The Academy for Healthcare Science

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10 / 4 / 2014 Midday

The Academy for Healthcare Science (AHCS) brings together the UK's diverse and specialised scientific community who work across the health and social care system, including NHS trusts, NHS Blood and Transplant, Public Health England and independent healthcare organisations and the academic sector across the UK.

 

The Academy is approved by the Health and Care Professions Council to grant Certificates of Equivalence and Attainment, leading to eligibility for registration as a clinical scientist. Further information can be found in the section below on Certificates of Equivalence.

Background

The Academy was set up as a joint initiative between the UK Health Departments and the professional bodies for healthcare science. It brings together a diverse scientific community and is commissioned and funded by Health Education England  to undertake key projects which include:

  • Supporting the development of consistent regulation for the healthcare science workforce;
  • Establishing accredited voluntary registers;
  • Implementing a system to assess equivalence with the outcomes of formalised training programmes.

Certificates of Equivalence

The Academy has been given approval by the Health and Care Professions Council to grant Certificates of Equivalence and Attainment, to allow entry to and progression through the career framework without the need for unnecessary retraining.

In the context of education, training, qualifications and experience, equivalence is said to exist when the outcomes of two processes are directly comparable even though the paths to achieving them are different. To demonstrate equivalence an individual will need to provide evidence that they have the knowledge, skills and behaviours represented by the core standards in Good Scientific Practice and the relevant MSC curriculum outcomes.

Certificates of Equivalence are granted to applicants who have successfully completed the equivalence assessment process and who are able to demonstrate that they meet the outcomes of the Modernising Scientific Careers Scientist Training Programme. More information can be found on the Academy's website.

Equivalence for different groups across the career framework will begin at different times.  Guidance for applicants is currently being developed, which will include examples of the evidence which will be required and published on the Academy's website as soon as they become available. The fees for equivalence are still to be finalised but will be structured along a sliding scale for each level of equivalence to ensure that the process is accessible across the career framework.

Registration and regulation

The various stages and specialisms of the healthcare science workforce are regulated in different ways. Some parts of the workforce are regulated by law (statutory regulation) through registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). Other parts of the workforce take part in voluntary registration or employer-led regulation. For some parts of the workforce, regulation has yet to be put in place and the AHCS is working to fill this gap.

On the 19 January 2015, the Professional Standards Authority announced that the Academy has been awarded accreditation on its Accredited Registers Programme.  This is the first accredited register for the Healthcare Science workforce and means that all practitioners in the fields of life sciences, physiological sciences, bio-informatics, physical sciences and clinical engineering, that are registered with the Academy, can now display the accreditation quality mark issued by the PSA.

You can find out more about this in our latest news section and the accreditation of voluntary registers.

The Academy has published a timetable for the implementation of their voluntary practitioner register which can be found in its news section on their website. We will update this section as the work evolves.

The table below summarises how the Academy describes healthcare science regulation will look in the future:

Healthcare science role Type of regulation - statutory or voluntary
Assistant and associate Currently evolving but expected to be voluntary registration with the AHCS in collaboration with other voluntary registration organisations.
Healthcare science practitioner (following the PTP programme or equivalent - see equivalence info) Life sciences - Statutory regulation by the HCPC as a Biomedical Scientist (continuation of current regulation arrangements) Medical physics, clinical engineering and physiological sciences - Voluntary registration with the AHCS in collaboration with existing voluntary registration organisations.
Clinical scientist Statutory regulation as a Clinical Scientists by the HCPC following the Scientist Training Programme (STP) or equivalent.
Consultant clinical scientist Statutory regulation as a Clinical Scientist by the HCPC. Voluntary registration with the AHCS following higher specialist scientific training (HSST).

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