Writing this blog after a six-month break and on a beautiful warm Spring day, the last day of March 2021. Today 30,905,538 people in the UK have received the first dose of a COVID vaccine and 4,108,536 people have received the second dose of a COVID vaccine, (including an old friend of mine just today). To say this is a fantastic achievement is an understatement, even when I wrote my last blog in October 2020, I- an eternal optimist- could not have predicted such a success.
Thank you to all those wonderful scientists around the world who made this possible. Thank you for choosing to study science at school, thank you for studying hard at university and choosing to undertake research into rare viruses that are dangerous and difficult to understand, thank you for competing for those elusive grants, thank you for persevering when your experiments went wrong time and time again, thank you for not giving up, but instead to have kept striving to overcome the interminable problems that you definitely encountered over the years, thank you for believing in the importance of your work when very few people in the world even knew what you were doing. You are wonderful and I and all HCS salute you.
While our gratitude goes to the research scientists above, it also goes in equal measure to all of you equally anonymous NHS scientists, who are my colleagues, for essentially the same reasons. You also took the time to study for many years in subjects that most people had never even heard of, never mind understood the critically important role they play in keeping them healthy. You and your families made sacrifices and eschewed more lucrative arenas of employment to work in healthcare because you were interested and wanted to do something that you felt was important and worthwhile. Thank you and I hope you are justifiably so proud of your professional choices – cos the rest of the country is very proud of you.
On a personal level, I am literally amazed that friends and family now not only can spell Immunology, but they happily chat to me about PCR tests and the nuances of antibodies over a “socially distanced” cup of coffee or on walks. Neighbours ask me about how many scientists work in our local hospital and how come they had not heard of them before? Every day, scientists are accorded the same status on news programmes as senior politicians and people listen to them carefully and treat their advice with respect and trust. COVID has changed public perception of scientists. We no longer occupy that dubious position of the “geeky boffin in the white coat” who uses big words and does clever stuff that yeah- it may be important, but nobody needs to try to understand it. All that has changed. In the public domain, science and scientists have come of age.”
In the rest of this month’s blog from our Head of School talks about:
- Black Lives Matter
- STP recruitment
- Apprentices in healthcare science
- Curricula review
- News from around the School and abroad
Celebrating healthcare scientists
Since our last School Report newsletter we have celebrated Healthcare Science Week 2021, International Day of Women and Girls in Science and National Apprenticeship Week.
Professor Berne Ferry, Head of the National School of Healthcare Science, said:
“Thank you to all of our fantastic Healthcare Scientists (and your families) who, despite all of you confronting challenging situations both in work and personally, continue to work tirelessly to help patients at this time.
While this pandemic has shown everyone in the country just what an invaluable and precious resource we have in our NHS; within the health service, the crucial immeasurably skilled work performed quietly every day by healthcare scientists across all patient pathways is at last being recognised. We will build on this recognition to continue to improve patient care and deliver a stronger and even more integrated healthcare science workforce for the future.”
Echocardiography Training Programme
The National School of Healthcare Science is delighted to announce that this year Health Education England will fund a second cohort of training posts for Echocardiographers, with an anticipated start date 1st October 2021. There will be 22 positions available this year, and we anticipate recruitment to open in May 2021.
The Echocardiography Training Programme (ETP) is an 18 month training programme that includes work-based and academic learning. Whilst on the programme trainees will complete a Post Graduate Certificate in Echocardiography and work towards British Society of Echocardiography Adult Transthoracic Accreditation.
Trainees will be employed at a local level by an NHS Trust in England on a fixed-term training contract at AfC Band 6. The programme is open to both in-service and external (direct entry) candidates and posts will be available nationally.
Topol Digital Fellowship cohort 2 begins
At the beginning of February the School began the delivery of the Topol Digital Fellowship Programme for the second cohort of fellows.
Cohort 2 is comprised of 34 fellows from across the healthcare professional spectrum. The 12-month programme funds employers to protect time for the fellows to work for two days per week on a digital health initiative in their workplace. In addition, fellows participate in a workshop programme that leads them through a person-centred model of digital product and service development. The School is delighted to have partnered with colleagues from FutureGov to design and deliver the workshop programme, which is being conducted 100% online this year.
You can find out more about the new cohort of Digital Fellows and the problems they are working on, by viewing their new profile pages the Topol website.
We have also recently published a new retrospective set of profile pages for the fellows of cohort 1, which document each of the fellows’ achievements during, and reflections upon, their time as Digital Fellows.
We anticipate to be recruiting for a third cohort of Topol Digital Fellows in the autumn.
Launch of the Healthcare Science Innovation Fellowships Programme
In February the Healthcare Science Innovation Fellowships Programme welcomed the first cohort of Fellows.
The programme is a collaboration between the Office of the Chief Scientific Officer for NHS England and Improvement, Health Education England’s National School of Healthcare Science (NSHCS), and NIHR Devices for Dignity MedTech Co-operative (D4D) hosted by Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
Over 12 months, the programme will provide Fellows with experience of the innovation process, focusing on technologies to benefit cancer patients, equipping Fellows with the knowledge, skills, confidence and ability to initiate and lead their own technology innovation projects in the future.
Nominations now open for the CSO Healthcare Science Awards 2021
The Healthcare Science Awards, now in their 14th year, celebrate the tremendous contributions and achievements of the healthcare science workforce and the impact they have on patient outcomes, by championing inspiring case studies of quality improvement, innovative partnerships and pioneering service delivery.
The award categories are:
- Healthcare Scientist of the Year
- CSO Shirley Fletcher Apprenticeship Award
- Excellence in Healthcare Science
- Healthcare Science Rising Star
- Excellence in Healthcare Delivery
To participate in the nominations please email your completed award nomination form to firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday 16th April 2021.
Click here to find out more about the CSO Healthcare Science Awards 2021 (expired link)
STP curriculum review
We would like to express our thanks to all those who participated and contributed feedback in the STP Stakeholder Review.
Input from you is essential to help us develop a curriculum, that is patient-centred, scientifically relevant and current. We’re working with our Lead Editors on your feedback and comments to continue to draft the STP curricula for the next generation Clinical Scientists.
Click here to view the latest on the curriculum review (expired link)
NSHCS alumni community
Our alumni community brings together healthcare scientists who have completed the Practitioner Training Programme (PTP), the Scientist Training Programme (STP), and the Higher Specialist Scientist Training programme (HSST).
We would love to keep in touch with you and further support your development. We want to invite you to participate and be a registered NSHCS alumni member.
Consider becoming an STP Training Officer
Have you ever thought about becoming a training officer? It is important that you know what is expected of you and who is responsible for various aspects of the programme.
Come and work with us...
Job vacancy: Accreditation and Quality Manager
The post holder will be in a leadership role, developing and implementing Quality policy for healthcare science higher education and work-based training.
Job vacancy: STP Training Programme Directors
These new part-time (0.6 WTE) senior posts in the School are an exciting opportunity to take a regional leadership role for the STP for NHS healthcare scientists.