The CfWI was jointly commissioned by Health Education England (HEE) and the Department of Health (DH) to create an online survey to identify and assess the opportunities for improvement in training capacity across healthcare science (HCS) training institutions, in order to assess the factors that affect capacity to train and secure continued workforce supply.
Our survey analysis has found the following key points:
- Respondents estimated that 0 to 5 per cent of all staff time (scientific, administrative, medical and other staff) is generally required for training, but that a higher proportion of scientific staff time may actually be needed to deliver Practitioner Training Programme (PTP) and Scientist Training Programme (STP) training.
- Just under 6 per cent of qualified staff posts are currently vacant, while departments and laboratories expect just over one in ten of their qualified staff to retire within the next five years.
- Around 63 per cent of services reported having difficulties recruiting qualified staff, more so in physiological sciences compared to other divisions, with difficulties least severe for bioinformatics.
- Nearly six in ten placements offered by departments and laboratories in life sciences are non-MSC training programmes.
- Departments and laboratories reported the greatest difficulties recruiting qualified staff in cardiac physiology (85 per cent), radiation engineering (83 per cent), neurophysiology (82 per cent) and vascular physiology (78 per cent).
- Size of department or laboratory had no significant effect on the extent to which there were difficulties recruiting for particular services.
- The majority of departments and laboratories (62 per cent) have some form of official accreditation, although nearly two in five do not.
- Less than one in ten departments and laboratories have a funded educator or trainer post.
In light of the survey evidence outline above, the CfWI proposes that the following actions may be beneficial:
- further investigation into the patterns of training delivered and appropriate targeted support for training in both larger and smaller departments and laboratories- potentially, by the creation of larger training centres or training consortia
- increasing awareness of the new MSC training programme requirements within departments
- supporting HCS departments and laboratories to gain accreditation to deliver training
- supporting departments and laboratories to have a funded educator/trainer with specific responsibility for training
- consider means to encourage departments and laboratories to deliver MSC training, rather than other forms of training.
The following steps may also be of benefit to HCS workforce planning:
- An audit or census of laboratories delivering NHS HCS services, to establish precise numbers of HCS laboratories.
- A stocktake or in-depth review of the HCS workforce, to consider how numbers and skills of this workforce may change over the next 15 to 20 years.
You can read the full report here: http://www.cfwi.org.uk/publications/healthcare-scientists-training-capacity-survey/.