Berne’s blog – June 2020

Hi everyone, Writing this blog in June at the tail end of probably the hottest week of 2020 after the warmest recorded UK Spring on record. Black Lives Matter I would like to acknowledge the commitment, dedication and selflessness of all our trainees, students, trainers and all healthcare scientists working in the NHS and contributing to the NHS COVID-19 response. […]

Published on
2nd July 2020
Filed under

Hi everyone,

Writing this blog in June at the tail end of probably the hottest week of 2020 after the warmest recorded UK Spring on record.

Black Lives Matter

I would like to acknowledge the commitment, dedication and selflessness of all our trainees, students, trainers and all healthcare scientists working in the NHS and contributing to the NHS COVID-19 response. The role of our Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic colleagues deserves special mention and thanks particularly in the context of the well documented additional personal risk that so many of these colleagues have carried.

I would like to acknowledge the appalling death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, USA on 25th May this year. This event and subsequent developments during the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the forefront of our politics and into the centre of our society the issue of systemic racism. Within the School and Health Education England, and in our smaller healthcare science world we are clear that we will listen, learn and work with Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic and other colleagues to play our part in ending racism and discrimination wherever it may exist.

As a first step, can I and the school invite you to engage with us on the following themes;

  • What should our priorities be to ensure equality, diversity, and inclusion for all healthcare science learners and trainees and trainers?
  • How we better engage with Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic healthcare learners, trainees and trainers?

We will listen carefully and engage with you in what you tell us.

It is early days, however I want all our colleagues in HCS to know some of the initiatives that we are embarking on to contribute to and build the work that needs to be done

  • In the school, we have begun to talk openly about BlackLivesMatter and are setting up relevant groups to ensure that Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic staff feel they are heard and represented fairly and openly in every way. We are fortunate in the school to have so many talented, brilliant and highly valued staff who are from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds as well as many other minority and diversity groups.
  • Many from the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic staff in the school sit on HEE Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic networks and every support for ideas and work emerging from these networks will be given
  • We are commissioning work to examine in depth our recruitment processes to ensure that they are absolutely as fair as possible
  • The school will work on initiatives with NHSE/I and office of the CSO to develop the above ideas and engage with the wider workforce

Thank you.

This blog like my previous salutes:

All of the frontline and backroom NHS staff, doctors, porters, nurses, paramedics, physician associates, AHPs, hospital chaplains, catering staff, volunteers, pharmacists, managers and to all their families- but-  I missed out in April’s blog a heads up and recognition of the parallel groups of people who care for patients and the vulnerable in care homes and community settings around the country.

Once again, I make no apology for singling out all of our incredible Healthcare Scientists (and your families) who despite all of you confronting demanding situations both in work and personally continue to work tirelessly to help patients at this time.

It is you that I want to single out and acknowledge:

Apprentices in HCS

HCS apprentices are continuing to train and contribute not just to the COVID-19 response but are fulfilling everyday commitments. A huge shout out to all of you and to your support network of departments, trainers and supervisors in your Trusts. Boota and Amrita in the Apprenticeship End Point Assessment Organisation (EPAO) and Graham as our apprenticeship lead continually update information for you on: –  Look on our frequently updated webpage for developing information.

PTP students

Guys, you are brilliant, it has been such an uncertain fast moving landscape you have been working in. Well done for persevering  during these times. I promise you that the resilience you have built up over the last few months will stand you in good stead as you develop your careers. We will keep updating information for you at – and again congratulations to those of you who are on the HCPC Biomedical Science Temporary Register and PSA accredited registers. Look out for information on that from the NSHCS – and from the Academy – . Thank you too to the many university lecturers and university departments, all of whom we are in touch with, who care about you and have been working tirelessly to ensure that you do not miss out in your education during these unprecedented times you are living through. The School has been working extremely hard with NHSE/I and the Department of health and NHS Employers to provide a deployment option for Year 2 HCS practitioners who have outstanding placement hours and require a placement to successfully complete their second years. We have negotiated paid placements for you – until end of August 2020-. Your university programme leads have the details.  DO CONTACT THEM.

