This document outlines the processes by which the National School of Healthcare Science (the School) will assure and manage the review and confirmation of completion of all required elements of the Scientist Training Programme (STP). It outlines timescales, key activities and identifies stakeholders or other bodies, who have a role or influence on the management of this process.
This document outlines completion requirements for trainees who started in 2020 and will complete their STP in 2023. It also includes any trainees who have deferred/delayed their training but are still intending to complete in 2023. The document also highlights planned strategies for future trainees. These may be subject to review and updated as appropriate within the required timescales for the training.
The completion requirements have been revised to take account of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on training and therefore you should take note of the changes made specifically to the e-portfolio requirements. You should also note the requirement for sign off by a HCPC registered Clinical or Biomedical Scientist if either the specialist or rotation modules are not completed. No changes have been made to the requirements for the Masters in Clinical Science or to the final assessment, the Independent Assessment of Clinical Competence (IACC). Click this link for a summary of the changes made to completion.
The School is responsible for issuing a Certificate of Completion for the Scientist Training Programme (CCSTP). The certificate confirms that you have met all the relevant mandatory completion criteria for the programme and that you are fit to practice. The School is the education provider for STP therefore issuing the CCSTP will also mean that you are eligible to apply directly to the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) for registration as a Clinical Scientist.
Completion criteria for the STP for 2023
There are four key completion requirements for the STP
- Completion of the work-based assessments and competences on the e-portfolio.
- Successful completion of the Independent Assessment of Clinical Competence (IACC).
- Successful completion of the Masters (MSc) in Clinical Science.
- A declaration by a HCPC registered Clinical or Biomedical Scientist of your scientific specialty competence if the specialist or rotation modules are not completed on the e-portfolio.
The requirements for each of these are explained in more detail below.
Completion of work-based assessments and competences on the e-portfolio
You are required to provide evidence that you have completed the assessments and competences, as outlined in the curriculum and e-portfolio. Links and further information is available below.
The assessment tools used for the STP include:
- Case Based Discussions (CBDs)
- Observed Clinical Events (OCEs)
- Direct Observation of Practical Skills (DOPS)
- Multi Source Feedback (MSF)
For 2023 the requirements for the completion of the e-portfolio have been adjusted to take account of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on training which as a minimum require:
- 100% completion of the competencies in the module ‘SCC110: Introduction to Healthcare Science, Professional Practice and Clinical Leadership’ module.
- Two MSF exercises, completed on Agilio (formerly Clarity), uploaded and signed off on OneFile.
- 100% completion of the competencies and workplace assessments within the rotation module or modules most closely associated to the specialty. Click this link for details of the rotations required per specialty.
To enable you to complete as scheduled, completion of the elective module is optional.
In a change to requirements for 2020 and 2021, but in alignment with 2022 requirements, to achieve completion, you will be permitted to complete less than 100% of the rotational modules provided you have as a minimum completed the module or modules most closely associated with your specialty. This decision has been taken to support those who were impacted during their first year by the pandemic and have had difficulties accessing or completing all of the rotations. By permitting less than 100% completion of the rotations the intention is to ensure that you and your training departments have sufficient time to focus on the specialist training. This option however is seen as a minimum requirement and you are expected to complete as much of your specialist and rotation competencies and assessments as possible.
Click this link for details of the rotations required per specialty. There are particular requirements for Clinical Pharmaceutical Science, Clinical Microbiology and Clinical Bioinformatics – Physical Sciences. For 2023, Clinical Measurement and Development has been added to this list as a specialty with particular requirements for completion of the rotations. These decisions have been determined and supported by the profession.
If you are unable to complete all of the rotations, sign-off for clinical competence from a HCPC registered Clinical or Biomedical Scientist will be required.
For the specialist competencies and assessments, you are expected to complete 100%. If this is not achievable, you can still complete the programme as satisfactory completion will be determined through the requirement to attain sign off for clinical competence from a HCPC registered Clinical or Biomedical Scientist as outlined below.
You are expected to complete as much of your portfolio as possible, and it is recognised that in many departments you and your Training Officers are now in a position to facilitate completion of all competencies. The alternative pathways to completion should be by exception when you are unable to access specific competencies during your training, or where completion of the rotations would be at the expense of specialist training. Any competencies or assessments that cannot be completed MUST be discussed and agreed with your Training Officer, including providing evidence to satisfy them that lack of completion is due to COVID-19. Click this link for options for routes to completion of the e-portfolio.
The e-portfolio completion timescales
The deadline for completion of the e-portfolio for trainees completing in 2023 remains unchanged and is 5.00pm Monday 18th September 2023. By that time, the completion requirements must have been met. Assessments or competencies that have been submitted but not reviewed or assessed are still classed as ‘in progress’ and will not be counted as complete.
The School reviews the e-portfolio account of each trainee to determine if the above criteria have been met. The status of each account will be confirmed by senior managers within the School.
- A ‘completed’ account will have met the completion requirements.
- If the account is ‘incomplete’, a review process with you and your Training Officer will be undertaken.
On the e-portfolio completion deadline date, all accounts will be suspended so that the School can complete its review. You will still be able to view and download your portfolio during this period but will not be able to edit it.
E-portfolio completion exceptions
You must remember that it is your responsibility to monitor and manage completion of your work-based assessments and competences. If you believe that you will not finish your e-portfolio by the completion deadline, taking into account the revised completion criteria, you should speak to your Training Officer, notify the School and seek a formal extension if you have grounds to do so. This is done using the Exceptional Extenuating Circumstances policy.
