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Blog from STP Equivalence Lay Assessor, Yvonne Mackenzie

Yvonne Mackenzie supports the Academy as a Lay Assessor and as a member of the HCS Registration Council. The work of our Assessors is crucial to the smooth running of the Equivalence process. The operation and governance of the Academy’s Register is overseen by the HCS Registration Council which is independently chaired and operates at arms-length from the Academy.


In 2016, I was invited to become a lay assessor for the Academy’s Scientist Training Programme Equivalence (STPE) route, as it was felt that my work with the Patient and Public Involvement in Health (PPI) Forums, together with relevant work experience both in industry and the wider community and qualifications enabled me to make balanced and informed assessment judgements. The PPI Forums gave the patients, carers and the public a voice whereby they could communicate healthcare issues effectively to the appropriate healthcare organisation. I have always actively fought for the patient to have an effective voice and so I was delighted to be asked to be involved in the ensuring that that consideration of the patient really was at the centre of the Equivalence assessment process.


The last part of the STP Equivalence assessment process is conducted as a virtual face-to-face interview with the candidate and the assessment Panel which normally comprises two professional assessors one of which is from the specialism of the applicant, one a registered Clinical Scientist and the Lay Chair. It is the Panel’s role to make a judgement on whether or not the candidate meets the standards set out in the Academy’s Good Scientific Practice (GSP) and demonstrates comparable knowledge, skills and behaviours as someone completing the relevant STP curriculum.


It is the role of the Chair to ensure that the judgement is based on the evidence produced and the principles of fairness and equity. The approach to the assessment process at interview must be consistent whilst taking into account the candidate’s portfolio and giving them every opportunity to detail their knowledge and experience in respect of the five domains under which the GSP standards are clustered. Candidates must demonstrate due consideration of the patient, even when they are in what are often considered as non-patient facing roles.


Over the years I would like to think I have built a good working relationship with the specialist and clinical assessors and have been thanked by Panels for facilitating in-depth discussion and consideration of a candidate’s interview performance and portfolio. The assessment process must recognise the candidate’s qualifications, work experience and scope of practice and it is my job to ensure that the Panels do this. Meeting the standard required for STP Equivalence results in Scientists providing improved and safe care of patients which is of utmost importance to me.


In 2020 I was invited to join the HCS Registration Council as a lay member, and I believe that I can ensure that the patient and public perspective continues to considered fully by the Council. I can also inform them as to how the assessment process is progressing and identify improvements to the process based on my experience of undertaking STP Equivalence interviews.


Yvonne A Mackenzie


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