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Proposed closure of imaging radiochemistry

28 Feb 2020

Message from Professor Graham Lord, Vice-President and Dean, Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health

Following an extensive review, the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health (FBMH) is proposing to close its imaging radiochemistry facility based within the Wolfson Molecular Imaging Centre (WMIC) because it is not financially sustainable.  

The WMIC is a purpose-built facility for the development of methodology in and use of PET (Positron Emission Tomography) imaging and its application to research mainly in oncology and neuroscience.  The WMIC will remain as a facility for imaging research but it is proposed that the imaging radiochemistry aspects of its work will stop at the end of 2020.

The University’s Board of Governors has approved entering into formal consultation with the trade unions on the proposals, which, if implemented would result in closure of the imaging radiochemistry facility with a net jobs reduction of 14 Professional Services posts.

FBMH Vice-President and Dean, Professor Graham Lord, said: “Unfortunately, the imaging radiochemistry facility has been in a difficult financial position for several years.  Imaging radiochemistry and related income streams have not had sufficient usage to cover costs and the facility is running at an annual average deficit of £1 million.  This has inhibited investment in other areas of medical imaging, in particular magnetic resonance imaging, which is strategically important to the Faculty.  

“Although there have been a number of attempts to address these challenges, regrettably these have not been successful and the Faculty needs to prudently examine all areas of activity where financial deficits are significant. 

“We recognise that the situation has been very unsettling for colleagues for a number of months during a review, but the Faculty wanted to look at every option before taking this difficult decision.”

A targeted voluntary severance scheme will be offered to those colleagues in scope and at risk.  If the voluntary severance scheme is not effective in achieving the required target reduction in posts, then the University may later seek approval from the Board of Governors to proceed to a compulsory scheme.

The University is committed to ensuring that this process is conducted fairly and transparently in line with our policies and procedures and we will seek to explore opportunities for the avoidance of compulsory redundancy where possible, including redeployment and retraining.  Colleagues impacted by the proposed closure will be given support and guidance by their line managers and Human Resources.

Professor Lord added: “All changes involving people that are undertaken by our University are given very careful and serious consideration.  While these changes are essential, we recognise that this is an anxious time for those colleagues likely to be affected by the proposals.  As a result, my senior team and I will continue to have regular conversations with colleagues who are affected by the process.

“FBMH is fully committed to maintaining excellent imaging facilities across Greater Manchester and will ensure the remaining imaging infrastructure is fit for purpose and financially sustainable.  A refreshed imaging strategy, taking a coordinated Greater Manchester approach and working closely with our NHS partners will be developed as part of the Faculty’s future plans.”