August 2016 edition
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School news

Trainee news

Healthcare science news

Welcome to another issue of our e-bulletin
It has been a busy time at the School. Recruitment for the Scientist Training Programme (STP) and for Higher Specialist Scientific Training (HSST) is now complete, with more than 380 new trainees joining these programmes. Congratulations to all the new trainees who are due to start in September. 

The Objective Structured Final Assessments (OSFAs) have also been completed. It is good to see yet another group of talented trainees get ready to complete their training and start a new chapter as clinical scientists. We encourage all the third year STP trainees to be aware of their key deadlines to ensure they are issued with a Certificate of Completion of the STP.

We are pleased to report that STP training departments can now access our new STP Helpbook for Training Centres. I would encourage you to refer to it throughout the training; it is also particularly useful for those departments who have new trainees starting in September. 

We run an annual exit survey for trainees graduating from the programme, and their training officers. A comparison of results of the last two surveys for the 2011 and 2012 cohorts has recently been compiled. When you read the Summary Report you will see that overall, the expectations of the training programmes improved over time across the two cohorts.

The experiences of the first two cohorts to undergo these new programmes has been very helpful, and we have identified some key outcomes in a form of ‘You Said We Will’. Our aim is to ensure that the training programmes continue to develop over time as they become more established and embedded. Members of the School, along with trainees, training officers and all our stakeholders are committed to ensuring continual improvement. The next survey will be issued to the 2013 cohort of trainees and training officers in early August, and we look forward to getting your feedback. 

On a personal note, I have now notified Health Education England and the Chief Scientific Officer for NHS England of my intention to step down as Head of School from November this year. I have been privileged to work with so many talented individuals within the School, the NHS Trusts, universities and professional bodies. However, after 38 years’ service, it is time for me to retire. We will continue to keep you informed with any updates.  

Dr Chris Gibson, Head of School


2016 has seen another successful round of STP and HSST recruitment. For STP, 866 interviews took place in just under three weeks for 310 posts (264 direct entry posts and 46 in service posts recruited to). HSST interviews took place in May with what should be 71 new HSST entrants joining the programme in September 2016.
Competition for STP was fierce with approximately 22 applicants to every STP post applying. Genomics (formerly genetics) was an incredibly popular specialism with at least 450 applicants ranking this as their first choice of specialism. This was followed by clinical biochemistry with 396 applicants ranking this as their first choice of specialism. Universities appeared to be the most popular source of referral to the STP. This was followed by Health Careers.

Induction days will be held on 14 September at Aston Villa FC for STP trainees, and 3 October at Birmingham City FC for HSST trainees. 

Education and Assessment

Trainees graduating this year are reminded that the deadline for completion of the OLAT is Monday 19 September at 5pm. Failure to complete the OLAT account by the required deadline will mean that the trainee is not eligible to receive the Certificate of Completion for the Scientist Training Programme. 

We understand that there may be occasions whereby completion of the OLAT account by the required deadline may not be achievable due to circumstances outside of the trainees’ control. Trainees and training departments are invited to notify us of such exceptional circumstances at any point during the training but no later than one month prior to the end of the programme.
Further information and guidance is available. 

Annual Review of Progression

A formative trial of the Annual Review of Progression (ARP) is underway for all HSST trainees. Read more

OSFAs 2016

The team has just delivered another round of OSFAs at the Royal College of General Practitioners in London. We welcomed 264 trainees across 27 different specialisms and used 236 unique stations.
Thank you to all station writers and assessors for their contributions to the 2016 live OSFAs. We are also grateful to all the companies who loaned their equipment for use during the OSFA. 

Following ratification by exam boards, OSFA results have now been released to trainees. Resits will be held at the end of September. 
STP Train the Trainer event

Read all about our latest training day and take a look through the talks. Read more

Thinking of what to do for your elective?

The Genomics Education Programme are offering elective rotation opportunities to STP trainees with an interest in education and genomics. The team can support electives that involve the development of discrete educational resources or more general awareness of education delivery.  Trainees from all specialisms are welcome. Find out more or email

Education and Assessment team share OSFA analysis at the Birmingham Conference

The School’s Education and Assessment team delivered three papers on the OSFA to academics and health education practitioners at the Birmingham Conference on 19 May. Read more

New and forthcoming developments on the OLAT - Correction

In the last issue there was an error in the above titled article. When referring the introduction of a 'single sign on' facility for users with multiple roles one of the areas to develop and implement was:
•    A revised workflow around the acceptance of competencies to make it harder for trainees to inadvertently accept competencies 'returned' as unsatisfactory (not ‘satisfactory’ as stated in the previous article). 


STP Helpbook for Training Centres now online

Helpful advice and resource for STP trainers. Read more

NSHCS accredited by the Higher Education Statistics Agency

School's accreditation has been recognised as a new accreditation award. Read more

Academy for Healthcare Science fellowship awards

Our Programme Director, Angela Daly, Head of School, Chris Gibson, and former Head of School and now Scientific Adviser, Val Davison attended the Academy for Healthcare Science fellowship awards on a very sunny day at the House of Lords.
Chris and Val were named as fellows along with many colleagues across healthcare science.

