New Trainees: A Brief Glossary

This page collects together some commonly used acronyms that you may be unfamiliar with as you start your training:

[accordion accordion_title=”Healthcare Science (HCS)”]
HCS is one of the fastest moving areas of the NHS and its importance will continue to grow.
As a healthcare scientist you may:

  • Improve your understanding of illnesses and treatments
  • Develop new treatments for illnesses
  • Develop new techniques and technology to measure what happens in the body
  • Work closely with clinical teams to ensure equipment is functioning appropriately
  • Investigate the functioning of organ or body systems to diagnose abnormalities, and find ways to restore function and/or reduce disabling consequences
  • Collaborate with different HCS specialties to ensure holistic assessment and appropriate, individualised healthcare is delivered to patients
  • Collaborate with multidisciplinary clinical teams (outside of HCS) to ensure holistic assessment and personalised healthcare is delivered to patients


[accordion accordion_title=”National Health Service (NHS)”]

The NHS was launched in 1948 and was developed with an ideal that good healthcare should be available to all, regardless of wealth – a principle that remains at its core. The NHS employs more than 1.6 million people. The NHS is considered to be within the top five largest workforces in the world.

NHS Constitution and Values

You can and should read the NHS Constitution which forms a basis for seven principles that guide the NHS:

  1. The NHS provides a comprehensive service, available to all.
  2. Access to NHS services is based on clinical need, not an individual’s ability to pay.
  3. The NHS aspires to the highest standards of excellence and professionalism.
  4. The NHS aspires to put patients at the heart of everything it does.
  5. The NHS works across organisational boundaries and in partnership with other organisations in the interest of patients, local communities and the wider population.
  6. The NHS is committed to providing best value for taxpayers’ money and the most effective, fair and sustainable use of finite resources.
  7. The NHS is accountable to the public, communities and patients that it serves

NHS Values

Patients, public and staff have helped develop this expression of values that inspire passion in the NHS and that should underpin everything it does.

  1. Working together for patients.
  2. Respect and dignity.
  3. Commitment to quality of care.
  4. Compassion.
  5. Improving lives.
  6. Everyone counts


[accordion accordion_title=”Public Health England (PHE)”]

PHE is an agency of the UK Department of Health. Its formation came as a result of reorganisation of the NHS in England outlined in the Health and Social Care Act 2012. It took on the role of the Health Protection Agency, the National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse and a number of other health bodies. It was established in April 2013 to bring together public health specialists from more than 70 organisations into a single public health service. It employs scientists, researchers and public health professionals. PHE’s mission is to protect and improve the nation’s health and wellbeing, and reduce health inequalities.


[accordion accordion_title=”Health Education England (HEE)”]

HEE is an NHS body responsible for the education and training of every member of staff employed by the NHS. HEE works with the National School of HCS and local education training boards to ensure that scientific training is being delivered according to national standards and strategies.


[accordion accordion_title=”Care Quality Commission (CQC)”]

The CQC is another executive non-departmental public body of the Department of Health. It was established in 2009 as the independent regulator of health and social care in England.

The CQC ensure that health and social care services (hospitals, care homes, dental and general practices and other care services in England) provide people with safe, effective, compassionate, high-quality care and they encourage care services to improve. The CQC monitor, inspect and regulate services to make sure they meet fundamental standards of quality and safety and they publish their findings, including performance ratings to help people choose care services.


[accordion accordion_title=”Higher Education Institutions (HEI)”]

HEI is an institution (a university or learning establishment) that delivers the academic component of an STP programme.


[accordion accordion_title=”National School of Healthcare Science (NSCHS)”]

The National School of Healthcare Science (NSHCS) was established in October 2011 as part of the Modernising Scientific Careers (MSC) programme and is hosted by HEE West Midlands.

It was established to support the implementation and delivery of the new HCS education and training programmes. The NSHCS set curricula and assessments, liaise with universities and workplaces to ensure training programmes are in place, deal with problematic areas of training and educate training officers and other professionals about MSC programmes.

As a PTP trainee, your university courses are accredited by the NSHCS, so it is important to familiarise yourself with their role. This accreditation process conducted by the NSHCS is quality assured by the Academy for Healthcare Science.

As an STP trainee you will be part of the NSHCS and the quality of your training and education will be managed by the NSHCS.


[accordion accordion_title=”The Academy for Healthcare Science (AHCS)”]

The AHCS was established by the UK Health Departments and professional bodies. It is the overarching body for the whole of the HCS profession.

AHCS is the professional body that award a certificate of Attainment.

For the PTP, the AHCS set the Standards of Education and Training (SET) which the NSHCS work with in order to accredit universities providing the PTP. The overarching requirement is that university PTP programmes align with and are mapped to the SET. The AHCS also award certificate of PTP completion to trainees. If required, this enables registration with HCPC.

For the STP, this is awarded on successful completion of an STP programme where trainees have an MSc certificate from an MSC accredited HEI and a Certificate of Completion of Scientific Training (CCST) from the NSHCS.


[accordion accordion_title=”Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)”]

The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) is a regulator, set up to protect the public. They currently regulate 16 health and care professions in the UK, and keep a register of professionals that meet their standards for education and training, professional knowledge, skills and behaviour.

They approve education programmes for professionals to complete before applying to join the Register and can take action if registered professionals do not meet their standards. Anyone that is not registered and is found to be using a ‘protected title’ is breaking the law and can be prosecuted.

If appropriate to your specialty, you will automatically be registered with the HCPC on successful graduation from the STP Programme.

Note: Not all healthcare scientists are registered with the HCPC – some may be enrolled on other voluntary registers, and you should contact the appropriate professional body for specialty-specific information.




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