HSST Monthly Memo (July 2022)

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

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HSST Monthly Memo 2022
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Message from your HSST Training Programme Director

Dr Lisa Ayers and Dr Owen Driskell

This month’s introduction is from Dr Owen Driskell.

It is a hello again from me this month with some news. I have made the move from the National Institute for Health and Care Research to the National School of Healthcare Science permanent. I am honoured to take up the post of Deputy Training Programme Director for the Higher Specialist Scientist Training Programme. I will be working with Lisa, colleagues at the school, universities and you to continue the progress this programme is making towards cementing the role of Consultant Healthcare Scientists in healthcare services for the benefit of patients.

During my time as acting Training Programme Director for the HSST, my appreciation of the importance of this programme to the community of healthcare science has grown. I have become a passionate advocate for HSST and have been privileged to have worked with some outstanding scientists and colleagues, both within the school and out in healthcare services and universities, in its delivery. My background is as a Clinical Biochemist but my understanding of the different disciplines and sectors has developed, as has my intrigue, and I look forward to continuing this learning journey.

This month’s memo includes a notification about the COVID interruption process ending, a podcast explaining information around HSST completion and again highlights support for mental health and wellbeing for all learners on our programmes.

There is also a nod to the portal for the Expressions of Interest for 2023 cohorts being open and our Train the Trainer events.


Information for trainees

COVID interruption process ending

Since April 2020 we have offered a Covid interruption process through which you were able to apply for an unfunded interruption to training as a direct result of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Following a review of the process and a reduced rate of applications we have taken the decision to withdraw the Covid interruption process from the end of August 2022 (the end of the academic year). We wanted to give you advanced notice so you can review your current progress, determine if you have or are currently being impacted by Covid in accordance with the criteria and to give you some time to submit an application before the process closes.

You will continue to have the option to apply for changes to your training (extensions, step-offs and deferrals) via the Exceptional Extenuating Circumstances (EEC) process where you meet the criteria in the policy.

Click here to view information about applications for interruption to training due to COVID-19 Pandemic (Expired link)

Completion podcast

This podcast features Louise Ayers, Head of Programme Support at the School and Lisa Ayers, Training Programme Director for the HSST.

Lisa and Louise talk about the elements and activities that HSST trainees should be aware of and working towards in order to complete the programme.

Click here to listen to this podcast and make sure you are on track for completing the HSST

Supporting your mental health and wellbeing

Mental health, for most people, is something that fluctuates throughout their life. In fact 1 in 6 people in England report experiencing a common mental health problem, such as anxiety and depression, in any given week. A degree of stigma still exists around mental ill health and learners in the NHS, like anyone else, may often be scared or reluctant to to talk about any mental health problems they may be having. It is important that those experiencing mental ill health know they can talk about it and receive help if they need it.

Click here to find resources to help support your mental health and wellbeing


Information for supervisors

Expressions of Interest for 2023 cohort now open

We are pleased to announce that the portal for Expressions of Interest (EOI) for the 2023 Higher Specialist Scientist Training Programme cohort opened on the 1st July and will close on the 15th September 2022.

In previous years we have had additional requests for more EOIs to meet the demand. However, we do not anticipate there being further rounds of requests. Once the portal closes, panels will review the expressions and submit supported requests for funding. The process will allow recruitment to begin in a timely manner, with confirmation of support and funding arriving sooner, allowing your organisations to prepare for the intake of trainees.

We encourage you to submit your EOIs whilst the portal is open.

Click here for the HSST Expression of Interest portal

Train the Trainer events

Are you interested in attending a series of Train the Trainer events?

​​​​​​​Click here to register your interest in attending


​​​​​​​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 (2022)