Collaborative meeting – Monday 27 March 2023





Workshop 1 – How can we best use the Enhanced Clinical Practice apprenticeship to develop the HCS workforce?

For all healthcare scientists to consider – how can they use apprenticeships to develop their staff and services and to work with their professional body’s to ask what courses/programmes are available or could be developed with education providers to support staff and services.

Workshop 3 – Supporting your trainee with reflective practice

Workshop 4 – Setting up specialism specific Training Officer Networks

Review of the Training Officer Networks workshop

This was a well-attended session with a large number of specialties represented.

In the first part of the workshop we heard about the experience of existing Training Officer Networks.

The first experience was described by Nick Connolly, who currently chairs the well-established Reconstructive Science Training Officer Network. Nick talked about how closely the network works with the National School of Healthcare Science (NSHCS) and their professional body. He also talked about the challenges of being a small specialty and making sure there were enough training centres offering training places to ensure there was a viable cohort. It was Nick’s enthusiasm that sparked the imagination of the attendees.

The second experience was described by Michael Drinnan, who currently chairs the Clinical Engineering Training Officer Network. This network has been running for about 12 months and arose out of the new curriculum for Clinical Engineering. Michael talked about mutual support and not reinventing the wheel, and outlined how useful it had been to share Training Plans. Michael also shared the Terms of Reference that the Clinical Engineering Training Officer Network uses and explained he would be happy for other Training Officer Networks to use and amend them. It was Michael’s pragmatism that caught the attention of the attendees.

The third experience was described via an online link by Patrick Maw, who currently chairs the Clinical Scientific Computing Training Officer Network. This network has only met once so far and came out of a working group that was promoting the Clinical Scientific Computing specialty. The aim was to ensure a viable Scientist Training Programme (STP) cohort could be recruited. Patrick’s talk was very aspirational, describing what he wanted the Clinical Scientific Computing Training Officer Network to achieve. It was Patrick’s vision that enabled the later discussions to be so constructive.

The final presentation was given by EMma Bowers, the NSHCS Training Programme Director who was facilitating the workshop. It was a quick summary of the previous presentations and considered possible approaches to setting up Training Officer Networks.

The second part of the workshop required people to get into specialty or theme groups and discuss the following:

“Do you need a Training Officer Network?”

When this question was being answered, there were thoughts around what would be gained if there was a Training Officer Network. The effort required to setup a network up versus the work saved in the future by having a Training Officer Network and what the current priorities were within the specialty and group. Whilst no group said they didn’t need a Training Officer Network, a few felt it was something for the future as they didn’t currently have capacity to set one up now. A few other areas, particularly ETP, concluded they already had existing networks where support for Training Officers could be provided.

There was lots of discussion around what type of network would be appropriate, and this differed very much between specialties. All groups had lots of ideas on how to make contacts with people to start forming the Training Officer Networks. The NSHCS agreed to provide support by letting Training Officers know that people wanted to set up a Training Officer Network in their specialty and to advertise the inaugural meeting on the website.

The final plan had been to start writing proposed terms of reference, however because the discussion had been so fruitful we did not get to this stage. Everyone who attended the workshop has been sent the terms of reference that the Clinical Engineering Training Officers Network use and have been invited to let the NSHCS know if they would like any support with forming a Training Officer Network.

Please do not hesitate to contact the NSHCS if you would like to set up a Training Officer network, even if you didn’t attend this workshop.



Below are some summaries of the roundtable meetings.

PTP and Apprenticeships Roundtable summary

The discussions started slow but the two main themes were:

  • The importance of understanding the communication lines for healthcare scientist lead roles in departments, trusts through to ICBs to ensure effective use of resources for workforce education, training, planning and transformation.
  • The School encourages universities to review healthcare science PTP curricula programmes and wants to work with education providers to ensure programmes are accredited.
STP roundtable summary and actions

The STP roundtables were well attended, and in the session we asked several questions using a combination of SLIDO surveys and discussions. Here are the questions and themes arising from discussions.

New curriculum

Question 1 – How are you getting on with the rotations for the new curriculum?

The new curriculum is working well for most, with many positives around the new curriculum being an improvement in relation to the old curriculum. There are still some challenges, around the shift to shorter rotations and more reflective competencies.


Question 2 – What are the benefits of the MRP to trainees and training officers?

The majority of attendees responded that the MRP is beneficial because it is a formal tool to assess progress of one or more trainees, and a way to highlight any gaps in learning/development and highlight any areas of concern or where additional support may be needed. Some respondents said they would like to receive more details about how decisions around MRP outcomes are made.  Click this link for information about the Midterm Review of Progression (MRP).