Graham Wilson is keeping in touch with all your universities and please let us know if you need us to help in any way. Further information can be found here

STP Trainees

Webinars:- We know that you have so many questions at this time, and just in case some of you have not seen the webinars that we provided to try to begin to answer some of your questions you can find them here: They include a general webinar for all STP trainees and their trainers, a joint webinar with HEIs and the school for all STP trainees and their trainers, as well as individual ones for years 1 and 2 STPs and a specific Exit assessment and completion webinar for third year. Jane lynch and Namir Al Hasso (our new STP training programme director who joined us at the beginning of June- great to have you on board Namir and the STP students will be pleased to get to know you) are always around to provide information for you :- . and are continually updating answers to your questions which you will find at :-

This has been and continues to be an incredibly demanding time for you all, both professionally and personally. This is not an easy time to be training, I know that. As I said to our PTP students, although you may not realise it or feel it right now, by staying in training, and working and contributing as best you can to the COVID-19 effort and to the recovery effort and by being as innovative and agile as you can with achieving your competencies and completing your academic work, I promise you that you are building a flexible hardiness into your working persona that will stand you in good stead as you develop in your career. For our part at the school in HEE, we are on your side and will do everything we can to also be responsive and understanding while upholding our HCS standards  and do not hesitate to contact us for advice.  I would like to thank all of you for your hard work and stay well during this difficult time. We are constantly updating our Health and wellbeing support offer and please look for updates here:-

For all you 3rd year STPs who continue to train and are now working to complete and to those of you on the HCPC Temporary website, fantastic and good luck. For updates on the register, look here:-

Independent Assessment of Clinical Competence (IAAC):- I said in my last blog that- on your behalf-  the school was working on an alternative to the OSFA which would take into account the circumstances that all final year STPs find themselves in and that we would let you know the details as soon as we could. We have done that and by working with many colleagues both within and outside of HEE including, but not limited to a wide range of scientists, professional bodies, assessment organisations, lay representatives, universities, regulatory bodies including HCPC and the AHCS we developed for our third years the IAAC.  Information on the IAAC can be found here: We are continually adding to this page and to date it includes information on the requirements of the IACC, guidance for assessors, trainees, how to submit, assessment criteria and regulations, assessment outcome, the policies behind it as well as frequently asked and anticipated questions.

I know that this is a major change to the well-respected ( and well feared!) OSFAs, but we have tried extremely hard on your behalf with HEE to ensure that the IAAC is a fair, defensible independent assessment for final year STPs who have lived through the COVID emergency and to provide an assessment that will allow you to exit your programme utilising a fair, considered and well respected examination approach that will allow you to continue with your clinical scientific careers. Many questions around the IAAC were answered on the webinar led by Sandie gay, our head of assessment which can be found here :-

Again, I would like to thank all STP training officers, supervisors, mentors and everyone else in Trusts  who not only are supporting  STP trainees but are working flat out in your normal roles. We are doing what we can to provide you with information which you can access here – Don’t hesitate to contact us if we can be of help.

HSST Trainees

You guys are amazing. We know that all of you are working flat out, many in positions of high responsibility and pressure. Again huge respect to you all. The School is working closely with MAHSE and HEE to ensure that any alterations to your programme that arises as a result of the current crisis are understood and provided for. Look here- for information from us. Again, thanks to all of you HSST trainers during this time. Not only the NHS but the NSHCS salutes your work and expertise.

News from around the School

STP Recruitment for 2020

STP recruitment has come to an end and I am delighted to tell you it has been enormously successful. To date, there will be over 330 new STPs joining our workforce to train as scientists in September/October this year. This is an incredible result!. It could not have been done without the dedication and support and expertise of hundreds of scientists in the NHS who interviewed candidates and assessed them, Thank you. It also could not have been done without the dedication and  hard work and expertise of the recruitment team at the school who helped deliver this. Special thanks to Rosanna Nolan, Keerreesha Blake, Rachael Peters, Sarah Millar, Nicola Gould, all co-ordinated by Liz Plumb under the conduction of the maestro Andrew Williams.

HSST Recruitment for 2020

HSST recruitment has also come to a successful conclusion. As I write, we have recruited 52 HSST trainees to start in 2020, in addition ( similar to STP), between scientists in the system and colleagues at the school, you created a new way to manage HSST recruitment successfully. Thank you to all the NHS scientists for your time, humour and expertise.

Thank you to the same people mentioned above and to others in the school too numerous to mention but you know who you are!. One special mention must go the maestro of this performance which was Virginia de La Hamayade.

Finally, thanks to all the guys at the school and in HEE who as I said last blog really are working so hard for you and have your training and careers in the forefront of their work,

Please take care of yourselves.


Last updated on 29th June 2023

Feature image for Berne’s blog – June 2020