New healthcare science programme to provide NHS with additional diagnostic staff

Published: 25 November 2010 at 15:43

New physiological healthcare science course will be taught full time at Anglia Ruskin

Advances in diagnostic services provided by the National Health Service today are currently shaping higher education courses provided by Anglia Ruskin University – and helping the University to keep at the forefront of healthcare education in the East of England. 

A new Healthcare Science course, due to start in January 2011, is helping to deliver some of the latest advances to the NHS as part of the Department of Health’s modernising scientific careers agenda. This is part of a change which will eventually be taken up by the higher education sector, however, only one other higher education institution in the UK is currently also running this programme.

Anglia Ruskin University has been approved by the Department of Health  to provide training for two Physiological Healthcare Science groups, cardiovascular physiology; and respiratory and sleep physiology. This is an undergraduate course over three years leading to a BSc Honours Degree in Healthcare Science, and is open to anyone with two A levels or equivalent. Theory will be delivered at Anglia Ruskin and will translated into practice through a series of practice placements in departments that can provide suitable training, experience and supervision.  

The cardiovascular graduates from this course will be able to perform and interpret  a range of investigations: electrocardiogram at rest, apply and retrieve long term heart beat recorders, assist in exercise testing plus providing support in cardiac pacemaking and during invasive cardiac investigations and treatments (cardiac angiography and cardiac stent implantation). Respiratory and sleep graduates will be able to perform and analyse peak flow tests, spirometry plus a range of other patient centred tests and investigations.

This is an important role within the healthcare setting. The healthcare science practitioner will have the opportunity to work as part of a multidisciplinary team as well as often performing investigations on a direct one to one basis with patients. The BSc Healthcare Science is the start of this career path that can be developed beyond practitioner level. Graduates can move on to become Healthcare Scientists after completing a higher degree programme of study and practice.

Enthusiastic about the new programme, Gwynfryn Chivers, Course Leader and Admissions Tutor, from Anglia Ruskin University’s Faculty of Health & Social Care, said:

"The contribution that science has made to healthcare is tremendous.  In this modern day 80% of all diagnostic tests can be attributed to the work of healthcare scientists."

"It is quite common for healthcare scientists to work directly with patients performing diagnostic procedures to diagnose their condition.  As a result of this increase the Department of Health has reviewed and changed the education and training routes for these groups of staff.  They will now become full time students as opposed to previously being part-time and employed by a NHS trust.  This brings the advantage of much greater uniformity in the quality of education provided.  This change increases the number of places available for healthcare science practitioner training and education and means that Anglia Ruskin University will be helping to deliver the vital staff that many hospitals desperately need."

For further information on the BSc Honours Degree in Healthcare Science starting in January 2011, please visit or  visit Anglia Ruskin University’s Open Evening at Fulbourn on the 6th December from 5pm – 7pm. For more information on this forthcoming event, please visit

To book an informal visit or find out further details and information contact Gwynfryn Chivers on 0845 196 5326, Chris Wisbey on 0845 196 5362 or Mary Parsons on 0845 196 5516.