About the HSST programme for employers

Last Updated: 17th September 2020

Information and common questions about the Higher Specialist Scientist Training programme for employers.

What does the HSST programme entail?

The programme requires that each trainee follow a bespoke training programme agreed in advance with their local supervisor and recorded in an e-portfolio. It will require evidence of work place learning outcomes appropriate to the Standards of Proficiency of a Higher Specialist Scientist as published by the Academy of Healthcare Science. It will include the opportunity to undertake a professional doctorate (DClinSci) commissioned by HEE through the Manchester Academy for Healthcare Scientist Education. In Life Sciences the doctorate is optional but there is an additional requirement in these specialisms to complete the Fellowship examination of the Royal College of Pathologists.

What funding is available for HSST?

Commissioned posts attract an educational allowance of £13K payable each year to the employer, which can be used flexibly to support the costs associated with training. In addition, academic fees are paid directly to the HEI providing the professional doctorate (DClinSci), which forms a key component of the 5-year programme. Salary costs are borne by the employer throughout the training.

Funding guidance

Can the School do more to ensure employers are aware of the support required for the HSST?

When employers submit a request for a trainee via their local education office, they are made aware of the requirements to enable them to successfully support a trainee through the HSST. The support requirements are also emphasised further during the recruitment process and the employer is provided with written guidance.

How does an Employer create a HSST post?

Posts are commissioned by employers through the Local Office of Health Education England (HEE) either as a new post created specifically for the purpose of training (direct entry) or as an in-service post, through an already existing clinical scientist post. Posts can only be commissioned within those departments that meet the accreditation requirements of the National School of Healthcare Science (NSHCS) and so must meet the quality standards for work-based training. Employers will be required to demonstrate to both the commissioners and the NSHCS that they meet the requirements of the HEE Quality Framework and can deliver the specific requirements of the HSST. The commissioning process occurs annually usually starting in the autumn of the year preceding appointment.

Employing a HSST Trainee

What does the HSST curriculum deliver?

For all specialisms the HSST curriculum delivers a mastery of higher scientific knowledge and clinical and scientific competence and has a requirement during the 5-year programme for the individual to contribute to innovation or improvement through service delivery, patient safety, care, public communication/outreach and quality management. It delivers both personal and professional development including high-level skills in leadership, management, teaching, and the values, attitudes and behaviours appropriate for higher professional practice in the NHS.

The HSST curricula have been developed through joint working with the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and individual medical royal colleges, senior scientists and scientific professional bodies, employers and patients and its underpinning academic doctoral programme has been established through joint working with the Council for Healthcare Science in Higher Education and workforce commissioners.

What are the eligibility requirements for HSST Trainees?

Entry to the HSST programme requires that candidate’s have registration (or eligibility for registration and an application underway) with the HCPC as a clinical scientist. Candidates may also have a further year in the workplace to consolidate and enhance clinical scientific skills, learning and experience (including research and education) and are required to demonstrate through interview the ability to meet any additional specific selection criteria required for a particular specialism.

HSST Applicants