HSST Monthly Memo (November 2021)

Our HSST Monthly Memo is a monthly newsletter covering the latest programme updates and events and key resources for trainees and supervisors of the Higher Specialist Scientist Training Programme.

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HSST Monthly Memo 2021
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Message from your HSST Training Programme Director, Dr Owen Driskell

This month’s issue is packed with information and support. It is important to engage with the opportunities to inform the support you receive. The National Educational and Training Survey (NETS) is one such opportunity to improve the quality of the information around the learning environments you are working in. We offer podcasts and drop-in sessions to support you in managing the challenges of your training and your progress. The COVID interruption process is still available, the availability of this process will be reviewed at the end of the year, and there are events for promoting compassionate and positive cultures.

Annual monitoring of Accreditation is taking place (details below) another opportunity to seek support if there are any challenges you are currently facing. For those based or around the field of histopathology there is an opportunity to offer support to the development of a HSST qualification.

HSST progresses as more and more candidates meet it’s exacting standards and complete the programme. It is gratifying to see more and more applications to complete coming in. Good luck to those sitting assessments later this month. Eligibility for the Higher Specialist Scientist Register and the wider establishing and consolidation of the Consultant Healthcare Scientist role awaits.


Information for trainees

National Education and Training Survey (NETS) is now open

The National Education and Training Survey (NETS) is now open and will be available until 30th November. It takes just 6-10 minutes to complete and is the only national survey open to all trainees working and training in healthcare services across England.

You know and understand the learning environment in which you work and train better than anyone else and your feedback is important in helping us to identify when things are working well and when they could be improved. The NETS is an opportunity to say what you think about the quality of your education and training, including areas of good practice.

Response data will be published in January 2022, and we will use it to continue to improve your experience, as well as that of future healthcare science trainees.

We encourage all our HSST trainees to take part in this survey, as your responses are valuable to us, and we are listening to you.

You should have received an email invitation to complete the survey from on Tuesday 2 November. This email contains a personalised link to the survey pre-populated with your training programme information. If you have not received this email and personalised link, please check your email spam folder before contacting the NETS Project team at to request a new personalised link.


Training support podcasts

We are developing a series of podcasts to provide guidance and support on a range of different themes for trainees. Our series of podcasts currently covers the following topics:

  • mental health
  • maternity leave
  • training with disabilities

The podcasts are recorded with trainees who share their experiences on the programme. If you would like to be involved in the production of these podcasts and share your experiences, please email the school at

We hope these podcasts will be a helpful additional resource.

Click here to listen to our training support podcasts


Training support drop-in sessions

We offer regular drop-in sessions which provide a means through which trainees and training officers can speak to members of the School directly to access their expertise and guidance.

The drop-in sessions are offered on a regular basis and are themed to maintain focus for particular areas of support or guidance.

The discussions are confidential and usually offered on a 15 minute basis per person. Any issues not resolved or requiring follow up will be logged and further meetings arranged to address unresolved issues.

Click here to find out more about our drop-in sessions

Below are the dates for our upcoming drop-in sessions:

  • 24th November – Training support, scientific support

Click here to find our drop-in sessions timetable and event joining links


Interruption to training application

We continue to offer the opportunity for trainees on the HSST to apply for an interruption to their training if the pandemic is having a significant impact on their ability to engage with or progress through the training. This process has been a major success in offering flexibility to trainees who have been required to take leading roles in supporting the response to the pandemic and keeping services running.

Click here to find more information on applications for interruption to training (Expired link)


Compassionate and positive cultures in the NHS: a series

Anti-bullying week 2021 will be taking place from Monday 15 – Friday 19 November and this year’s theme is ‘one kind word’. The NHSE/I Civility and Respect team will be running a series of events throughout November to promote kindness and help support civility and respect in the NHS to help colleagues:

  • Understand what kindness, compassion and a positive culture look like
  • Spread awareness of civility and respect and empower NHS staff to help eliminate bullying and harassment
  • Understand what support is available to promote civil and respectful workplace environments
  • Access diagnostic tools to help organisations benchmark and take action

The events will run on the following dates:

  • 16 November 12:00 – 13:00 – How behaviours can impact on individuals, teams and organisations
  • 23 November 12:00 – 13:00 – Support for NHS Staff to Speak
  • 30 November 12:00 – 13:00 – The role of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in creating a positive culture

These sessions are open to all NHS staff.

Click here to find out more about the events and register your attendance


Information for supervisors

Annual monitoring now live

All departments accredited on or before 31st March 2021 are now asked to complete their annual monitoring return.

Annual monitoring is a requirement of accreditation. If you do not complete your annual monitoring, this may affect your accreditation status. It will be taken into account when allocating the training contracts for the following year, following on from the Expressions of Interest process.

Annual monitoring is done through a short and simple electronic form that, in most cases, should take no more than 20 minutes to complete. We ask for details of any changes that may influence or affect the delivery of training. These include:

  • Notification of any difficulties encountered in delivering the HSST programme
  • Outcomes for trainee(s) who have completed the programme

Please ensure that the form is returned by Friday 3rd December 2021.

If you have any questions or need your unique survey link please e-mail the Accreditation Unit at


Change in circumstances

If there has been any significant change since your department was first accredited that could affect the quality of training provided, please complete a notification form and return it to the Accreditation team at

Your information will be reviewed and we will contact you if any further action is required.

Click here to access the change notification form for work-based providers


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 (link is no longer active)


Missed a previous edition of the HSST Monthly Memo?

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

Click here to view previous editions of the HSST Monthly Memo

Last updated on 26th September 2022

This publication is part of HSST Monthly Memos (2021)