IMI Membership

How does my subscription of £96 a year get spent?

Recent accounts show that the Institute’s membership fee income was around £33,000, with running costs of around £34,000.

Rounding off all the figures, the way that the money is spent breaks down into directly tangible membership benefits and the less-easy-to-see, other costs of running the organisation.

The actual breakdown in pounds and pence of your annual subscription is as follows:

Tangible benefits:

  • JAMM £28.60
  • IMI News £7.70
  • IMI Website £5.60
  • IMI Directory £2.20
  • Competitions and prizes £4.40

Other costs:

  • National Council meeting expenses £12.10
  • Other National Council expenditure, including fees for membership of the CAMIP voluntary register, printing, postage, legal fees, subcommittee and working party expenses etc. £18.70
  • “Making the Change” implementation £7.70
  • Accounting £10.00
  • Education and CPD Team £3.50
  • Promotion and Marketing Team £3.50
  • Standards Team £2.50
  • Training Team £3.50

(These figures are necessarily “broad brush” and are the result of a simple division that assumes that all members pay the same fees.)

These bare facts don’t give any indication of just how much voluntary work is done – none of the people who sit on any of the committees or spend hours working for IMI in the evenings and weekends gets paid for their efforts. And no-one gets to travel first class either!

Fortunately IMI has some trading activities as well. These are the courses and conferences such as our annual conference and job advertising.

These are all planned to break even or to make a small surplus to subsidise the routine running of the Institute and to build up our reserves. These reserves are fairly small – equivalent to less than two years running costs, and they took 30 years to build up. When we have a profitable year on the trading side or when the conference makes a significant profit, a large amount of this surplus is transferred to the next year’s conference to subsidise the members’ ticket rate.

Why are overseas memberships the same price as UK memberships when overseas members don’t benefit from meetings, etc.?

The reality is that memberships cost much the same to administer whether you are in the UK or overseas. Many professional bodies actually charge more for overseas memberships to cover the additional cost of air-mailing journals and newsletters. Meetings and conferences fall into what might be called ‘trading operations’ which pay for themselves and which are not subsidised from the subscription income.

The bottom line as far as subscriptions are concerned is that IMI’s prime function is to represent the profession in the United Kingdom and Council’s belief is that while we value the contribution of our overseas members, the UK members should not be expected to subsidise those whom it is not their direct responsibility to represent.

Overseas members benefit from being in the IMI network, from the recognition of their professional standing (as MIMI or FIMI), from the Journal and IMI News, from the IMI Members’ Directory, from the members’ section of the IMI web site, from the Turnbull Travel Fund and from members’ privileged rates when they do come to the UK for meetings – indeed, the saving for the conference alone is often more than the total cost of the membership fee.

What's the Pat Turnbull Travel Fund for, and how do I apply?

The Pat Turnbull travel fund is in place to provide funding for any IMI member to attend conferences throughout the world. Any member can apply for funding and each application is assessed anonymously by Council. You will find the application form in the Member’s section of the website.

If I want to join IMI, how do I do this?

Just fill in the appropriate application form depending on what sort of membership you want. Full information about membership and all the application forms are available from the Join IMI page. If you have any queries or want to discuss the membership options, please email membership@imi.org.uk

How do I know which grade of membership to ask for and what does it cost?

As an individual there are three basic grades of membership. Student membership is available for those enrolled on a recognised training course the cost is £63 per year. Associate membership is available for those interested or working in the profession but without the required qualifications for full membership; the cost is £96 per year. Full Membership is for those engaged in medical illustration and who hold a professional qualification approved by Council; the cost is £96 per year.

Corporate membership is available to companies who wish to be associated and support the Institute; the cost is £252 per year. For more information, have a look at the Join IMI page and the membership details leaflet.

How do I get copies of IMI News?

IMI News is the Institute’s quarterly newsletter and contains reports and articles of interest to members. Any queries should be directed to the Editor, newseditor@imi.org.uk

Current and past issues of IMI News are available for download from the members section of this website.

What is JVCM?

