment. If the consultant is happy with your X-ray, you will not usually need any further follow up.

Your surgeon will also talk to you about returning to:

  • driving
  • household chores
  • hobbies and leisure activity
  • work and employment

You will not need to see a physiotherapist or occupational therapist after you leave hospital. If you need more support, we will assess this based on your individual needs.

Find out more about what to expect when you leave hospital and how to access help if you need it when you return home.

Feeling low after your joint replacement

It’s common for people to experience depression after joint replacement surgery. It is really normal to feel low at times, but if these symptoms become severe or go on for a long time, please talk to your GP.

Who can I call for advice about my knee or hip replacement surgery?

For concerns about your knee or hip replacement and signs of infection after your operation, please call St Joseph’s Ward at St Michael’s Hospital on 01736 758812.

Your information, privacy and consent

Your information and privacy

We recognise the importance of protecting personal and confidential information in all that we do, and take care to meet our legal and other duties. Find out more about our approach to privacy and data protection.


You are in control of your treatment and care. We are committed to the principle of ‘no decision about me without me’, so please feel free to ask any questions at any time about your consent to treatment and care.
Find out more about what consent means.

Information and guidelines for healthcare professionals

Read the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guideline which covers care before, during and after a planned knee, hip or shoulder replacement.

Trauma & Orthopaedics Team and Contacts

Urgent, Emergency and Trauma Care Group

Clinical Director

Mike Butler

Specialty Lead

Shaun Sexton

Governance Lead

Palakkad Easwarran

General Manager

Jo Floyd

Trauma Lead Manager

Janine Webster


Kate Schroeder Hockey

Fracture Clinic Sister

Anita Beckerleg

Elective Orthopaedics at St Michael’s Hospital

Clinical Director
Mark Norton

Governance Lead

Sean Dixon

Manager – St Michael’s Hospital

Chloe Parr

Matron – St Michael’s Hospital

Nicola Goddard

Clinical Admin Lead

Kate Ford

Other useful numbers

Fracture Clinic

01872 253091

Plaster Room

01872 253234

For concerns or questions about boots, braces and splints

01872 252880

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