Your chance to name the e-bulletin

We’ve decided it’s time our e-bulletin had a name and would like give you the opportunity to choose one for it. So put on your creative thinking hats and send your ideas to

Education and training in the spotlight at Focus 2016

The School presents at the Association for Clinical Biochemistry and Laboratory Medicine conference. Read more

Share your real life stories of healthcare science

Help to inspire a new generation by telling us your healthcare science story. Read more

Obtain funding for part-time MSc Genomic Medicine

HEE is encouraging all those who wish to study the master's degree on a part time basis in this academic year to complete their application for funding as soon as possible. Read more

New Whole Genome Sequencing course to start in September

This September, the Genomics Education Programme will be exploring whole genome sequencing in the first of Health Education England’s free online courses. The course, launching on 19 September, has been developed to give learners an insight into how whole genome sequencing works as well as its uses within healthcare. Participants will learn more about the processes of sequencing the genome and interpreting results for patients through real life case studies.

The course will run across three weeks, separated into ‘The Fundamentals of Genomics’, ‘Sequencing the Genome’ and ‘Application in Healthcare’. 

Enrolment is open to anyone who is keen to learn more about how the technology works and its potential to benefit patients. For more information or to enrol please visit:

Trainee news

Portsmouth Hospitals Healthcare Science Conference 2016

Sam Barnes (Radiotherapy Physics Trainee) reports back from the conference. Read more

What is Higher Specialist Scientist Training and why am I doing it?

Are you interested in the Higher Specialist Scientific Training? Read Lowri Hughes’s blog originally produced for NHS Employers.

STP webinars

Do you have a good idea for a webinar?

Webinars are increasingly being used for training in all disciplines, and are already being widely used in HSST training. We are looking for ideas for webinar topics for STP training. The only requirement is that it would be applicable to a range of STP disciplines, and would benefit your training. If you have any ideas or suggestions, please email

PTP trainee wins patient safety award

Congratulations to PTP trainee Theo Town recently received the ‘Good Catch for Patient Safety Award’. Read more 

Praise for healthcare scientists at Oxford University Hospitals

STP trainees help to demonstrate the variety of work being carried out by healthcare scientists within the hospitals. Read more

A roundup of the West Midlands Regional Trainee Network events

Find out what has been happening in the West Midlands. Read more

East of England Inter-Disciplinary Cases Workshop a success

Co-Chairs of the East of England Trainee Network talk about their successful workshop. Read more

Introducing the Wales Healthcare Science Trainee Network

For all healthcare scientists across all disciplines. Read more

Inspiring young minds at Big Bang Fair - south west

Activities to engage 11 to 17 years old to take STEM subjects and to think about a career in the NHS. Read more

Healthcare science news

Young people get a taste of healthcare science thanks to films by Birmingham and West Sandwell

Local schools receive healthcare science films to help students with their career choices. Read more

Healthcare scientists named best exhibitors

Congratulations to healthcare scientists from Oxford Universities NHS Foundation Trust who scooped an award at the Buck Skills Show for the best exhibitor showcasing the role of scientists in the NHS and the careers available.

Chromosome pairing, DNA sequencing changes, ultrasound scanning, newborn UV therapy, Radiotherapy, Device management and rehabilitation engineering were all on show, in a fun and interactive way.


Healthcare scientists take diagnostic services out of secondary care to patients with learning disabilities 

Dr Martin Myers, Consultant Clinical Biochemist, Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and his Pathology team have been taking the latest technology in diagnostics ‘lab in a box’ out to patients away from traditional settings to transform the care and support they receive.

They were recently involved in organising a Health Day at Chorley hospital which welcomed 100 patients with learning difficulties to come and meet health professionals in a fun and interactive environment. Take a look at their film

If you want to hear more about this exciting and innovative approach email

Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) fellowship scheme announces its winners

Find out who are the first recipients of this fellowship scheme. Read more

MBE for Angela Douglas

Congratulations to Angela Douglas, Scientific Director, Cheshire and Merseyside Genetics Service who has been awarded an MBE as part of the Birthday Honours for the Queen. Angela’s MBE is for services to research and student mentoring

The future of personalised and genomic medicine - diagnosis, workforce development and early indications from the 100,000 Genomes Project

Find out more about this event

Health and Care Innovation Expo 2016

Health and Care Innovation Expo 2016 will return to Manchester Central on 7 and 8 September 2016.

The NHS you’ll see at Expo is a forward-thinking organisation, staffed by clinicians and managers who welcome innovations in technology and information because they recognise the difference this will make to their patients’ lives.

Visit the Expo 2016 website for full details.

Online courses in health care systems engineering

Further details are available about these free courses and case studies that are open to healthcare science professionals. Read more

BAA Trent Regional Study Day 2016

BAA Trent Regional Study Day 2016 Read more
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