JVCM is the Journal of Visual Communication in Medicine, the official journal of IMI. The journal has been published continuously for over 50 years and was previously known as JAMM, the Journal of AudioVisual Media in Medicine. It is a quarterly, international, peer-reviewed publication acting as a vehicle for the interchange of information and ideas in the production, manipulation, storage and transport of images for medical education, records and research. If that sounds a bit of a mouthful, visit JVCM on-line to find out more.

How to I access the Journal online?

Once you have logged in on the IMI members site, scroll down to the bottom of the Members Area and click on the ‘Journal’ button. This will launch a new window where you will now be logged in on the Journal’s webpage. Here you can access every paper published all the way back to 1978!

I've not received the latest issue of the Journal, what can I do?

Firstly, make sure that your postal address is correct on the IMI database; you can do this online under ‘My Account’. Secondly, make sure you have actually missed an issue – although the journal is published in four issues online, these are combined into two print issues, with one usually coming out over the summer and the other over the winter. If you have only recently joined, it might be that there has not been an issue printed yet. Finally, if you think you have definitely missed an issue; please contact the Journal’s editor at viscomm@imi.org.uk


How do I submit something to the Journal?

You can submit research papers, case studies and professional development papers via the tab at: https://www.tandfonline.com/loi/ijau20. For further details please refer to our Instructions for Authors below.

For gallery submissions please read the following guidelines and then email your work to our Galleries editor at: JVCM-Galleries@imi.org.uk

Guideline for Gallery submissions:


Instructions for authors:



Careers and Qualifications

What is the career potential for a medical illustrator?

Opportunities exist for a medical illustrator to become a Head of Department in a major teaching hospital or University Medical or Dental School, reaching salaries of £50,000 plus. Many photographers, videographers and designers can expect to progress to senior level during the course of their career, which is often at an NHS Band 6 level.

I am interested in working as a clinical photographer - what qualification do I need to start?

In the present climate it is expected that you would need a degree in Photography. You would then be required to undertake a graduate or post-graduate certificate in clinical photography, which are undertaken whilst employed as a trainee photographer within the NHS. Further details can be found in the careers section.

How can I get work experience in a Medical Illustration department?

Contact the Medical Illustration departments in your local area, many will be happy to provide work experience. Depending on where you live, you may need to look further afield to find a hospital with a Medical Illustration department.

I have recently graduated with a degree in Graphic Design; can I get a job as a designer in the NHS?

The immediate answer is yes, but this would be subject to the conditions set by the employing Trust and would depend on how the Trust views the term ‘qualified’. 

There are several courses designed specifically for the graduate entering the profession. This is an ideal way of updating a degree to include the relevant clinical components. More information can be found on the education and careers pages.

Continuing Professional Development

My hospital makes me do fire training every year. Does this count towards my CPD?

Yes, mandatory training within the workplace qualifies for CPD. You would also need to write reflectively on the experience and include this in your CPD portfolio. Information on writing personal portfolios and reflective writing can be found in the Member’s area of the Institute’s web site.

What do I have to submit each year to maintain my CPD?

You don’t have to submit anything unless requested. However, it is important to keep your CPD portfolio up to date, as it may be requested for assessment at any time. Portfolios are randomly requested every year, usually around September, but this could happen any time of the year. Our aim is to assess about 5% of the membership each year. The assessment is carried out by the Education Group, who will provide feedback and guidance on your portfolio.

I can’t get to the IMI Conference very often because we take it in turns to go. Attending this sort of event is time consuming and expensive. How do I gain my required level of CPD?

We are well aware that not everyone can attend the IMI Conference. We also realise that members in smaller departments may not have the training budgets to attend many courses. For this reason we have produced a regular series of activity sheets that can be worked through in your own time. These activity sheets are published in JAMM and can be downloaded from this website. Our intention is to provide enough activities to enable you to gain the required CPD each year. The current batch of activity sheets can be augmented by other activities like regional meetings, study days and self-study of a relevant nature – in fact, any activity that contributes to your personal development can be included. More activity sheets are currently being produced.

Please take the time to read through the CPD Handbook and look at the CPD Guide in the member’s area of this website.

How can I get funding to go to the IMI Conference?

