HSST Monthly Memo (December 2021)

The HSST Monthly Memo covers the latest programme updates, events and key resources for HSST trainees and supervisors.

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HSST Monthly Memo 2021
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Message from your HSST Training Programme Director

Dr Owen Driskell

Time flies and December brings the year to a close. In one version of the calendar at least. But the work continues. There is a lot to fit in to the timescales of HSST and there is a lot of work required to keep track of it. The Annual Review of Progression is under way and is an opportunity to review challenges and goals. ARP is a requirement of the programme providing valuable information on the health of the programme and the needs of its participants. Not taking part in ARP puts at risk future investment in training. Outcomes from the ARP will be communicated early in the new year and any support meetings required arranged shortly after. We are also processing the feedback to put into improvement activity.

As outlined in a little more detail below, if there are changes in your situation at any point in your training, it is important to keep us informed. This is to support School planning and ensure we are communicating effectively.

It has been another hard year with extra pressures on healthcare. I hope those of you who are able to take some time off over the festive period, enjoy it. For everyone else, time flies.


Information for all trainees and supervisors

Festive period opening times at the School

Over the festive holidays the School will be available as outlined below:

  • Monday 27th December – Closed
  • Tuesday 28th December – Closed
  • Wednesday 29th December – Friday 31st December – Reduced staff so responses may take longer than usual
  • Monday 3rd January – Closed
  • Tuesday 4th January – Normal opening hours resume

OneFile forms during the festive period

Due to staff work schedules during the holiday period, any forms sent to the School via OneFile requiring a “centre monitor” action may take up to 5 working days to action, instead of the usual 2-day turnaround we aim for. Please keep this in mind if you send us anything between 20 December and 31 December. We should be back to normal turnaround times from 4 January.

Click here to find out how to contact the National School


Information for all trainees

Changes in your training – please make sure the School is aware

It is important the School be made aware of any changes to your training which may impact on your ongoing progression, participation or completion of the programme. The School will co-ordinate with commissioning teams and universities to make sure all organisations involved in your training are aware of the latest position to ensure you receive appropriate advice and support so that your training programme can be managed effectively. This applies to all trainees in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Examples of circumstances in which you or your training officer must notify the School:

  • Statutory leave – we will need to know the dates of intended leave (maternity, paternity, parental, adoption leave) and any flexible arrangements requested on return so that your programme and training plan can be reviewed and your revised completion timeline confirmed.
  • Long term sickness absence – any period of sickness over 6 weeks or more should be confirmed with the School or if there are multiple short term absences that trigger local employer policies. It is an opportunity to seek advice about processes that can support your training, such as the Exceptional Extenuating Circumstances policy, and to seek support from the training support team in the School to discuss matters with you and your training officer in more detail. Click here to find the Exceptional Extenuating Circumstances policy.
  • Changes to your training officer/supervisor – this needs to be updated in OneFile but the School also needs to know for accreditation purposes and to ensure that we are communicating with the right people at the right time about your training. Click here to find the change notification form.
  • Decision to leave the programme – it is important that you get in touch with the School if you are considering leaving the programme, particularly if this is as a result of issues with your training. Try to speak to us early to get advice and support so that you can determine if leaving is the right choice for you. We will always support your decision to leave but if we can help with any issues that are influencing that decision then we would like to know to see if we can resolve them with you.
  • Transfer of training or early employment – there is a policy for this so please review and submit an application as soon as you receive the offer, or earlier if possible, so the School can review and confirm if your training can continue to be supported in your new department. Click here to find the transfer of training policy.

Any changes of the above nature should be communicated to and the relevant team in the School will advise you.

OneFile webinars

In November 2021 we held a training webinar for both new HSST trainees and supervisors to learn about the main features of OneFile and how to make sure both you and your supervisor get the most out of your e-portfolio during your training.

Click here to view this webinar anytime on our OneFile webinars page


Information for supervisors 

Annual monitoring

The annual monitoring process is a requirement of your accreditation. Thank you to the departments who have taken part and completed this process.

If you have not done so already, please could you complete the questionnaire by 31st December 2021. This helps us to gather important information about your department. Not doing this may affect your accreditation status and it will be taken into account when allocating the training places following on from the Expressions of Interest process for 2022.

You were sent an email containing the link. Please contact the accreditation team on if you would like us to resend the link. Trainees do not need to complete this process.

Employers expressing an interest in taking HSST trainees

The HSST is a 5 year funded programme with an additional 12 months unfunded period to allow for completion of all programme requirements such as the academic dissertation or professional examinations. The commitment for employers taking a trainee is therefore up to 6 years in total.

Employers must also be willing to support trainees where breaks in training are required and which may result in extended training time e.g statutory leave, ill health, disruptions due to service pressures, COVID-19 etc and so should provide a training contract which will provide some flexibility to enable trainees to complete the programme successfully within an extended time period.

Any additional time on programme beyond 6 years may require an application via the National School of Healthcare Science Exceptional Extenuating Circumstances (EEC) process and trainees/departments should liaise with the School in good time to discuss their circumstances where this is applicable.

Expressions of interest for the Level 8 qualification in histopathology

Would you like to be involved in developing a Level 8 HSST qualification in histopathology?

If you’d like to be involved in developing the career pathway for scientists in Histopathology we want to hear from you. We’re particularly keen to hear from you if you’re a Consultant Healthcare Scientist, Consultant Pathologist, have equivalent experience or are training, particularly if you have recently completed professional qualifications at this level.

We’ll be establishing a Curriculum Review Group to begin developing a Level 8 HSST qualification in histopathology in the next few months. If you’d like to join the conversation please provide your details.

Click here to find to provide your details


​​​​​​​Missed a previous edition of the HSST Monthly Memo?

We’ve published copies of the Monthly Memo for HSST trainees and supervisors on our website.

Click here to view previous editions of the HSST Monthly Memo

Last updated on 10th March 2022

This publication is part of HSST Monthly Memos (2021)