Question 3 – What are the challenges in completing the MRP?

The responses to this question via SLIDO helped us to understand that there continues to be confusion between the Mid-Term Review of Progression (MRP) and Multi-Source Feedback (MSF).  Some suggestions from attendees were to

  • Change the name of the MRP to avoid confusion with MSF.
  • Send separate communications about MRP.
  • Embed the MRP process and/or communications about it within OneFile.

Question 4 – Is MRP done at the right time (phase 2), or do you think it should be done earlier or later in the training?

The responses to this question via SLIDO were:

  • 67% think that MRP is done at the right time (n=30)
  • 11% think that MRP should be done earlier in training (n=5)
  • 22% think that MRP should be done later in training (n=10)

Question 5 – How could the MRP process be improved?

We received many helpful suggestions responses to this question via SLIDO. Suggestions for improvement were similar to responses for question 3, and included:

  • Changing the name of MRP to avoid confusion with MSF.
  • Embed the MRP process and/or communications about it within OneFile.
  • Sending separate communications around MRP.
  • Sending confirmation to trainees and Training Officers that submissions have been received.

We also discussed how the National School of Healthcare Science (NSHCS) are unable to share submissions with other parties (e.g., trainee response with Training Officer) because it is important to maintain confidentiality and safety around the process for both trainees and Training Officers, either of whom may wish to use the MRP process to raise concerns.

Training capacity

Question 6 – How would you go about increasing training capacity?

The responses received for this question followed a set of clear themes, including:

  • Increasing the workforce to help reduce the pressure on trainers.
  • Better recognition of training.
  • Better recognition for Training Officers.
  • Developing a qualification to better recognise Training Officers.
  • Funding and protecting Training Officers’ time.
  • Increasing the number of Practice Educators – both in departments and across regions.

The NSHCS continues to work with our stakeholders to increase training support, numbers, and capacity. Workstreams include:

  • Increasing commissioned places on our STP, ETP and HSST programmes.
  • Supporting an increase in the number of regional Practice Educator posts.
  • Supporting Healthcare Science apprentices with training grants.
  • Developing new training programmes in areas such as Respiratory Science, Sleep science and Clinical Data Science.

The need to increase capacity and support for trainers is recognised, with a national Educator Workforce Strategy recently published. Click this link to read more about the Educator Workforce Strategy.


Question 7 – What are the benefits for Clinical Scientists in taking on the role of IACC examiner?

The responses received for this question on SLIDO followed several themes. Benefits of becoming an IACC examiner included the following:

  • Supports Training Officers to understand the full cycle of the STP programme.
  • Supports Training Officers to prepare their own trainees for the IACC assessment.
  • Supports shaping of the future Clinical Scientist workforce.
  • Ensures quality in the assessment process.
  • Supports Training Officers’ CPD.

There was also feedback and discussion about the old OSFA assessment, in comparison to the current IACC assessment.  As part of the discussion, it was  explained that the OSFA was highly complex, labour intensive, substantial financial costs in terms of hiring correct venues (which are rare in England) to run the stations and prior to the pandemic was not considered by assessment experts to be the optimum method of assessing trainee. The current IACC assessment was introduced in response to the pandemic and continues to be developed alongside other methods of external assessment during training. The aim of the NSHCS is to create the optimum high-quality final assessment for STP trainees, and we continue to work alongside Healthcare Science colleagues to achieve this. Click this link for more information around assessment development.

It was  also noted that some of the cost savings from not running the OSFA in the way it was run have also meant that the NSHCS has been able to develop and deliver a number of new initiatives including the following new training programmes:

Question 8 – What measures can you take to embed IACC examinations as part and parcel of STP training within your departments?

The responses received for this question on SLIDO were around several themes. Suggestions included:

  • Continued development of the IACC to support departments and Training Officers to best manage assessment throughout, and at the end of training.
  • Continued development of the IACC by removing the written reflective piece from the final assessment (several respondents felt that the final assessment should be scientific).
  • Undertake mock final assessments, and seek to involve Practice Educators and regional trainers in this process
  • Improved planning, guidance, and communications around the final assessment from the NSHCS.
  • Require departments with STP trainees to nominate an IACC assessor as part of the accreditation process.

Actions for the NSHCS

The NSHCS welcomes this important feedback from our stakeholders. We will use the responses gained from the STP roundtable to continue to develop our programmes and processes.  We will feedback and update on future developments via the STP monthly memo, via updates on the NSHCS website and via update at the next HCS Education and Training Collaborative Event, which is planned for later this autumn.