Any request for an extension must be received by Friday 25th August 2023 and will require the submission of appropriate supporting evidence, including the formal approval of your Training Officer or appropriate representative from your employer. Approval for an extension is awarded at the discretion of the School’s Training Management Panel. Click this link for details of the dates of the panel and the deadline for submission of applications.
You should be aware that an extension of training time, for the purpose of completing work-based assessments and competences, will not automatically include an extension of funding and/or contract of employment. This must be discussed and agreed with both your employer and the organisation responsible for funding your training.
If you are not granted an e-portfolio completion extension and do not complete your work-based assessments and competences by the completion date you will have failed this mandatory component of the STP and will not be eligible to receive your CCSTP.
The Independent Assessment of Clinical Competence (IACC) is the summative exit assessment for the STP. You will be required to achieve a pass in this assessment. Further details and guidance will be made available separately via email and the School website. Further information and links are available below.
If you have exceptional circumstances relating to the IACC, these will be considered under the policies and processes for this assessment. Requests to defer the IACC with an extension of time or funding can be made via the EEC policy otherwise the School’s assessment team should be contacted at NSHCS.firstname.lastname@example.org. You will only be considered for the CCSTP when you are at a point to successfully exit the programme.
Should you not pass the IACC, having exhausted all resit opportunities, you will have failed the training overall and will not be eligible to receive the CCSTP.
Master’s in Clinical Science
You are required to successfully pass the MSc in Clinical Science to receive your CCSTP. Outcome data for trainees due to complete is requested by the School from all Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) delivering the MSc.
If you have exceptional circumstances relating to the MSc they will be considered under the policies and processes set out by the HEIs. You will only be considered for the CCSTP when you are at a point to successfully exit the programme.
Should you not receive a pass, and all resit opportunities available have been exhausted, you will have failed the training overall and will not be eligible to receive the CCSTP.
You will be subject to the requirements set out by the individual HEI in completing the MSc in Clinical Science and according to the curriculum set for the programme for your specialty.
Declaration by a HCPC registered scientist (Clinical or Biomedical)
To reflect the overall changes applied to completion of the STP in 2023, it has been necessary to retain the requirement to provide sufficient assurance of your fitness to practice which meets the standards set by the HCPC.
If you are unable to complete the specialist or rotational modules on your e-portfolio, the signature of a HCPC registered Clinical or Biomedical Scientist will be needed because the STP confers eligibility for entry to the HCPC statutory register for Clinical Scientists.
If you do not have immediate access to a registered Clinical or Biomedical Scientist through your Training Officer, they will be able to follow a process of providing a counter signature from someone who holds professional registration from a HCPC registered Clinical or Biomedical Scientist within the same organisation.
Details of the mechanism for providing the sign off and, if necessary, countersignature will be communicated nearer the time of programme completion.
The School’s process for issuing the CCSTP is separate to any registration processes managed by the HCPC. Once the School has confirmed completion, data will be sent to the HCPC and you will be able to apply to register as a Clinical Scientist. You should allow at least 10 working days before submitting your application to give HCPC time to update their systems.
You should be aware that data including your title, full name, address, contact details, nationality and date of birth will be shared between the School and the HCPC to facilitate these processes. You may opt out of sharing this data however you will not be able to register with the HCPC if you do.
If you successfully complete the mandatory requirements of the STP you will receive a confirmation of completion email from the week commencing 25th September 2023. The hard copy CCSTP will be sent, as soon as possible, to the address provided by you following completion of the data audit. However, this may be up to 4 – 6 weeks later. Availability of hard copy certificates will be dependent on the national restrictions relating to the pandemic in place at the time of completion however, electronic copies will be made available if hard copies cannot be provided.
If you are eligible to resit the IACC, have an extension to your MSc or have approved exceptions, the CCSTP will be awarded when the completion criteria have been met in full. Therefore, timescales may vary significantly for individual trainees.
For future trainees it is anticipated that similar timescales will be followed, and the electronic CCSTP will be awarded, to the majority of trainees, towards the end of September or early October.
You must make sure that you provide the School with up to date personal and contact information, as well as any mandatory data required, so that the HCPC registration processes can be completed. This will also guarantee that you receive your CCSTP.
Towards the end of your training, or at the point at which your extension ends, you will be asked to complete an online questionnaire which provides baseline data to process your completion. The School will also request ‘destination’ information such as future employment or training arrangements. This information will go towards informing the outcomes of the programme and will also give you an opportunity to feedback to the School on your experiences through an anonymous exit survey.
You will receive notification of completion from the School via email. Your certificate will be sent to your home address, unless we have been notified of a preferred alternative or unless we are unable to provide hard copy certificates due to any restrictions relating to the pandemic. To ensure the School has the correct contact information, you must make sure that you complete the data audit.
The School will share the outcome of the training with the HCPC so that applications for registration as Clinical Scientists can be submitted.
Links and further information
- Summary of key changes to STP Completion 2023 following COVID-19 pandemic
- Required rotations per specialty for STP Completion 2023
- Routes to completion of the OneFile e-portfolio 2023
- STP Completion dates
- Exceptional Extenuating Circumstances Policy for Training and Application Form
- IACC and Assessment information – email:NSHCS.email@example.com
- STP Completion information
- Curriculum Library
- MSc programmes – trainees should refer to the relevant university website
- Certificate of Completion STP – email NSHCS@hee.nhs.uk with any queries regarding the Certificate of Completion
- Registration with the HCPC – for queries regarding registration as a clinical scientist on the full register, please visit the HCPC website