Message from your HSST Training Programme Director
Dr Lisa Ayers and Dr Owen Driskell
This month’s introduction is from Dr Owen Driskell.
It’s December and it feels like we are in the midst of a deep freeze. Winter pressure on the NHS is part of the annual cycle and the factors that contribute to it just seem to be growing, along with the concern that it will not ease into the summer. Despite these pressures the vast majority of those required to partake in the annual review of progression have done so, so thank you. It is heartening to see reports that the majority of HSSTs are progressing well and the information can be now used to support and provide guidance where required.
As part of this review, we have noted a trend whereby HSSTs who require an IAPS are planning to delay taking their IAPS until late on in their programme. In doing so they are denying themselves the opportunity of potential resits. HSSTs should be aiming to sit their first IAPS towards the end of their fifth year allowing time in the programme for a couple of opportunities to resit the assessment should they need to.
In the face of difficulties, it is sometime beneficial to reflect on just how far we have come. Last month Professor Berne Ferry delivered the Teddy Chester Lecture at the Alliance Manchester Business School. It was a commendatory and insightful overview of the emergence in prominence of a new profession of Healthcare Science in the NHS, paying homage to the key figures and organisations involved in establishing Modernising Scientific Careers. Central to this was an increased public awareness and understanding of healthcare science, empowered by scientific leadership and training pathways together with healthcare scientists coming together in OneVoice. It was also forward facing, highlighting the key role healthcare scientists have in the progression, innovation and development of healthcare services in the future. The importance of improvements to NHS Services and patients where healthcare science is well understood cannot be overstated.
We are all still on that journey of establishing what it is to be a Consultant Clinical Scientist across the professions of Healthcare Science. Your professional communities are working towards this and supporting these definitions as they are expressed at DClinSci and IAPS assessments and RCPath examinations. But you are also working beyond those definitions in your everyday roles, advocating for Healthcare Science in your Trusts and looking for opportunities to advocate in the wider landscape of the ICSs and ICBs, for example. This work is ongoing and needs to continue despite any deep freeze.
Information for trainees
The dates for IAPS 2023 are available on the website. For those thinking they are going to sit their IAPS in May 2023 then the deadline for showcase submission is 8th February 2023.
Last July, Owen Driskell (Deputy Training Programme Director HSST) talked with HSST trainees about how to construct the showcase that is part of the Independent Assessment of Professional Skills (IAPS).
Guidance on your training allowance
To support your Higher Specialist Scientist Training, a training allowance will be provided for each of the 5 years of the HSST programme. This training allowance is in addition to tuition fees for the DClinSci academic programme and will apply to both direct entry posts and to in-service entry posts.
For trainees in England HEE have increased the training allowance to £13,260 per commissioned trainee per year, for each of the 5 years of training.
We have not had confirmation that this increase applies to trainees in Wales or Northern Ireland.
Guidance for trainees about study time
Trainees will still need their 52 days per year as protected private study time throughout the programme. At the beginning of the programme, as soon as the teaching arrangements are known, trainees and supervisors should between them agree how sufficient time will be allocated for study bearing in mind:
- Study time should be available for completing academic work and e-portfolio activities.
- Trainees are expected to attend university where the mode of delivery and/or the curriculum requires it. The amount of time required may vary across universities.
- Any time required to attend university is in addition to the study time.
- Trainees should agree with their workplace supervisors the location of their study leave e.g. in the workplace or working from home. This could vary from week to week.
- Trainees and workplace supervisors should discuss and agree how to manage the 52 days per year study time, which can be taken flexibly; for example, as 1 day per week or as a block of time, if required, when preparing for exams.
Research project and abstract details
In order to support you and other HSSTs in the future with research projects, we have a digital platform to publicise and promote the incredible research being conducted by our HSSTs.
We are now requiring that all HSSTs whose Research Project Proposal or Extended Innovation Proposal has been accepted (and who have not previously sent us the details), complete the brief online form linked to below.
The form should only take 5-10 minutes to complete and information can be taken directly from your project proposal or abstract. Please also report on any publications or other significant outputs (such as presentations, grants/awards, changes to practice, links to research platforms or social media) that have arisen from your research project on this form. If you have previously submitted this form in 2020 but would like to update your project details and outputs, please also complete the online form below.
Appeal for assessors for the STP final assessment
We are looking to expand our pool of assessors for the STP final assessment ahead of the Summer 2023 IACC. We are committed to a diverse and inclusive approach to the recruitment to and assessment of the STP and would welcome applications from all appropriately qualified healthcare science specialties. This may be of particular interest if you are a recently qualified Clinical Scientist or professionally registered, with 2-3 years’ experience and looking to develop your skills and career. Training is provided ahead of the first assessment.
Information for supervisors
Call for recruitment of IAPS examiners
The Higher Specialist Science Training programme is a key programme for supporting the growing establishment of consultant-level healthcare scientist practice for the NHS.
Affirmation of this level of practice is an integral part of the HSST. Candidates on the HSST who are not obtaining the Fellowship of the Royal College of Pathologists (FRCPath) as part of their programme do an Independent Assessment of Professional Skills (IAPS). These are candidates in the bioinformatics, physical and physiological sciences.
Are you from these disciplines and interested in assessing at this higher level? We are looking for professionals of consultant-level to examine HSST candidates. We are currently looking for IAPS examiners for the following disciplines: Audiology, Cardiac Science, Clinical Bioinformatics Genomics, Imaging Physics, Neurophysiology, Radiotherapy Physics and Vascular Science. But if you are from any other HSST discipline from the bioinformatics, physical and physiological sciences this call is also for you as your turn will come.
What we are looking for in the IAPS examiners:
- An HCPC registered healthcare scientist or a specialist on the General Medical Council specialty register or other relevant professional regulatory register
- A member of their professional body, in good standing in the profession and can demonstrate substantial consultant level experience or equivalent
- Able to demonstrate awareness of the training standard required of the candidates
- Able to provide evidence to confirm that their employer and/or departmental colleagues agree to the examiner taking up this role and will facilitate the commitment required
- Able to demonstrate current and relevant professional development activities
- Required to demonstrate that they have maintained their Equality and Diversity training (certificate of mandatory training or other course taken within the last 3 years)
- Those recently retired individuals who are within 2 years of retirement may also be considered if they are able to provide evidence of maintaining their speciality knowledge up to date.
Contributing to this assessment is a contribution to a growing establishment of consultant-level healthcare scientist practice for the NHS for the benefit of NHS services and patients.
If you are interested, then please get in touch with the School firstname.lastname@example.org. If you know someone who would fit the description, then we ask that you encourage them to get in touch.
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.