Minutes of the meeting held on Monday 22 - 31 October 2008
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31 October 2008
Life Sciences Taskforce
A meeting of the Life Sciences Taskforce was held on Monday 27 October 2008 at 3:00pm at New
Kings Beam House
Professor Paola Domizio
Present: Professor Adrian Newland
Professor Sue Hill
Professor Shelley Heard
Dr Celia Aitken
Professor Peter Furness
Professor Goura Kudesia
Dr Jo Sheldon
Dr Paul Sinnott
Dr Tim Wreghitt
Ms Nicky Fleming
Dr Geraldine Hartshorne
Dr John Old
Dr Trevor Gray
Dr Julian Barth
Dr John Stevens
Professor Lesley Southgate
President, Royal College of
Chief Scientific Officer (CSO), Co-
Director, Training and Educational
Chair, Virology Sub-Committee
Chair, Histopathology SAC
Chair, Virology CATT
Chair, Histocompatibility and
MSC Professional Advisor
Chair, Genetics and Clinical
Director of Examinations and
In attendance: Mrs Jenny Maddocks Training and Educational Standards
Dr David Bailey
Dr Danielle Freedman
Dr Martin Gill
Dr Brian Shine
Dr Siraj Misbah
Dr Archie Prentice
Dr Helen Williams
Chair, Histopathology CATT
Chair, Chemical Pathology SAC
Chair, Medical Microbiology CATT
Chair, Chemical Pathology CATT
Chair, Immunology SAC – JRCPTB
Chair, Intercollegiate Committee on
Chair, Medical Microbiology SAC
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Dr Graham Beastall
Dr William Egner
Dr Ian Watson
Ms Joanne Brinklow
Ms Terri Hobbs
Dr Anthony Cumming
Dr John Foster
Dr Mike Scott
Ms Shirley Fletcher
Dr Mike Greaves
MSC Professional Advisor
Chair, Immunology SAC
Head of Educational Standards,
Royal College of Pathologists
Modernising Scientific Careers
Chair, Toxicology Panel of
Chair, Haematology Panel of
LS 18/08 Welcome and Introduction
The Co-Chairs welcomed the committee to the meeting. In particular they welcomed Dr Julian
Barth and Dr John Stevens to their first Life Science Taskforce meeting.
LS 19/08 Minutes of the meeting held on 22 July 2008
These were agreed as a correct record.
LS 20/08 Matters arising from the minutes not raised elsewhere on the agenda
a. LS13/08: Curricula development
This was discussed under item LS23/08.
b. LS15/08 Embryology and MSC
Dr Beastall provided an update on reproductive science for the committee.
It was reported that the MSC team had meetings with representatives of the
Association for Clinical Embryologists (ACE) and the Association of British
Andrologists (ABA). It was proposed that embryology and andrology be combined
into a programme called Reproductive Science which could be included in the
Cellular Science theme of the HCS rotational training programme.
It was reported that there were concerns that basic semen analysis was not carried
out to the same standard across the country as it is handled by different pathology
It was reported that practitioners in Reproductive Science welcomed the MSC
proposal that basic semen analysis should be standardised within one pathology
discipline and suggested that this should be cytology. The committee agreed that
further information and details would be needed if this was ultimately to be reflected
in service changes.
Action: Nicky Fleming to write a short paper on how to take this issue
LS 21/08 Workforce planning and implementation arrangements for HCS in the context
of the NSR
It was reported that that a Centre of Excellence would be established to support
workforce strategy and planning in the NHS. The aim of the Centre of Excellence is
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to ensure that workforce strategy and planning is supported by evidence and
analysis at every level in the health and social care system.
Dr Barth reported that there was a need for provision of specialist services in
laboratory medicine to support patient care. These services are also necessary for
the delivery of training of future scientists and this needs to be factored into the
Action: Dr Barth to circulate his proposals for revitalising specialist services in laboratory
LS 22/08 Specialty Reports
It was reported that Clinical Biochemistry, Histopathology, Immunology and Virology
had already circulated draft roles and responsibilities of doctors and scientists for
It was reported that the Virology Sub-committee had produced a document which
considers the contributions of each of the staff types to the provisional of a Virology
service. The Sub-committee agreed that the virology document on generic roles
and responsibilities could be used as a helpful template for the other specialties and
would circulate it to the other specialities.
The Co-chairs thanked Dr Aitken and the members of the Virology subcommittee on
their work on this useful document.
Action: Virology paper to be circulated to other specialties.
LS 23/08 Update on the MSC Training and Career Framework
Professor Heard presented a detailed presentation on the MSC model for the
training and career pathway for healthcare science assistant, healthcare scientist
practitioner and healthcare scientists.
LS 24/08 Update on the Genetics/Life Sciences Pilot
It was reported that Val Davidson has been confirmed as the MSC Professional
Advisor for the Genetic pilot and was the Chair of the Steering Group. The aim of
the Steering group is to oversee the development and implementation of the pilot
programme with a focus on genetics and make recommendations from the pilot to
support the development of the wider MSC programme.
It was reported that there would be a request for “expressions of interest” from
training department to take part in the pilot. The request would go to all NHS
Genetics departments which would co-ordinate the expression of interest locally with
the other specialties involved. It was anticipated that the pilot would start in
September 2009. The committee commented that to have a draft curriculum by July
2009 was challenging. Work on the curriculum and the assessment strategy is
LS 25/08 Stem Cells and Tissue Development
A meeting was held on 13 October with representatives from MSC, Haematology,
Transfusion Science and Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics to discuss
transfusion science. It was reported that Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics did
not want to amalgamate with Transfusion Medicine.
It was reported that link between haematology and transfusion science worked for
the delivery of services in standard NHS laboratories but was not necessarily
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appropriate for specialist transfusion centres, as transfusion science is more closely
associated with Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics and areas of immunology
than it is to haematology. Marion Scott recommended the creation of a cross-
disciplinary specialty of ‘transfusion and transplantation’ as being appropriate for
Healthcare Scientists working in such centres. It was notes that the Universities of
Bristol and Edinburgh now offer MSc courses in ‘transfusion and transplantation’
which were well subscribed.
It was noted that the potential existed within the MSC proposals for ‘stem cells and
tissue development’ to be developed as an area of accredited specialist expertise
within MSC. Ms Fleming had sought the views of the committee. The committee felt
that further discussions were needed and this would be picked up at the curricula
LS 26/08 SHA Engagement events on MSC
It was reported that the SHAs were actively involved in MSC developments.
LS 27/08 Histopathology service review
Professor Furness pre-circulated an update on Healthcare Scientists’ careers in
Cellular Pathology. It was felt that there would be a need to train Consultant
Healthcare Scientists in Molecular Biology, as applied to Cellular Pathology.
Therefore it was proposed that Higher Specialty Scientific Training (HSST)
curriculum should be developed to FRCPath level for healthcare scientists in the
molecular aspects of cellular pathology.
This would be further considered through the curriculum development process.
LS 28/08 Next Steps document
It was reported that the Next Steps consultation document would be published in
LS 29/08 Any other business
There was no other business to report.
LS 30/08 Dates and times of meetings in 2009
It was reported that some dates would be emailed shortly to the committee.