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Healthcare science

The NHS in the north east employs around 4,000 healthcare science staff, which is around 5% of our workforce. But did you know that they contribute to around 80% of all clinical decisions that are made. On that evidence alone it goes without saying that the healthcare science workforce is a hugely important part of the NHS.


Contrary to popular belief, healthcare scientists and their teams are not just found lurking in dark labs at the end of long corridors. They intervene throughout entire care pathways from diagnostic tests to therapeutic treatments and rehabilitation.

There are four divisions of healthcare science;

Life sciences

The life sciences play a crucial role in helping to improve understanding of illnesses and their treatment. Working in this area may mean being responsible for developing new treatments for common medical problems, such as infertility or allergies, or working with doctors to choose the most appropriate treatment.

Most of your time will be spent in hospital laboratories, though you may also work on hospital wards, in the community or within specialist centres.

Life sciences are divided into 4 areas:

  • Blood sciences – haematology / immunology / clinical biochemistry
  • Infection sciences – microbiology
  • Cellular sciences – reproductive medicine / histopathology / cytopathology
  • Genetics

Scientist Training Programme posts we have available for 2016 will be available soon.

If you want to know more please email Gill Cresswell, call 0191 275 4736 or visit nhscareers

Physical sciences

The physical science workforce remit is wide; they apply physical techniques within a large number of healthcare settings. Traditionally there are two areas: medical physics and clinical engineering.

Scientists working in this area are responsible for developing new techniques and technology to measure what is happening in the body and to diagnose and treat disease. This might include ultrasound, radiation, magnetic resonance or clinical photography.

Staff within clinical engineering are innovators, they design new medical devices or adapt existing technology to improve patient diagnosis, treatment or long term self-care. They are also responsible for ensuring medical equipment is correctly maintained and safe to use.

Areas to work in physical sciences include:

  • Radiotherapy physics
  • Imaging with ionising radiation
  • Imaging with non- ionising radiation
  • Radiation safety physics
  • Clinical pharmaceutical science
  • Clinical measurement and development
  • Rehabiliation engineering

Scientist Training Programme posts we have available for 2016 will be available soon.

If you want to know more please email Dr Emma Bowers, call 0191 213 9529 or visit nhscareers

Physiological sciences

Staff in the physiological sciences work with patients directly and identify problems with the way that the body works. They use the very latest techniques and equipment to identify any abnormalities and help to restore body functions – such as problems with hearing, heart and lungs, gastro-intestinal tract or the brain and peripheral nervous system.

Most scientists in this area work in hospitals, based in clinics, departments or operating theatres. However, some do work in a community setting at a health centre or visiting patients in their own homes or at school; working with patients of all ages, from newborn babies to the elderly.

Areas to work in physiological sciences include:

  • Audiology
  • Ophthalmic and vision science
  • Neurophysiology
  • Gastrointestinal physiology
  • Urodynamics
  • Critical care science
  • Cardiac science
  • Vascular science
  • Respiratory and sleep physiology

Scientist Training Programme posts we have available for 2016 will be available soon.

If you want to know more please email Gill Cresswell, call 0191 275 4736 or visit nhscareers

 Clinical bioinformatics

Clinical bioinformatics is a cross-divisional field. Staff in this area work with big data and are responsible for developing and improving methods for acquiring, storing, organising and analysing biological data that supports the delivery of patient care.

There are currently three specialisms within clinical bioinformatics:

  • Genomics
  • Health informatics science
  • Clinical bioinformatics for the physical sciences

Scientist Training Programme posts we have available for 2016 will be available soon.

If you want to know more please contact Dr Emma BowersGill Cresswell or visit nhscareers

National School of Healthcare Science is also a useful resource.