About the HSST programme for supervisors

Last Updated: 11th November 2020

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

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 are the responsibilities of employers with HSST Trainees?

The responsibilities of the employer in supporting a HSST trainee aligns closely with that published by the GMC in its standards for medical education and training of postgraduate doctors in specialty training. The employer must ensure the HSST trainee has a balance between providing services and providing access to educational and training opportunities. Service work undertaken should support learning opportunities, education and training opportunities, and should not be compromised by the demands of regularly carrying out routine tasks or out-of-hours cover that do not support learning and have little educational or training value.

HSST trainees are mentored or supervised by someone of consultant or equivalent standing within the employing department and with the support of others across the department and within the wider organisation. It is helpful if the supervisor or mentor has experience of trainee supervision either of medical or clinical scientist postgraduate trainees and is conversant with guidance such as that from the GMC on the roles and responsibilities of supervisors and their obligations to support training excellence. We provide HSST Train the Trainer events for those undertaking HSST supervision.

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 is involved in the Annual Review of Progression?

All HSST registrants will have an annual review of progression towards late spring/early summer of each of the five years. The process will be facilitated by the School and will include a formal review of evidence of academic progression (from MAHSE or RCPath); a review of workplace based competence (a brief report from your supervisor) and a review of your workplace based progression (a review of your e-portfolio evidence). You will also have an opportunity to comment on your progression, which may include any concerns you may have. If there is significant evidence of failure to progress you will be given agreed and realistic targets to meet during a remediation period. In exceptional circumstances you may be offered and supported through a HSST exit strategy.

Information on the Annual Review of Progression

Who can I contact at MAHSE about the HSST programme?

You can find contact details on the MAHSE website for the HSST programme.