Healthcare scientists

Healthcare science is one of the fastest-moving areas of the NHS and it's importance is continuing to grow. If you are passionate about technology or science, and about helping others, a career in healthcare science offers a wide range of opportunities.

On a day-to-day basis, our healthcare science workforce gather information about patients, recommend the best treatment and, in many cases, administer it themselves. They contribute to 80 percent of decisions about patient treatment and play a vital role in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of a huge number of medical conditions, as well as in rehabilitation.  

At the same time, they are continually developing and testing more sophisticated technology and techniques. Today’s advances will form the basis of tomorrow’s treatments, providing safer and more effective ways to diagnose and manage medical conditions. 

The work of healthcare science staff is grouped into three main areas, based on the type of science involved in their work:

  • Life sciences
  • Physiological sciences
  • Medical physics and clinical engineering.

There are four main career levels:

  • Associate/assistant - NVQs and foundation degrees (or equivalent) underpinned by an awards and qualifications framework
  • Practitioner Training Programme (PTP) - undergraduate level
  • Scientist Training Programme (STP) - postgraduate level, pre-registration training
  • Higher specialist scientific training (HSST) - doctoral level.

We look for people who can undertake complex scientific and clinical roles, defining and choosing investigative and clinical activity and making key judgments about complex facts and clinical situations. Many will work directly with patients as well as being involved in innovation, research and development and education and training and roles include the following:

  • Microbiology (infection control and epidemiology, mycology, virology, toxicology, bacteriology and parasitology)
  • Blood sciences (clinical biochemistry, hematology/transfusion science, immunology)
  • Cellular sciences (histopathology, cytopathology, reproductive science)
  • Genetic sciences (genetic science, bioinformatics genomics)
  • Neurosensory sciences (audiology, neurophysiology, ophthalmic and vision science)
  • Cardiovascular respiratory and sleep sciences (cardiac science, respiratory and sleep science, vascular science, critical care science)
  • Gastrointestinal physiology and urodynamic sciences
  • Clinical engineering (rehabilitation engineering, clinical measurement and development, medical device risk management and governance), reconstructive sciences (maxillofacial prosthetics)
  • Medical physics (radiation safety physics, radiotherapy physics, imaging with ionising radiation, imaging with non-ionising radiation, clinical pharmaceutical science)
  • Informatics (genomics, physical sciences, health informatics