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Berne's blog

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

This is the first of what I hope will be a regular update from me as the new Head of School. In this blog I want to share my thoughts and perspectives with you on how I think the School is progressing for the benefit of our “national community of healthcare scientists”. I would like to share information on new initiatives at the School as they develop and it would be great if you wanted to engage by letting me and the school know your views via the website, twitter or email.

It is a huge privilege to be the new Head at the National School of Healthcare Science and one of my major aims in this role, will be to try to position the School as the central scholastic hub for the healthcare science population in the UK; a place where all healthcare scientists (HCS) from all professions and all levels feel they can belong to. A national educational home for HCS within Health Education England (HEE) which has strong connections to healthcare scientists within the UK. l can tell you there is a great team at HEE who support healthcare science education in all sorts of ways, including detailed knowledge of commissioning, leadership and quality to name but a few.

In this first post I thought I would tell you a little bit about me, about the School itself and the staff who are here and also give you a taste of what we have being doing during the first few months of my being here.

I am an immunologist by background and started out as an academic, working in the universities of Glasgow (my home town), Nottingham, Helsinki, Oxford and Brunel, before spending the last 20 years in the Oxford University Hospitals Trust, ending up as Head of Department in the Clinical Immunology department and as the Trust Lead Scientist. Along the way I was a visiting consultant in Immunology in Milton Keynes, Northampton General and Hampshire Hospitals, and was the Chair of the Immunology Professional Group. I have been really fortunate to have had such a varied career and to have met and worked with wonderful and talented colleagues from across a range of academic and healthcare science, from whom I have learned, and continue to learn, a great deal.

Since arriving in April, I have met the dedicated staff who work here at the School in Birmingham on your behalf. Over the coming months, I will get them to introduce themselves via the School newsletter, but for now I can tell you in the School itself there is an accreditation team who to date have accredited over 450 hospital departments and over 30 universities, to train and educate healthcare scientists; a digital team who look after all the online aspects of healthcare scientists educational needs, including introducing the excellent new e-portfolio which our new HSST cohort are currently using and which all our STP and HSST trainees should be using within 18 months. An incredible education and assessment team who look after the “love em-hate em” OSFAs, which are so highly regarded nationally by many other professions (as well as our own!). A recent introduction to this team are a small group of curriculum experts, who will help us to bring all of our scientific curricula up to date over the next few years, keeping pace with our rapidly changing clinical fields. Then there is the programme office which many of you will be in touch with on a regular basis. These are the people who help to link the staff and the work of the School with all of you in the hospitals and Trusts around the country. Last but certainly not least, we have a highly committed and hard working team of professional lead scientists, who many of you will know. They provide the scientific input and liaison with all of the teams mentioned above and with you in the scientific community.

Together, this central team at the School work energetically on your behalf and will continue to do so for as long as you need us. However, we all understand that the real heart and soul of the National School of Healthcare Science is you; all of the healthcare scientists who work tirelessly for patients every day. This is your School and we and HEE believe it is here to help ensure that healthcare scientists are being trained and educated to be ready to face the challenges of healthcare in the future.

Since arriving in April, the STP programme has welcomed cohort 7 onboard and has said au revoir and congratulations to the STP cohort 4, as we wish them well in their future as clinical scientists. It is only au revoir to some of the STP trainees, as we look forward to welcoming many of them onto the HSST programme in the future. We recently welcomed cohort 4 onto the HSST programme at a highly successful induction day in Birmingham which was attended by HSST trainees and many of their trainers.

During these last few months, the Level 2, 4 and 6 apprenticeship standards for HCS have been published and are already being taken up across the country. The School has moved to centre stage as these standards are now being implemented. Don't forget to take a look at our website for frequent updates and information on healthcare scientist apprenticeship developments.

Alongside these initiatives, we have been meeting with our patient and public engagement partners to think of ways in which to enhance the public’s knowledge of the work of healthcare scientists, and with clinical academic colleagues to discuss ways in which to support healthcare scientists embarking on clinical academic careers.

So wrapping up my first post on my first ever “blog”, it has been an exciting and enjoyable first few months and I look forward to meeting many of you over the coming years. Going forward I hope you will continue to engage with the School and that together we can build on what has already been achieved.