Healthcare Science driving innovation in the NHS

Healthcare science roles

If this sounds like the career for you, take a look below at the different roles available in healthcare science. Also available from Health Careers, is ‘Careers in Healthcare Science’. This booklet explains more about what this fast developing area can offer you, and how a healthcare science role fits into the day to day workings of the NHS.

Healthcare Science Assistant and Associate

Healthcare science assistants work towards vocational qualifications, often apprenticeships are used as a training route. Healthcare science associates are commonly trained through a higher level apprenticeship, foundation degree or diploma. Many organisations are familiar with developing their wider support workforce using these education routes and already have arrangements in place. Through MSC a national learning and development framework has been developed, once implemented the modular framework will provide a national learning structure for assistants and associates with vocational awards and qualifications.

Healthcare Science Practitioner

Healthcare science practitioners are now trained through NHS approved and accredited BSc honours degrees through the Practitioner Training Programme (PTP) in various themes of healthcare science. Offered by a number of Universities across England, the programmes include academic learning and work based training. The 50+ week work based training element, supported by curricula, is spread over three years, involving broad scientific training in the first two years with an increasing focus on a chosen specialism during year three.

Clinical Scientist

The Scientist Training Programme (STP) is a three year programme of work based learning, underpinned by a University accredited master’s degree. Trainees are employed by an NHS Trust for the duration of the programme and will be required to spend time in a range of settings, before specialising in the last two years of the programme. The STP national recruitment process is managed by the National School of Healthcare Science and begins at the start of each calendar year, typically with an advertisement placed in the New Scientist and is supported by Health Careers.

Consultant Clinical Scientist

The Higher Specialist Scientist Training (HSST) is a five year programme available to registered and experienced clinical scientists who wish to train and become eligible to apply for consultant clinical scientist posts. The programme is equivalent to the standards of training undertaken by medical postgraduate trainees. You can join the programme either as a direct entry (apply for a new post) or as an in service entry (nominated by your current employer).

Accredited Scientific Practice (ASP) programmes

Accredited Scientific Practice (ASP) enables employers to develop bespoke, responsive, short course programmes to meet training needs within the Healthcare Science workforce. ASP programmes provide a quality assured, rigorously assessed qualification which leads to voluntary professional registration with the Academy for Healthcare Science (AHCS). Content from all levels of the National School of Healthcare Science (NSHCS) programme portfolio is available for inclusion in short courses proposed by employers, providing an additional route to the ongoing professional and scientific development of the HCS workforce.

More information about healthcare science careers can be found on the Health Careers website.

National job profiles

The NHS consists of similar roles throughout the country which share common features. To ensure consistency in these roles they are matched against national job profiles which also help to determine which Agenda for Change pay band they should sit in. A national job profile is based on the job description, person specification and related additional information of a particular role. They are produced by the Job Evaluation Group (JEG) and are available on the NHS Employers website. Also available at NHS Employers is the job evaluation handbook, pay and conditions circular and the NHS terms and conditions of service handbook.

The recently updated national profiles for healthcare science are now available.