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Berne's blog - August 2018

Friday, 31 August 2018

Nearly the end of August already and what a summer it’s been. My favourite quote from July was: “I’m glad it’s finally hot enough to complain about how hot it is.” Where would we be without the British sense of humour?

OSFAs

It’s nearly that time of year when we say “Au revoir” to our completing STP trainees and wish them well in their future endeavours. The STP Class of 2015 were just as exceptional and successful in their OSFA as their colleagues in previous years, and trainees excelled this year with the highest pass mark achieved since the inception of the OSFA. They and all of us working in healthcare science, send sincere thanks to our scientific and academic colleagues in Trusts and Universities up and down the country. It is these colleagues who have taught them, mentored them, cajoled them and supported them over the last three years. The 2018 OSFAs were the usual feat of heroic organisation and here too, we give huge thanks to all our colleagues in Trusts and Universities and from the School, for giving so generously of their time, experience and skill to make them such a success.

2018 STP Induction Day

At this point in 2017, 86% of our completing trainees had already secured posts as healthcare scientists within the NHS. (See exit survey on STP experience from 2017 graduates.) So as the 2018 completing trainees embark on what we hope will be long and valuable careers in health science, we look forward to welcoming the 2018 STP trainees to their Induction Day in Birmingham on September 10th. Also for the first time, we will be welcoming the 2018 HSST trainees to their Induction Day in Manchester on October 17th. This is the first time the HSST Induction Day is being run as a joint event between the School and MAHSE. Similarly to the OSFAs, I would like to say many thanks to my colleagues from the School, and to scientists from Trusts all over the UK, for their time and expertise in successfully recruiting these new cohorts of STP and HSST healthcare scientist trainees for all our professions.

Collaborating with colleagues

I feel that one of the important roles in my job (which is also a privilege) is to meet scientists from all scientific areas, to discuss ways in which we can improve the education and training of scientists by collaborating and mainstreaming the work of healthcare scientists more and more. So, in June it was a great pleasure to go to LGC in Teddington and join in discussions with scientists including Dr Julian Braybrook and Dr Steve Wood, around introducing scientific measurement into all our curricula. Understanding this fundamental area is much needed and will become even more vital in helping ensure solid scientific foundations for all healthcare scientists, including new disciplines such as health informatics and data science.

The NIHR is an impressive organisation and it is always amazing and humbling working with them and seeing some of the up and coming research being conducted by our bright, young, aspiring and hardworking scientists in all areas of healthcare science. Recently, the school has been collaborating with Public Health England through Dr John Battersby and Dr Sam Bracebridge to finalise the new STP programme in data science and epidemiology and we are grateful to Professor Andy Brass and colleagues from Manchester University in helping us move this forward.

NHS England

The school continues to work closely with NHS England and in particular with the CSO, the newly-minted Professor Dame Sue Hill (for which heartfelt congratulations Sue, it is richly deserved) and her team. I continue to attend the LIA group whenever I can, on behalf of all our existing and future training and education programmes and healthcare science education in general. The new 5-year strategy for Healthcare Science being developed by the CSO and her team is exciting and I know they are keen to involve all health scientists in planning for the future. Take a look at the #futurehcs Twitter feed and find out more. The team has already hosted a WebEx on July 27th which was aimed at STP, HSST and newly qualified practitioners as well as PSEL, KTP and WISE fellows. By all accounts, it was a fascinating and productive conversation. I also attended an ideas generator day for the 5-year HCS future plan where I met leaders in healthcare science from all disciplines. It was good to work alongside Dr Mark Tooley from IPEM and we caught up on issues of concern to our medical physics colleagues.

Apprenticeships and NHSExpo

In other news, Graham Wilson at the school has started to reconvene the Trailblazer Apprenticeship Group which Sue Hill has agreed to chair. The HCS Trailblazer group are speaking to the Institute for Apprenticeships and will be keeping a close eye on all the changes taking place in this landscape. Further good news from the school is that the first healthcare science apprenticeship End Point Assessment (EPA) has successfully been completed and we are now officially starting to gain experience in our role as an EPA Assessment Organisation. I will also be speaking about our scientific programmes on September 6th at NHS70 Expo, so if you are there I look forward to seeing you.

The TOPOL Review

Finally, I was delighted to have been asked by The Topol Review - which is exploring how to prepare the healthcare workforce, through education and training, to deliver the digital future - to chair an internal HEE panel on Organisational Development and Enablers for the review. This has been exciting and hard work, but so worthwhile. The School has also submitted a response to The Topol Review and have recommended a number of ways to ensure that data and digital technologies improve patient services and the NHS in the future, and have detailed how important our healthcare scientists will be to this.