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Berne's blog - May 2018

Wednesday, 09 May 2018

Hi all, hard to believe it is already May, but at least the sunshine has arrived to replace the cold and rain. Mark Twain once said that “the coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco” so it is not only British weather that is unpredictable. There has been a lot happening, but I thought I would start by bringing you up to speed with the world of STP - our STP that is, not that other one!

So first off, the STP Improvement Review has been completed and its findings should be published later this month. A huge thanks to over 1,100 participants for responding; these included trainees, trainers, supervisors, HEI representatives, professional bodies, HCS commissioners and other healthcare scientists. You are amazing and thank you so much for your time, efforts and interest in the future of our profession. So watch this space (and our website) for the published report.

Secondly, the School met recently with many of our partner HEIs involved in running the master's element of the STP to discuss ways in which we can continue to develop and improve the learning experience for our trainees. Amongst other suggestions, we are going to invite academic master's programme directors and lecturers to future STP Train the Trainer events; hopefully this will allow interactions and relationships to grow between the workplace and university supervisors. Talking of the STP programme, I cannot thank all scientific colleagues, plus all staff at the school, enough for your invaluable input into the 2018 STP interviews which have just ended; we could not do it without you. Finally, on the subject of our STP trainees, we are in the process of finalising the agenda for the induction day for the new 2018 cohort due to start in the autumn. We are always learning from previous years and this time we are lucky to have the help of two key members of our staff: Jas D and Michelle who are helping us to hone our communication on induction day so that the information we give out is slicker and more impactful. Thanks Jas and Michelle.

Moving on the HSST programme, which is developing fast. I am humbled and inspired by all of our trainees across all programmes, but forgive me if I single out - especially- those in the first two cohorts of our programmes as you blazed the trail; this could not be truer than for those scientists in cohorts 1 and 2 of the HSST programme. Guys you are wonderful, you have embarked on one of the most innovative and challenging training programmes in the NHS today. You are committed, hardworking and talented and we are all lucky to have you in the NHS.

In the School, in the workplace and in MAHSE, we are working on HSST all the time and your feedback is brilliant and welcomed. So what has been happening? We have had two successful Train the Trainers events for HSST this year, we have also instigated research days at MAHSE and we are developing even closer working relationships between colleagues at MAHSE and the School. From these meetings, we are working on delivering a joint induction day for HSST this October which we hope will be in Manchester… watch this space for dates and information. Then of course there is the little matter of actually interviewing for the 2018 HSST intake; interview dates are set for 4th, 5th and 6th June. These interviews will take place in Birmingham and once again I will thank in advance fantastic scientific colleagues from all over the country and the dedicated recruitment team at the School led by Manjit, thanks to you all.

One of the aims of this blog as we go forward is to introduce all of the players on the healthcare science landscape to one another so that we all know who we can turn to for help. One of the most important groups for us healthcare scientists are the commissioners, affectionately known as the HCS leads here in HEE. These are a knowledgeable group of people, many of them previously practicing scientists, who now work across the country with trusts to ensure that each is aware of the deadlines for HCS commissions and to co-ordinate these scientific commissions for the good of the NHS scientific community and NHS patients. If you don’t know who your commissioner is, find out or contact us at the school and we will put you in touch with your local HEE office who can point you to the HCS lead for your trust.

The School, in particular the accreditation team, meet regularly with the HCS leads who are led by Jenny Hannington and we will continue to work closely with these colleagues as we plan for the 2019 commisioning round. In my next blog, one of our HCS leads, Nicola Calder, will be a guest writer and will bring us up to speed with some of the work she is involved with on the 'Topol Review'. Like I said, a talented and committed bunch.

Other groups of people that the School knows and interacts with are our colleagues in professional bodies. In the year ahead, I hope to continue to meet with colleagues from as many professions as possible. Just recently, myself and Graham Wilson, one of our professional leads at the School, had an enjoyable and positive meeting with Jill Rodney and Alison Geddis at the IBMS and we look forward to working together in the future. In the physiology space, I have had conversations with Catherine Ross, president of the SCST, and completed some work on behalf of the School with the British Society of Echocardiography. On Twitter, I follow as many professional bodies as I can and it goes without saying that the work of the Academy with its 'One Voice' will continue to help us all get to know one another.

In March, I had a very good meeting in a beautiful, sunny Edinburgh with Rob Farley and Andrew Davie where, amongst other things, we discussed the possibility of extending the use of OneFile to training healthcare scientists not necessarily on core programmes. Healthcare Science Week was very successful this year with much going on around the UK. I loved meeting healthcare scientists in Oxford and Gloucester and that included meeting the diabetic eye scanners in Gloucester and their director Prof Peter Scanlon. Then there was the annual CSO Conference in London; much has been written about this and the superb lectures and speakers who provided the delegates in the Royal Society with an inspiring and thought-provoking two days. The conference was introduced, and led in her own inimitable way, by Prof Sue Hill whom we are fortunate and proud to have at the head of our profession.

Lastly, as you will read in The School Report, you have very little time left to apply for the 2018 CSO WISE Fellowship and in this regard, as well as Nicola guest writing my next blog, I also hope to welcome some of 2017 WISE Fellows, Jo Horne and Lisa Ayers.

So I will stop there for now, and will not leave it so long between blogs in the future. Bye for now, enjoy the sunshine.

Berne