Name: Dr Ross Sadler
Current role: Consultant Clinical Scientist – clinical lead for laboratory immunology at the Oxford University Hospitals Foundation NHS Trust
“I began my NHS career in 2006 at the age of 24, straight after finishing three years of PhD practical time in a research institute. I discovered the career path by accident at the BSI conference – held in Harrogate back then. A small talk was being given by Dr Mike Kerr, a consultant scientist based in Leeds.
“After applying through the national scheme (now called the Scientist Training Programme), I was accepted to work at Oxford where I began a fixed-term three-year contract that would require me to complete an MSc in medical immunology and learn all aspects of an NHS clinical immunology service. After completing these years, I was eligible to become state-registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) as a clinical scientist.
“In those days, there was a limit to the opportunity of a qualified clinical scientist in immunology; thankfully, things have now significantly improved. (When I started, there were five consultant qualified scientists – the profession now has approximately 15 with significantly more junior positions established.)
“My route from qualified clinical scientist to consultant grade scientist was meandering and often made up from grabbing opportunities whenever I could – and doing a lot of work in my own time. Fortunately, the profession now has an established training pathway for all clinical scientists to consultant grade, which incorporates specialist knowledge assessment – such as attainment of Fellowship with the Royal College of Pathologists by examination, leadership training and management training. Completing this training enables the scientist to be on the Academy for Healthcare Science (AHCS) Higher Specialist Scientist (HSS) register and also to be eligible to apply for a consultant post with an NHS trust.
“Clinical scientist training has progressed dramatically in the last 10 years and the role of scientists in the NHS workforce continues to increase in recognition as a valuable addition to clinical teams.”