Scientists at King's Health Partners organize Reach out for Healthcare Science

Medical Physics, General News

Healthcare Scientists make up just 5% of the total NHS workforce but are involved in 80% of patient diagnosis.

Richard Fernandez, Principal Physicist at the Department of Nuclear Medicine at Guy’s and St Thomas', writes about the recent Reach out for Healthcare Science week.

The NHS works at the limits of science – bringing the highest levels of human knowledge and skill to save lives and improve health.

As stated in the second line of the NHS mission statement, Healthcare Scientists are vital to the functioning of the NHS.

Healthcare Scientists make up just 5% of the total NHS workforce but are involved in 80% of patient diagnosis. It’s really important to increase awareness in young people of the many and varied career pathways within Healthcare Science and this is what the Reach Out for Healthcare Science event aims to do.

In June more than 70 Healthcare Scientists across King’s Health Partners were involved in delivering the week long Reach Out for Healthcare Science programme. This hugely successful, annual pan-London event (similar week long events are run at Imperial and University College London) is now in its fifth year. The programme engages with 300 16-years-olds with an aptitude for science from local schools (often satisfying Widening Participation criteria related to gender, ethnicity and increasingly socio-economic status). This worthwhile programme gives students the opportunity to discover the many and varied careers in Healthcare Science available to them through ‘hands on’ interactive learning sessions. The programme is valued for its authenticity – real working environments, with real equipment and real Healthcare Scientists.

This year’s King’s Health Partners event was bigger and better than before – across all three hospital sites, in both clinical and academic spaces, offering new and exciting activities for students to try. These included, amongst others: controlling robots by moving via an Xbox, to extracting DNA from tomatoes, to using Virtual Reality and MRI scanning as tools in assessment of mental health.

The week culminated in a truly inspiring poster session where the students presented what they learned during the week to each other, their teachers and parents. This year we had, for the very first time, a rapped oral presentation – watch out Stormzy!

The energy and enthusiasm in the subsequent awards ceremony (with prizes kindly donated by the Welcome trust) was a joy to behold.

If you are interested in getting involved with the 2018 event follow the link to our Reach out for Healthcare initiative to find out more.