HSST Monthly Memo (September 2021)

Our monthly memo for HSST trainees and supervisors features relevant news, helpful tips, opportunities to promote healthcare science and FAQs.

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

September heralds autumn and a changing of the seasons. Attentions focus on final assessments for the Royal College of Pathologists, IAPS or DClinSci vivas. Preparation is key. The five year HSST programme gives you time to prepare for assessments and to develop and succeed as consultant clinical scientists. We wish all the very best of luck to those of you preparing for one or more of these.

The next HSST cohort will be welcomed next month to begin the next steps on their journey from scientists to consultant healthcare scientists and to begin their preparation to be consultants and register on the Higher Specialist Scientist Register.

Also the Annual Review Process (ARP) opens in October (details below). It is a mandatory part of the HSST and part of your ability to keep track of your preparations. It is also another time and place to identify areas where you might need more work. It is really important you give an honest account of where you are at and any difficulties you are having so these can be sorted out before it is too late.


Annual Review of Progression 2021

The Annual Review of Progression 2021 (ARP) for trainees on the HSST programme will open on Thursday 14th October at 9am and close on Monday 15th November at 5pm.

HSST trainees in their final year of training will be asked to anticipate their ‘readiness to exit’ the HSST programme.

As part of the process, all trainees and supervisors are required to complete an individual, separate online evaluation form pertaining to the trainee’s progress appropriate to the trainee’s stage on programme. Access to the applicable trainee or supervisor online form will only be made available on launch day – Thursday 14 October and not before.

Outcomes from the review will be released to trainees and their workplace supervisors during week commencing 3rd January 2022.

Participation in the review is a mandatory requirement for all HSST trainees and their workplace supervisors. It is intended as a supportive and facilitative process.

We recognise the exceptional circumstances that have arisen over the last 18 months in regards to the COVID 19 pandemic, and that these may have impacted on training delivery, personal circumstances or both. Please be reassured that this will be taken into account when reviewing your progression.

Even if you have had an interruption or are currently on an interruption due to COVID 19, the expectation is that you will still engage with this process as it will be of benefit to you as you return to regular training. However, if you are unable to participate in the review this year, please contact the School to confirm the reason for this by 30th September 2021.

Click here to find to further details on the annual review of progression (ARP)


Learn how to complete common tasks in OneFile

There is an extensive collection of guidance about how to use OneFile available on the National School website. We have a playlist of videos about how to complete common tasks in OneFile in our YouTube channel and a series of downloadable guides which step you through how to complete key tasks.

Click here to find to OneFile guidance for trainees

Click here to find to OneFile guidance for supervisors


Commissioning now open for HSST 2022 intake

Health Education England (HEE) has announced that the commissioning process has opened for the Higher Specialist Scientist Training (HSST) programme for trainees commencing training in 2022.

These are the key dates for the 2022 commissioning cycle for the HSST.

  • w/c 26th July 2021 – Application portal opens
  • 1st October 2021 – Application portal closes
  • October 2021 – Local Health Education England office reviews applications
  • November 2021 – Moderation by National School of Healthcare Science
  • w/c 23rd November 2021 – Letters to organisations confirming commissions

If you have any questions regarding the commissioning process, please email


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:

  • 29th September – Training support, scientific support – including assessment support: HSST interview
  • 6th October – Support for IAPS assessment
  • 13th October – STP/HSST OneFile support
  • 27th October – Training support, scientific support
  • 24th November – Training support, scientific support

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


HSST Interruptions

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)


RCPath Trainees' Research Medals

RCPath Trainees’ Research Medals are awarded annually for outstanding research work undertaken by pathologists or scientists in training.

The awards are open to all junior pathologists or scientists registered with the College or a UK Regulatory Council for training purposes during the year the submitted paper was published. The article must have been either published or accepted for publication by a peer-reviewed journal.

Applications are invited from trainees who are first author or first joint author on single original research papers published between 1st July 2020 and 30th June 2021.

Please encourage any trainees who you think could be eligible to submit their research by Friday 3rd September.

Click here to find more information on the Royal College of Pathologists’ Research Medals scheme


Further bursaries available to fund Faculty of Clinical Informatics membership for healthcare scientists

Following the successful bursary scheme in 2020, where a total of forty seven bursaries for Faculty of Clinical Informatics membership were awarded, including two Fellows, seventeen Members and twenty eight Associates, the Faculty of Clinical Informatics (FCI) and Health Education England’s National School of Healthcare Science (NSHCS) are pleased to announce further bursaries are available to fund Faculty membership for healthcare scientists working in or interested in clinical informatics.

We will fund a year’s membership of the FCI to successful applicants. The bursaries are initially aimed at those who are enrolled on, or are alumni of, the National School of Healthcare Science Scientist Training Programme or Higher Specialist Scientist Training Programme, but there will be funding for other NHS Informaticians to take up membership, including Topol Fellows.

​​​​​​​Click here to find the Faculty of Clinical Informatics Membership or Associate application form


Missed a previous edition of the HSST Monthly Memo?

We’ve published copies of the Monthly Memo for STP 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)