Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust: implementing MSC


02 / 12 / 2010

SHA region

NHS South West


Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust provides acute and secondary care across three main sites to around 450,000 people in Plymouth, North and East Cornwall and South and West Devon.

It is the largest hospital in the South West peninsula with over 6,500 employees. The trust also has a Ministry of Defence Hospital Unit with approximately 220 military staff who work within a variety of posts from lead doctors to trainee medical assistants.

What we did and why

The trust wanted to begin fully integrating MSC throughout ensuring that all healthcare scientists are regulated with a clear education and training pathway at every stage of their career.

The proposed outcome is to develop a clear career framework for all healthcare scientists from bands one to nine that is underpinned by regulated education and training at each stage, which allows career progression whilst ensuring that the trust has a healthcare science workforce that can provide the level of service required.

The project board then developed work programmes, which are aligned to the high level work streams as set out by the Department of Health’s MSC team. Project groups for each work programme were identified, enabling the work to be carried out but also recognising individuals' busy workloads.

Initially, the trust set up a project board with executive-level representation to ensure that the project had a voice within the executive team at the trust. Other members of the board were selected from various disciplines including clinical professions and HR.

The trust applied to the Department of Health to become an early innovator and implementer. A project manager was identified who facilitated the establishment of the project group.

A project management approach was applied and an A3 project plan drawn up to track critical dates, high level actions, a risks log and project issues log.

The first significant piece of work that was undertaken by the project board was to complete a baseline breakdown of all healthcare science staff within the trust and define which roles are to be included in this professional group. 432.72 working time equivalent staff were identified.

The first, and probably most crucial, piece of work that was undertaken was an analysis of the trust’s existing healthcare science workforce.

The work streams were identified and project groups set up to facilitate each of these.

Each member of the project board took responsibility for the leadership of one or more of the project groups who report back at regular board meetings. 

From the onset, it was identified that communication is key to the success of the project. It was decided that an open forum for all healthcare science staff should be introduced, with key local representatives giving short presentations and answering questions.

The results and next steps

The work streams are now up and running and certain work streams are being identified as potential pilot schemes within the trust, such as neurophysiology.

The project manager attends monthly early innovator and implementer site network meetings in London where colleagues across the country share progress, focus on specific issues and plan how to communicate and share learning. These meetings are essential for the further development of this project.

Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust is beginning to share information about the work being undertaken and is encouraging engagement from both clinical and non-clinical leads.

  • Set up a director-level project board that is able to report directly to the trust board and has the credibility to report directly to the healthcare science workforce. 
  • Create individual project groups for each work stream to lessen the workload for individuals.
  • Ensure quality two-way communication with healthcare science staff.
  • Consider holding an open staff forum meeting in the early stages.
  • A breakdown of the baseline description of healthcare science staff groups within the organisation is necessary as early in the process as possible.
  • Communication is key – if you don’t keep people informed on what is happening, they will fill in the blanks and probably come to the wrong conclusions.

 for other trusts wanting to implement MSC.To date, the trust has identified the following tips

Contact details 01752 437043 or email Julie at Julie Richards, MSC Project Manager, onFor more information about this project, contact

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