For Employers

Classification of Medical Illustrators in the NHS

Medical Illustrators working in the NHS are classified as Healthcare Scientists and form part of the ‘Physical Sciences and Biomedical Engineering’ group of the Healthcare Science workforce.

Members of the Healthcare Science workforce perform a range of different roles depending on their qualifications, experience, and level of specialisation. Although the workforce comprises approximately 5% of the overall healthcare workforce in the UK, their work underpins 80% of all diagnoses as well as therapeutic interventions.  It has been estimated that more than 65,000 individuals make up the Healthcare Science workforce.

Pay and Conditions

The national pay system for  Medical Illustrators working in  the NHS  is the Agenda for Change   (AfC)  scales which apply to  all directly employed staff except doctors and the most senior managers.

Gradings are dependent upon job descriptions and person specifications but as a general guide the following are applicable to this profession:

  • AfC  Band 5 (Annex  21)  for Trainee Clinical Photographers/ Medical Illustrators.
    Trainee Clinical Photographers will normally have a relevant first degree. They should receive training in post and can carry out patient photography under supervision. They should also be studying for an IMI-accredited qualification.
  • AfC Band 5 basic grade for qualified and registered Clinical Photographers/ Medical Illustrators.
  • AfC Band 6 for team leaders/ more senior Clinical Photographers/ Medical Illustrators.
  • AfC Band 7 for expert practitioners/ section leaders of large departments/ heads of small departments.
  • AfC Band 8a to 8c for Heads of Service.

Sample job descriptions can be downloaded here.


Medical Illustrators are an essential part of the clinical team with the potential to do real harm to patients should things go wrong.

The Institute of Medical Illustrators strongly recommends that all qualified medical illustrators who are patient-facing are registered on the Academy for Healthcare Science (AHCS) register, which is accredited  by the Professional Standards Authority (PSA).

For more information read Clinical Photography an accredited register profession (PDF)

Registration shows that an individual is committed to upholding high professional standards and to keeping their knowledge, skills and experience up to date through ongoing professional development.

There are various routes to qualify for registration including a Certificate of Competence that is run by the  Institute of Medical Illustrators on behalf of the  Academy for Healthcare Science.

You can search the AHCS register to check the practising status of a Medical Illustration Practitioner here:

Recruitment and Advertising

The Institute of Medical Illustrators’ website is the go-to place when searching for employment opportunities and any NHS organisation can  advertise posts by  submitting a job  free of charge  or for more information contact:

Recruiting Temporary Staff

Medical Illustration is a small profession and this sometimes presents problems when recruiting for temporary staff, for example when covering maternity leave for a Clinical Photographer. In this case it may be necessary to appoint a trainee on Band 5 (Annex 21), provided there is a qualified Clinical Photographer in post who can provide supervision. A Trainee Clinical Photographer should have a degree in photography or an equivalent level of qualifications and professional experience. For further advice on training and qualifications contact:

Interview Assessment

The Institute of Medical Illustrators  offers NHS organisations the opportunity to have a senior practitioner sit on interview and assessment panels free of charge.  Please contact the Honorary Secretary at:

Organisational Policy

Medical  Illustrators work in a field that must strictly adhere to legislation with regard to consent and confidentiality. Medical Illustrators are often responsible for developing Trust-wide policy for organisations. Where such resource is unavailable, the Institute of Medical  Illustrators can provide assistance in providing information and sample policies.

News  and Tendering Opportunities

The Institute of Medical Illustrators’ website is the knowledge hub for all practitioners and newsworthy items can be promoted here and via our social media networks. Please contact  the IMI webmaster:

Find a Professional

Potential employers can search our membership database for a professional Medical Illustrator.

You can search by keywords such as legal, art, photography, video or design as well as searching by profession, town and region.