President’s Message

Joanne AshtonSCST is a volunteer-led, not-for-profit society, which is the professional voice for all those working in the field of clinical cardiac science. Our members are scientists, physiologists, and practitioners working in all specialist areas of cardiology.

This year Covid-19 has challenged us all as never before, by interrupting services and creating a demand for change. We have seen colleagues from around the United Kingdom sharing ideas and new ways of working, all learning from each other in this fast moving situation. During this time, SCST has endeavoured to provide advice and support based on science, evidence and data. I have been so proud of the way we have worked together and inspired each other. We have demonstrated the adaptability and resilience of our profession. Throughout my career I have been inspired by the passion that cardiac scientists have to move things forward. I love people who dare to challenge the status quo and ask why – “Why do we do that?” “Why does that happen?” Why? Why? Why! There are so many serious questions we need to ask, but science can also be fun, enjoyable and rewarding – and I would like SCST to reflect this in equal measures.

Our own wellbeing is as important as that of our patients, so having a little fun is absolutely allowed now and again!

The role of the President is to provide strategic leadership and work with members of Council to establish long-term goals, as well as representing the interests of our profession to a range of external bodies in science and healthcare. I will also be championing my personal ambitions for SCST, and these are:

Membership expansion and diversification.

Our members are our life blood so this means attracting more students, trainees and colleagues from across the specialist interests, and supporting them to contribute productively to the Society while in turn developing their skills, knowledge, capabilities and networks. This includes increasing the number of senior roles held by people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds by highlighting role models within our profession.

Moving into a digital world.

In this strangely socially distanced world, SCST must develop its digital footprint through the website, educational webinars, examinations and conferences. Supporting innovation, research and quality improvement. SCST must channel inspiration, talent and creativity to create the best opportunities for practice innovation. It has a key role to play in the sharing of experience and knowledge.

Leading and collaborating.

SCST has a strong identity as a professional body but in order to meet the challenges ahead, there is much to gain from working collaboratively with other specialist interest organisations and societies.

All this cannot be achieved by a small number of people, no matter how dedicated they are. All volunteer organisations, professional and otherwise, have seen a decline in participation and involvement over the last few years. Everyone is struggling with the burdens of budget cuts, staffing problems and waiting times, compounded by ever increasing numbers of patients with long-term conditions and complex care requirements. I would argue however, that under increasing pressure, there has never been a better time to join together for the common good. The time is upon us to strengthen the advocacy of all cardiac scientists, regardless of area of specialist knowledge. When it really matters, we are stronger together.

Please remind and encourage your colleagues to renew membership or join their professional body, and to take an active role by volunteering for work streams they are passionate about. New members of Council and sub-committees will always be welcomed, with support and mentoring offered where needed. In return you will gain professional recognition and invaluable experience. In (almost) the words of JFK, “Ask not what your professional body can do for you – but what you can do for your professional body”.

Joanne Ashton
President, Society for Cardiological Science and Technology September 2020

About SCST

The Society for Cardiological Science and Technology (SCST) is the professional body for those working in cardiac healthcare science. SCST membership demonstrates that an individual is committed to the highest standards of practice and professional conduct.

SCST was established in 1948 with the aim of advancing the science and practice of technical cardiology for the public benefit. The decades that followed brought significant changes in medicine and technology including the advent of implantable devices, echocardiography and angioplasty.

These advances have been embraced by the profession and have resulted in better patient care, more timely and accurate diagnosis and improved clinical outcomes.

More recently, the Modernising Scientific Careers programme has restructured our profession, standardising and improving education provision and providing new opportunities for career progression.

There has also been a shift in healthcare provision with an increasing number of first-line diagnostic tests being provided in out-of-hospital environments by those from other professional backgrounds.

Finally, the national move to 7-day working is forcing us to consider whether current models of provision could be improved.

These factors have changed the context within which SCST operates and produced new challenges in terms of advocacy, the provision of education and public protection.

Mission

Despite the changing professional landscape, the mission of SCST remains

“To promote excellence within the field of cardiac science for the public benefit”

We do this by setting high standards of conduct and practice for our members, through the provision of education and assessment, by raising the profile of the profession and by influencing policy at the highest levels.

Vision

Our vision is that

“By 2022, SCST membership will be valuable to every individual working in a cardiac healthcare science role (regardless of grade or specialism), meaningful to employers and reassuring to the public”

If we realise this ambition, SCST will be recognised as the national reference point for all matters relating to professional conduct, education and training, workforce issues and standards of practice in cardiac healthcare science. In addition, the government, other professions and the public will understand and value the unique skills and experience of those in our profession.

Strategic Plan

This vision has informed a strategic plan which will be used to drive our programme of work for the next five years. The plan has been developed by SCST Council and shaped by members who were surveyed to ascertain their priorities. We believe this plan will ensure that the future of SCST is safe and that confidence in the profession is maintained.