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.
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.
What are the requirements for HSST Trainees protected time?
An allowance of 52 days each year protected time, used flexibly for academic studies and which excludes the time spent attending residential sessions at the HEI or other time attending conferences or on placement outside the host laboratory.
What arrangements are there for extended leave from the HSST programme?
In the specific case of statutory maternity leave NHS employees are entitled to up to 52 weeks of leave. Employing Trusts will have their own specific policies however in general these are governed by the standard NHS terms and conditions as described by NHS Employers. The School will adjust the deadlines for completion of workplace-based assessments to take account of this proportionately.
HSST trainees planning to take any extended leave, including maternity leave, or part-time working are required to contact the School as soon as possible to discuss and agree an appropriate timeline for completion of the programme. Furthermore, any planned leave from the programme, including maternity leave, will require a reviewed training plan, written by the trainer with the trainee and submitted to the NSHCS/HEE local office to be signed off with agreed timelines to ensure any mitigation of risks are identified.
In summary all such arrangements require that trainees:
- Seek agreement with their employer and HEE local office
- Need to be aware of and follow local Trust policies and procedures
- Contact the local HEE office to make arrangements for any changes (deferment) to the training allowance payments
- Agree with MAHSE a timeline for in the of completion of the academic components of the programme
Please note that similar guidelines would be enacted for other forms of statutory leave including paternity leave.
Is it possible to move between employers?
There have been examples recently of trainees requesting transfer of their training contract from their original employer to another, both within and outside the HEE Office that had originally commissioned the position. The situation is significantly more complex than that for STP, for which the School has formal procedures in place, as HSST posts are agreed as a local or wider (consortium, regional) workforce need within a current employers workforce plan. A distinction also needs to be drawn between those who have already embarked on the HSST programme and those yet to start but who have received an offer of appointment.
The School can help facilitate and advise on transfer arrangements but the agreement remains the responsibility of the trainee to negotiate between the employers, who provide salary and the commissioners, who provide the educational allowance. However it is clear that personal circumstances can change during a five-year training programme and that at times individuals may need to move from one location to another during the course of the programme. Note that in all cases of transfers the new training centre must meet the NSHCS standards and conditions of approval for HSST training. Also that no further places would be supported for the original organisation until any amounts due under the agreement had been paid in full.
Transfer within the local HEE office area
For a trainee yet to take up their HSST post and where the proposed trainee transfer is within the local HEE office domain it would be for the local HEE office to agree the transfer of the training allowance between employers within its area. Salary costs would be the responsibility of the actual employer. This would be a matter for agreement between both employers and the local HEE office and subject to consideration of local manpower planning and the impact of the local health economy. Where agreement can be reached then the designated location of the HSST training post would move to the new employer subject to a formal commitment by the new employer to undertake the training responsibilities and meet all associated local costs. Where agreement cannot be reached and a trainee chooses to continue with the transfer they would be deemed as declining the offered HSST post and the post to which they transfer would not be eligible for designation as a HSST training post at the time of the transfer.
Where a trainee has already commenced HSST training and been in post for a minimum of 12 months such a transfer is possible but requires agreement between both current and proposed employers and the HEE Local Office. Authorisation of the transfer requires that a formal commitment be given by the new employer to undertake the training responsibilities and all associated costs, which may additionally include the training allowance. Where an employer is unable to meet these requirements and the trainee chooses to continue with the transfer they would therefore be deemed as exiting the HSST scheme.
Transfer outside the local HEE office domain
Where a trainee has yet to take up their HSST post following an offer of appointment and applies for transfer of that training number outside the local HEE office domain then this will be denied. Funding of the HSST post is with the identified employer only and the training allowance is similarly allocated and restricted to the local HEE office domain. A trainee who chooses to continue with the transfer would therefore be deemed as declining the offered HSST post and the post to which they transfer would not be eligible for designation as a HSST training post at the time of the transfer. It would then be for the local commissioner and employer to consider whether the post, if In-Service, could mutate into a Direct Entry post.
Where a trainee has already commenced HSST training and been in post for a minimum of 12 months such a transfer may be possible but requires agreement between both current and proposed employers and also of both HEE local offices. Authorisation of the transfer requires a formal commitment be given by the new employer to undertake the training responsibilities and all associated costs including the training allowance. Where an employer is unable to meet these requirements and the trainee chooses to continue with the transfer they would therefore be deemed as exiting the HSST scheme.
If a trainee moves to another role can they continue on the training programme?
If a trainee moves to another role for professional advancement, it is important that their new employer is aware of, and agreeable to, the continuing commitment and support required to ensure the training for HSST can be completed. The trainee should also inform the School and their local education office of the trainee’s role change; assurances that their new employer can offer a suitable training environment will also be required.
Where can I find my Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)?