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Berne's blog - December 2017

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Hello everyone, 7 months in and my second blog. I am settling down at the school and in Health Education England (HEE). I’m also getting to know my colleagues in St Chads and in HEE, and also in the many other organisations that impact on the education and training of healthcare science (HCS) in the UK. I thought I would start this blog by talking about some of these bodies to give you a flavour of the complex setting in which HCS education and training happens. Then I’ll let you know about some of the initiatives that the school and scientists have been leading on, and/or have been involved with, over the last few months. And I’ll finish by looking ahead to some of the exciting new projects we can expect in the New Year. 

In HEE our closest colleagues are probably our fantastic commissioning team. Led centrally by Jenny Hannington and in Birmingham by Chris Woods, these are a dedicated and expert team of HCS commissioners who are based around the country. Many of you will know your commissioners well and will appreciate that it is their skill and connections to their local trusts and local scientists that allows the annual commissioning process for STPs and HSSTs to progress smoothly. They have been incredibly helpful to me by introducing me to HCS colleagues around the different regions. I had a great visit with Nicola Calder and HCS in the north and similarly Judy Croot and Katrina Oates facilitated a really productive day with HCS, to talk about HSST in Cambridge in November. Aarti Makan and my colleague Jo Young organised a London meeting where we discussed the school and what we can do to enable you all to feel more a part of it and also how we can recognise your huge contributions in a more formal way. It was a positive and constructive conversation, so watch this space for more on this topic! 

Another very important group in HEE for the school to know are the English Deans and I met with them on our behalf in October and again that was a useful meeting. I look forward to meeting with this group on a regular basis to discuss the work of HCS in the context of the multi-professional workforce going forward. 

Moving away from HEE, one of the key organisations for the school to engage with is the Academy of Health Care Science (AHCS). The AHCS and the school work closely together and share a common vision for a bright significant future for all healthcare scientists in the UK. It is also important that we have a strong working relationship with the Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) office who works tirelessly on our behalf. We meet regularly with many different people from the CSO office and both value and gain from those relationships. 

Over the last few months I have had the pleasure to meet with a number of professional bodies (not all of them by any means), with colleagues from the Royal colleges, and with Heads of courses from the many HEIs who deliver degrees on behalf of HCS. In particular I have worked closely with MAHSE, the Manchester Academy of Healthcare Science Education, in further developing the new HSST programme. I am beginning to get to know Trust lead scientists and wish to develop these relationships more as time goes on. I have also had preliminary discussions with the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and other grant awarding bodies and look forward to developing a clinical academic careers forum at the school next year. One of the most rewarding and vital areas of development at the school is the building of our patient and public partnership, which we will keep you informed about going forward. 

So, all in all you can see it is a busy and interesting landscape that we inhabit, with much of the terrain still uncharted by HCS. There is a lot to do and much ground for us to explore. I’ll keep you posted as we progress. 

So, what else is new from the school? Well, we are delighted to announce that the School has been confirmed as an “Assessment organisation” (AO) for apprenticeships and will deliver the End Point Assessment (EPA) for HCS Level 4 standard. Our application to become the AO for delivery of the EPA for HCS Level 2 and Level 6 standards is being assessed as I write this and we are hopeful that this will happen early in the New Year. In response to your requests, we have now set up an Apprenticeship Hub at the school and have dedicated a section of our website to apprenticeships. Graham Wilson is our lead for implementing apprenticeships and you can contact Graham at either This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The new e-portfolio has been launched, amid much enthusiasm, and our fabulous digital team are keen to have all our trainees using this by 2019.

What to look out for in 2018?

There will be two “Train the Trainer” days for HSST trainers on 6th February and 20th March 2018. In addition MAHSE, in conjunction with the NSHCS, are organising a research day on 24th January 2018 for HSST cohorts 1 and 2 who are actively thinking of their research projects now. Applications for the STP 2018, opens in January 2018; confirmation of the date can be found online. And last but certainly not least, look out for the STP Improvement Review Survey which is due to go live on 3rd January 2018. Keep your eyes on the website www.nshcs.hee.nhs.uk. The results of the STP Review Survey are due in March 2018, so look out for those too. 

Finally, you will be pleased to know that HEE-NSHCS is actively involved in the current discussions around the Pathology workforce and we will also be actively contributing to the developing strategy for the Cancer workforce as well. When all is said and done, I have enjoyed the last 7 months or so immensely and look forward to 2018. 

Have a wonderful holiday and best wishes for 2018. 

Berne