What is healthcare science?
Healthcare science is the application of science and technology to the care of patients. Healthcare scientists make a vital contribution to the NHS, indeed 80% of all clinical diagnosis and treatment decisions are influenced by the work of healthcare scientists, which is very significant for a group that makes up only 5% of the workforce.
Healthcare science is divided into three areas:
Life Sciences specialties interpret and measure the causes of illnesses, along with working in reproductive science. Life sciences cover a broad range of areas, including genomics and fertility services, as well as working with tissue and blood products.
Physiological Science specialties assess and support the function of organ systems. The healthcare science workforce in this area use the data they gather to support the design of new diagnostic and therapeutic processes and investigate the functioning of organ/body systems to diagnose abnormalities.
Physical Science and Clinical Engineering specialties work to support the measurement of the effects of conditions and diseases on the body, as well as working to safely maintain vital medical equipment and machines. Particular areas include the clinical planning of imaging and radiotherapy, as well as the development of assistive technology and the design and management of medical devices.
For more on each of these areas, visit the Job Types section.
Modernising Scientific Careers
In recognition of the benefits of healthcare science to the health and wealth of the population, the Chief Scientific Officer established the Modernising Scientific Careers programme. This is a programme which seeks to develop and reinforce skills in the healthcare science workforce. It offers distinct training routes which are patient-focused and allow for students to gain workplace experience.
The Modernising Scientific Careers programme has implemented a number of education and training programmes: the Practitioner Training Programme at BSc level; the Scientist Training Programme at the MSc level; and the Higher Specialist Scientific Training programme at a level similar to a medical consultant. Programmes for assistants and associates are currently under development alongside a Clinical Academic Careers Programme and an Accredited Practice Programme.