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Accredited Scientific Practice (ASP) has been designed to enable employers to develop bespoke, responsive, short course programmes to meet training needs within the Healthcare Science workforce. ASP programmes provide a quality assured, rigorously assessed qualification which leads to voluntary professional registration with the Academy for Healthcare Sciences (AHCS). Content from all levels of the National School of Healthcare Science (NSHCS) programme portfolio is available for inclusion in short courses proposed by employers, providing an additional route to the ongoing professional and scientific development of the HCS workforce.

What is Accredited Scientific Practice?

An ASP programme involves work based learning with academic study of modules from NSHCS portfolio programmes. Access to an e-portfolio is provided to record learning in the workplace while associated academic study is completed independently through an accredited University provider. Work based learning is assessed through completion of modules and final assessment by the NSHCS and academic study is assessed by the University provider. In some cases, completion of academic study may also lead to an award of a postgraduate qualification from the University provider. On completion of both work based learning and academic study, a Certificate of Completion of the ASP Programme is issued by the NSHCS enabling registration with the AHCS.

Proposing an Accredited Scientific Practice Programme

An ASP programme can be proposed by any employer providing Healthcare Science services. To propose an ASP, employers must complete and submit the ASP Proposal Form to the NSHCS. Evidence is required to support the proposal including estimated number of ASP trainees, a brief needs analysis and agreement from at least one NSHCS accredited University to provide the academic component of the proposed ASP programme. Support for the ASP programme from the relevant Professional Body is also recommended. The content of the ASP programme can be selected from any single level of the NSHCS portfolio programmes. Modules are selected from the online Curriculum Library to meet the training needs identified in the workforce. The content of each ASP programme must be prescribed but multiple ASP programmes may be proposed under one Specialty or Programme Proposal. Once an ASP proposal for a specialty is received by the NSHCS, it will be reviewed for viability and the content of the proposed ASP programmes reviewed for scientific coherence; recommendations may be suggested by NSHCS and discussed with the proposer. Approval for the ASP Programme is provided by the NSCHS. Once approval for ASP Programmes has been provided for a specialty area, additional ASP programmes can be proposed within the scope of the approved specialty proposal by submitting a Programme Proposal.

Applying for an Accredited Scientific Practice Programme

Once approved, ASP Programmes are opened to application from both the proposing employer and other employers within the HCS community. Applications for ASP Programmes are submitted to the NSHCS, the employer/sponsor is responsible for approving the trainee’s enrolment on the programme based on their existing qualifications and experience. Both the trainee and employer/sponsor must complete the Learning and Data Sharing Agreements to indicate they have understood their respective role and responsibilities in undertaking the ASP programme. The employer is responsible for supporting the trainee throughout the ASP process including the appointment of a suitably qualified training officer to each ASP trainee, agreement of a training plan with the trainee and monitoring progress against the training plan. The employer must arrange any external placements required and ensure that the trainee has adequate protected time and resource to complete the programme in a timely manner. The trainee is responsible for developing a training plan with their training officer and completing the work required by the programme in a timely manner. The length of the ASP programme is determined in the programme specification and ensures that an appropriate amount of time is given to complete the work required, guided by the number of credits assigned to the ASP programme; exceeding this timeframe will result in additional costs. ASP Programmes are open to all employees of a Healthcare Sciences service. The programme offers an opportunity for continued personal, professional and scientific development for the employee while meeting the training needs of the workforce for the employer. Completion of an ASP programme enables the employee to join a voluntary register with the AHCS to recognise their expertise. While not a direct route to equivalence for professional registration as a Healthcare Scientist, demonstrating completion of an ASP programme may form part of a portfolio with additional examples of experience and prior learning to demonstrate the knowledge, skills and behaviours required for the appropriate level of professional registration. In addition, credits earned with the University provider may also be applicable for Accreditation of Prior Learning for future study.