The healthcare science (HCS) workforce is an essential part of today's healthcare team, contributing to prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation.
With increasing financial pressures and a renewed focus on helping organisations to improve the quality of care, the healthcare science workforce can play a major role in helping employers to secure financial savings at the same time as increasing quality of care.
The Modernising Scientific Careers (MSC) programme provides an opportunity to refocus and re-energise the healthcare science workforce. MSC cannot be achieved by the healthcare science workforce alone; HR professionals have key skills which can be used to support workforce transformation, workforce profiling, planning and change management.
The benefits of MSC can only be fully realised if linked into wider workforce and service planning, and education commissioning.
The changing role of healthcare science in care delivery
The healthcare science workforce is formed of more than 60 specialisms employing around 52,000 staff in England, representing about five per cent of the total HCS workforce. It is split into four recognised divisions: life sciences, physiological sciences, physical sciences and engineering and bio-informatics.
Changes and innovations in technology and the landscape of the NHS needs the healthcare science workforce to adapt and adopt new knowledge and skills. This presents opportunities and is resulting in new roles and services. For example:
- automated processes require different skills to monitor and operate new processes which could free up the time of specialist staff to focus on other activities
- the ability to monitor certain conditions remotely and for patients to play a key role in monitoring and managing their own conditions, changing where and how care is delivered
- advances in science are resulting in more complex tests and procedures, which require greater expertise to carry out and interpret.
To find out about the many careers in healthcare science, visit the NHS Careers website
Modernising Scientific Careers
Modernising Scientific Careers (MSC) is ensuring that the HCS workforce is equipped to meet the challenges and opportunities of future care delivery. Introduced back in 2008, it addresses some of the historic difficulties that faced the workforce in terms of education and training, skill mix and workforce planning. In 2010, Modernising Scientific Careers: The UK Way Forward detailed the strategy for improving the education and training of the workforce.
In response to the MSC programme, we guide you through the education and training arrangements, registration and regulation of this part of the workforce, and provide resources which have been designed to help employers with local implementation. If have any questions, our briefing document Healthcare Science Education and Training: Explaining the Facts provides up to date information including the background, stages of implementation and key contacts.
You can also access a suite of shared learning examples which demonstrate how MSC is enabling the healthcare science workforce to realise the benefits of advances in science and technology and the impact this is having on service delivery and patient care.