Berne’s Blog – December 2019

It has been a busy and productive year at the school

Published on
18th December 2019
Written by
Berne Ferry
Filed under

Weather update – a pluviophile is a person who loves rain.

The best thing to do when it is raining is to let it!

A quote from Longfellow, apparently. Well we haven’t had much choice this December that’s for sure.

It has been a busy and productive year at the School. I‘m glad to have got back into the blog again and will keep them coming in 2020 and linked to our School report.

Around the School


IAPS is here!!!

Three of our fantastic HSST scientists have now undertaken the new ‘Independent Assessment of Professional Skills’ (IAPS). As a community of healthcare scientists, we have delivered, via the School, the first three IAPS for HSST. As mentioned in my last blog, this high-stake assessment was modelled on royal college exit examinations and the extent of the importance of this, for our potential consultant scientists cannot be underestimated. It is a fantastic achievement. I am really delighted to report that the trainees, the assessors and colleagues from the School, have praised the whole process. So, while I acknowledged those people involved in the wider process in my last blog, can I reiterate thanks once again to Sandie Gay and Lisa Ayers from the School but even more so to the first assessors themselves including in no particular order: Andrew Reilly, Michael Drinnan, Carl Rowbottom, Malcolm Sperrin, Richard Scott, Charlotte Kemp, Peter Colley, Graham Chalmers, Paul Evans, Karen Venables, Kevin Burke and Craig Edwards.

The 22nd and 23rd October saw two fantastic induction days for new HSST scientists starting in 2019. This was the first time we held linked, but separate, MAHSE and School induction days. They were held in Manchester, as the HSST were all there for the first week of their MAHSE leadership and management course.


Another very successful OSFA resit examination period, was held at the Royal College of GPs from 18th to 22nd November. Results were published on December 12th and congratulations to all successful candidates. Thanks, yet again, to all HCS who gave up their valuable time and expertise to make these exams happen. Thanks to lead station writers and their colleagues for writing the questions, for your time and simply invaluable help on the OSFA days and it goes without saying, for being so supportive of our highly successful STP programme.


The PTP survey and review is now complete and the results are being analysed as I write this blog. Look out for the results of this much anticipated review, early in 2020.

Topol Fellowship at the School

In the summer, the School took on responsibility for the design and delivery of The Topol Programme for Digital Fellowships in Healthcare. The fellowship programme provides fellows with time and support to design and deliver digital health projects and initiatives in their organisations and a programme of workshops to stimulate and support fellows to lead digital health transformations for NHS staff and patients.

November saw the successful completion of the second of six workshops for cohort 1. The Topol digital fellows are already making their mark on the system being invited to give talks on their work in Trusts and around the health system.

Find out more about the Digital Fellowship programme and the fellows

I continue to say a huge thank you to Owen Driskell and Stuart Sutherland at the School, for superb organisation and we are hopeful that the second round of these fellowships will be announced in the New Year. Watch this space.

An occasional view which I may sometimes add to this blog is from

Around HEE and NHSE/I

The School continue to seek out and represent HCS at meetings in HEE and other health bodies, to share our experience and knowledge of HCS education and training and to learn from our counterparts in different professions. These interactions will give us a chance to discuss the School’s priorities in response to the LTP, and the soon to be published people plan, and consider some of the challenges and opportunities, that HCS face in their education and training. In this regard, the School are part of the discussions around credentialing, with the initial workshop being held on 18th November, and ‘the future doctor’ discussion, a workshop being held in October and the launch of the Royal College of Physician’s document on ‘How to embed research in NHS Trusts’ which was launched on 28th November. It is important that the School get involved in these initiatives, to contribute our unique and valuable insight and to help to shape the future of these areas going forward

Out and about

  • October 7th was the date of a productive meeting at the RCPathology between the School, IBMS and the Royal College to discuss issues around Advanced Clinical Practice in pathology.
  • October 30th was also at the RCPathology and it was great to be present, albeit briefly, at the meeting for the Association for Clinical Embryology.
  • November 14th was a chance to attend the ACP conference at the Oval and it was good to be part of these discussions with AHP and nursing colleagues.
  • November 22nd was an inspiring day with the SCST in Birmingham. Delighted to be asked to talk about the School’s plans to respond to the LTP and the HCS Strategy, due to be published in 2020. Great to be speaking on the same platform as the deputy CSO, Angela Douglas.
  • November 29th saw the CSO, Dame Sue Hill open the new DNA measurement lab. I was delighted to be invited to attend this event and can report that the facilities are superb, and the staff committed and inspiring. The School actively works with the government scientist Professor Julian Braybrook and colleagues and are grateful for their invaluable input on clinical measurement into our new core curriculum for STP.
  • December 12th saw the second meeting of the HCS partnership board (as well as the other big event on that day!). The School was represented by myself and Angela Daly, who is Director of Operations at the School.

From next year I will start to invite other colleagues to contribute to this blog, as I am conscious that I haven’t really mentioned our role as an End Point Assessment Organisation for Apprenticeships. I may start with that early in 2020, so watch out for that.

All that remains is to wish all of you reading this, a happy holiday and I look forward to working with you in 2020.


Last updated on 17th February 2022

Feature image for Berne’s Blog – December 2019