Guidance for trainees about HSST completion

Information about the end date, the timing of your HSST final assessment and how to obtain your completion certificate.


Changes to the HSST end date

A lot can happen over the course of 5 years and there are a variety of reasons why the HSST end date may be adjusted.

Statutory leave – Any statutory leave results in a pause in the programme and the HSST end date is adjusted by the number of months taken. You should inform the School as soon as possible of statutory leave dates. The pause in the programme is just for the time period whilst the trainee is on statutory leave. If you wish to pause for longer it would be considered a step-off; see below for more details.

Less than full-time working – For those working less than full-time hours, the 5 years and funding can be distributed pro-rata. As the programme is full time at the point of entry, the School needs to approve these arrangements and work with you to calculate the HSST end date. We can also advise on any impact on training plans or assessments as required so please get in touch if you are seeking to reduce your hours. Generally trainees on the programme will need to be working a minimum of 0.6WTE or 22.5 hours per week and must agree the flexible working arrangements with their employer in line with local employment policies.

Extensions – Additional programme time may be given due to exceptional extenuating circumstances (EEC), where there has been a continuation of training activity. This is applied for through the EEC process. Click this link to view the EEC policy.

Step offs/deferrals – A pause of the programme may be granted due to exceptional extenuating circumstances which precludes an individuals engagement with training e.g., service pressures/reconfiguration or prolonged ill health. No additional funding is received during the period of absence from the programme and no direct training activity including academic work should be undertaken. This is applied for through the EEC process. Click this link to view the EEC policy.

COVID Interruptions – A pause of the programme due to the impact of COVID-19. No additional funding is received during this period and no direct training activity including academic work should be undertaken whilst on an interruption. This is applied for through COVID Interruption OneFile form. Applications should be made at the time of the impact on training or as close to as possible.


Your HSST end date

If you think you may qualify for a change to your end date due to one of the reasons above, but you have not yet contacted the School to let us know, please do so as soon as possible. Retrospective requests for extensions will be considered, however it is much easier to justify and evidence these requests closer to the time. It is not possible to reach the end of the programme and then apply for circumstances that occurred years before.

The processes described above allows for a great deal of flexibility in the HSST programme. The result of this is that many HSST trainees will not have the same end date as the rest of their cohort. In fact, your end date should be considered individual to you and it is essential that you know and plan for your own HSST end date and your HSST completion deadline.

End dates and completion deadlines are now identified as part of the Annual Review of Progression (ARP) that all trainees participate in between years 2 to 4 and at the beginning of year 5. You should check the dates identified each time you complete your ARP return, to determine if they meet your expectations and if not contact the School to clarify any differences/discrepancies.


Timing of the HSST final assessment

For Physiological, Physical and Bioinformatics trainees

  • The final assessment is the Independent Assessment of Professional Skills (IAPS).
  • To apply to sit the IAPS you will need to have completed and signed off evidence for all of Standards of Proficiency on OneFile and put together a showcase.
  • The assessment is held in May (showcase deadline is February) and November (showcase deadline is August).
  • You are entitled to two re-sits of the IAPS, as long as those re-sits fall before your completion deadline.
  • To allow for re-sits before your completion deadline, you should take the first sitting of the IAPS in the May before your HSST end date and submit your showcase of evidence by the February before your HSST end date.
  • If you have an adjusted HSST end date you should plan to take your first sitting of the IAPS prior to your adjusted HSST end date.

For Life Science trainees

  • The final assessment is the RCPath Part 2 examinations.
  • To apply to sit the Part 2 exam you must have passed the Part 1 exam for your specialism.
  • The RCPath exams run in Spring and Autumn. However, not all specialisms run the Part 1 and Part 2 examination twice a year. Be aware that the schedule does vary from year to year, as do the application deadlines, so please keep up to date with the RCPath website.
  • You are entitled to three re-sits of the Part 2 examinations.
  • In order to allow for re-sits you should plan to take the Part 2 exam as soon as you are ready, and at least take the first attempt before your HSST end date.

Issues with achieving your completion deadlines?

It is important to take responsibility for understanding the completion requirements of the programme and plan proactively to achieve the deadlines set. This should include regular reviews with your supervisor, ongoing and regular communication with the programme leads in the University and engaging with the annual progression review processes (ARP) managed by the School.

We appreciate that issues can arise and things will change for you over a 5 year period. The School will always seek to support trainees and will communicate regularly in relation to completion deadlines via ARP or other means.  It is important that you review and take note of these communications to check that you are still on target and to raise issues early if you feel that your completion deadline is not achievable. Our advice is to plan, review, be aware of the requirements and let us know of any concerns early so they can be addressed and resolved to support you to complete the programme successfully.


How do I get my HSST Completion Certificate?

Once you have passed your final assessment, completed all of the HSST elements and received your academic qualification certificate, you can apply to complete the HSST programme. This is done via the HSST completion form on OneFile. You must complete this form and attach any relevant evidence; see the completion criteria for further information.

You will receive a huge congratulations from us and your HSST Completion Certificate which can be used to join the HSS Register with the Academy for Healthcare Science.

Last updated on 3rd May 2022