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Harlow College celebrates Healthcare Science Week

Chloe and David

Healthcare Science Week, 11-15 March 2024, brings together over 50 scientific specialisms and professional groups to celebrate and raise awareness of this diverse NHS workforce. 

Over the last 75 years NHS healthcare science has played a vital role in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of disease and the health of our population. Healthcare Science Week is an opportunity to showcase this work and inspire the scientific workforce of the future.

Marie Parsons is a Consultant Clinical Scientist at Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow. “In the NHS there are many professions that are well known: nurses, doctors, physiotherapists, dietitians, but actually there’s a whole group of professionals working hidden behind the scenes to help patient care and these are our healthcare scientists.

“At PAH, we have a number of groups of healthcare scientists. People like myself who are laboratory scientists, clinical engineers, pharmacists, medical photographers, there’s a whole plethora of careers that people can get involved in.”

BTEC Science Students at the College recently got to visit healthcare science professionals to discover more about these unsung heroes working behind the scenes at PAH.

Hannah Wauchope, Senior Biomedical Scientist at PAH, said: “Working in biochemistry is a very fulfilling career choice. We’re often hidden away from the forefront of medicine – when people go into hospital they’ll see the doctors, they’ll see nurses, they don’t see the lab technicians or the medical lab assistants, but 80% of all diagnoses rely on lab test results. Knowing you’re at the forefront of patient care is a very nice place to be.”

Medical Lab Assistant, Zia Maertens-Colyer, was equally enthusiastic about the role of the healthcare scientist. “It’s so lovely to be part of the NHS and be part of healthcare science, even though you’re not in a patient facing role. Working behind the scenes with patients on their journey is really important and it’s so fulfilling to help.”

Philippa Bennett, Assistant Academy Manager for Health Science at Harlow College, said: “As the largest employer in Harlow, Princess Alexandra Hospital Trust is a key partner and this week enabled learners to research the vast number of healthcare science roles available in the Trust. 

“The impact is clear, all our Applied Science students reported they had discovered a new healthcare science role and many expressed an interest in working at the hospital. We are very grateful to Dr Parsons and the scientists who agreed to be part of this aspirational project.”

Photo: Chloe Osborne, student Cardiac Physiologist at PAH with Applied Science student David