Your local workforce development organisation has CPD money available for all healthcare groups. Money is allocated depending on the size of each healthcare group. In the West Midlands area, for example, £4000 is allocated to the medical illustration profession for CPD activities. You can apply direct to your strategic health authority or talk to the representative in your Trust (this is usually someone in your training and development department).

Can I use my personal development folder for IMI's CPD scheme?

Yes, your personal development folder should be an integral part of your continuing professional development process. You will need to reflect on the activities you undertake as part of your personal objectives, but they should all be valid CPD activities. More information on producing a useful portfolio is available in the CPD area of this web site. There are also a lot of CPD resources in the Member’s area on this web site that will help you develop your portfolio.

Quality Assurance Scheme (QAS)

What is QAS Level 1 & 2?

QAS stands for Quality Assurance Standards. Level 1 is designed to ensure that those departments who wish to take on a student have a number of important support systems in place. Level 2 investigates the managerial processes in more depth and is therefore a higher level achievement.

How much work is involved in each level?

Much of the criteria will already be in place within your Department (e.g. Job descriptions, Health and Safety manuals) and much of the rest is providing evidence (this can be written or posted on an Intranet site) of standardised ways of working (i.e. policies and procedures). Level 2 covers the same areas in more depth and looks at communication systems which support an efficiently functioning unit.

What is the difference between levels 1 & 2?

There are 34 criteria in Level 1 and a further 28 to achieve Level 2.

Why is it worth my department achieving this quality award?

This is the only quality award designed specifically to suit a Medical Illustration Service and to be audited by members of your profession, who understand what you do, and the way you perform.

Achieving this award can contribute to core standards set by the NHSLA against which all Trusts in England and Wales are measured.

How much does it cost my department to be audited by the QAS team?

IMI Members – Level 1 = £250    IMI Members – Level 2 = £550

Non Members – Level 1 = £500   Non Members – Level 1 = £700

Who do I contact to get more information about IMI QAS Standards?

National Occupational Standards (NOS)

What are National Occupational Standards?

This is a nationally developed scheme which involves all NHS Healthcare Science professions; it outlines what an individual does and what skills & knowledge are needed to perform a particular task.

How do they differ from IMI QAS?

The IMI QAS is about the service we provide, while NOS are about the individual tasks we perform.

Where can I download copies of the NOS?

All NOS have been published on the Skills for health web site. There are ‘Generic’ NOS which are relevant to all Healthcare Science professions. ‘Common’ NOS are relevant to two or more professional groups and ‘Specific’ NOS just for Medical Illustrators.

Professional Practice

Medical staff at my hospital won’t agree to a Consent to Photography Policy. How can I persuade them that we ought to have one?

The Department of Health now requires that proper, informed consent be obtained from all patients for all treatments and research.

The DoH guidelines clearly define clinical photographs as medical records. Such recordings – be they video or still – “made for treating or assessing a patient must not be used for any purpose other than the patient’s care or the audit of that care without the express consent of the patient or a person with parental responsibility for the patient” (Section VIII, para 2)

Any use of a recording for teaching, research or publication requires informed consent. These uses all fall under the general umbrella of the provisions of the Data Protection Act (1998), and your Trust’s Data Protection Officer will be able to advise you further in this area.

The Caldicott Report is also significant in this area. This informs the ways in which confidential patient data may be used, and your Trust’s Caldicott Guardian has a particular responsibility to ensure that patient data is kept secure.

Clinical photographs and video recordings are different from other procedures which require consent, in that the consent is largely about what may happen to the images in the future, rather than about what is going to happen to the patient while he or she is being treated in hospital. Clinical photography consent policies are therefore primarily concerned with protecting the patients and the Trusts – and their staffs – from the risks of unconsented use of these sensitive and often identifiable recordings.

Even if a recording is totally unidentifiable, patients have a right to decide whether or not it may be used for teaching or research, and specific consent is required for any form of publication.

This website’s Law and Ethics page carries more information about consent and related issues and links to related information as well as a model policy which you can download and adapt to your local circumstances.

You should work very closely with your Trust’s Data Protection Officer and Caldicott Guardian when preparing a consent to photography and video recording policy.