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Key messages from the Academy Board

The Academy Board met on 6 Oct 2014.  This page sets out the key messages to AHCS Stakeholders from that Board meeting.


Board Configuration

Sir Duncan Nichol, Chairman
Ms Janet Monkman, Chief Executive
Dr Kerry Tinkler, Executive Director of Professional Standards
Dr Archie Prentice, President, Royal College of Pathologists, Non-Executive Director
Mr Geoff Lester, ACB/FCS Representative to NHS Staff Council, Non-Executive Director
Professor Tony Fisher, Consultant Clinical Scientist, Non-Executive Director
Mr John Stevens, Non-Executive Director
Ms Lynne Smith, Clinical Manager (GI Clinical Physiologist), Non-Executive Director

Apologies; Mr William Brassington, President of BAA, Consultant Audiologist, Non-Executive Director


Chief Executive’s Report

Ms Monkman presented an overview of the Academy for Healthcare Science. She confirmed the organisation’s vision, objectives and strategic aims and detailed progress made to date. The presentation served as part of an induction process for new Board members.

Report on Governance and Scrutiny

Mr Stevens presented a paper following the meetings of the governance and Scrutiny Committee and confirmed that funding has been received from HEE for this year’s grant, however the work on iCEPPS has not yet been funded for this year and a bid is with NHS England.

The investment in development of the register and equivalence has been greater than initially expected. Whilst take up of equivalence is lower than expected it should be noted that the equivalence work should break even once the development phase is completed.

The finances for the company are being re-forecast and actions are already in place to enable priorities to be met and statutory duties to be achieved.

The Board formally approved the year end accounts.


Update from the Director of Professional Standards

The Board noted the current activities of the Academy in relation to accreditation of services in particular, the current status of the iCEPSS project. This is important to ensure high quality, fit for purpose patient services. Government has recently re-iterated that standards should not be developed without the input of UKAS. The Accreditation Alliance is exploring the opportunity to bring together a number of service specific accreditation standards with links to certification standards. The Department of Health business plan 2013/14 and 2015/16 states that 70% of Healthcare Science services will be engaged with an accreditation standard by March 2015.

iCEPSS Standards and Criteria are currently out for public consultation until 14th November after which a further review will be undertaken.

The Board was updated on current activities in relation to equivalence, focussing on Scientific Training Programme (STP) equivalence:

The England and Wales pilots are complete.

The Scottish equivalence early implementers are ongoing

The IT system is fully functioning and by Friday, 10th October, the system will be open to all STP applications.

Dr Tinkler also gave an update on the ongoing work to create the Higher Specialist Scientist Register (HSSR) including equivalence, the purpose of the HSSR, entry routes and criteria for entry, equivalence, re-registration/revalidation and the Academy’s relationship with HCPC and PSA.


Quality Assurance Framework

The Academy’s draft Quality Assurance Framework received a very helpful critique from both the National School of Healthcare Science and Health Education England. Comments received were taken on board and a revised draft submitted to the AHCS Education, Training and Professional Standards Committee. Final amendments were incorporated prior to publication of the Framework on 29 Aug 2014.

The Framework describes Quality Assurance Roles and Responsibilities at 3 levels:

Level 1: Quality Assurance of the whole system, carried out by the Academy for Healthcare Science

Level 2: Quality Management carried out by the Lead LETB for Healthcare Science (Health Education West Midlands), via the National School of Healthcare Science and the National Commissioner for Healthcare Science education

Level 3: Quality Control carried out by education and training providers in conjunction with employers.


Assistants and Associates

The HEE resourcing for Assistant and Associate work has allowed the Academy to bring in a project manager to start on scoping the 2-4 /Assistant Associate work and attend meetings and contribute to the enabling IT infrastructure.

Once HEE /MSC have clarified the details of the proposals for this section of the workforce, the Academy will be able to determine precisely what arrangements it will have to put in place and what implementation will require. The AHCS will then be able to determine the resourcing requirements for implementation.

A short term opportunity that would provide a potential interim arrangement would be the establishment of a directory. This would enable the Academy to start to promote the idea and develop a database fairly quickly. The project manager will be looking to see how effectively this solution could be delivered to help mitigate any financial risk.

The final route will depend on the outcome of the HEE work around the development of the Assistants and Associates framework.

The Academy through the Registrar recognises the need to ensure this work does not interfere with current work on the PTP Register. In addition advice will be sought from the PSA to ensure the best way forward.


One Voice

Ms Monkman presented a paper which detailed the various strands of the work programme within the Academy to deliver the strategic objectives of working alongside professional bodies, and facilitate the profession to speak with one clear voice for Healthcare Science.

This paper set out the structures that have been established, engagement that has taken place and four identified priorities for work:

  • Identifying the benefits of realising professionals to participate in professional body activity
  • Securing dedicated time/funding for CPPD
  • Highlighting the role and value of organisational lead scientists
  • Developing a route for senior scientists into director and non-executive board posts.

This paper also detailed the progress made to date for holding the first AHCS Congress meeting, set for 8th and 9th December. The overarching theme of the Congress is “Passionate for patients, passionate about science”. It will highlight the key activities of AHCS focussing on reputation, regulation and recognition.

In the year of the centenary of the start of World War 1, the Congress programme will include presentations to celebrate scientific and technological innovations which enable service personnel to live their lives to the full on their return from combat, and celebrate how science in healthcare has improved the quality of all our lives.

The Board also discussed this work in light of the funding and resource required going forward, it was recognised that the work identified through the stakeholder routes is relevant and should be seen as core business. Advice from the board suggested that there were other areas that also would command a high profile and politically were very relevant an example was given relating to workforce numbers and terms and conditions. The Board asked for the paper relating to ongoing resourcing to have further work undertaken around the proposal. Chairman and chief executive to discuss the actions needed.


Regulation Council

The Registrar, Dr Tinkler provided an overview of the work which is ongoing in relation to the Regulation Council and registration. This included a briefing around the Regulation Council which has now met twice. The Interim Chair is Dr Pat Oakley.

The board were also brought up to date on the application to the PSA for accreditation of the Academy Register in that our bid having been submitted, will see autumn as a time of PSA follow-up, with interviews of key Academy staff. The Academy should know by December 2014 whether or not its application has been successful.

Information with regard to the Cluster model/Transfer of Registers to the Academy was outlined to board. Specific detail with regard to the VRC register transfer was highlighted. Board members were reminded it is not our goal to compete with HCPC; where protected titles already exist then it is right and proper for statutory regulation to prevail. Unfortunately however, most of the Healthcare Science workforce is not eligible to apply to be statutorily registered. PSA accreditation of the Academy’s Register would be a significant step in the right direction and would facilitate any future transition to the statutory regulation for all that is our long-term aim (reflected in our Statement of Intent and Business Plan).



The Board were briefed that now the Academy Register is live, anyone achieving PTP Equivalence is eligible to apply to join the Register via this route. Arrangements for PTP Equivalence have now been developed and those successfully achieving the Certificate of Equivalence will be eligible to apply to the Practitioner part of the register.

An arrangement for equivalence to the cluster parts of the register has also been developed. A Certificate of Competence (CoC) assessment will be carried out, those successfully achieving a CoC will be eligible to apply to the appropriate part of the Academy register e.g. tissue bank technologists.

Administrative arrangements have been put in place in conjunction with

EBS in Lichfield to facilitate this. EBS has extensive experience of managing registers.

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