HC Skills InternationalHC Skills International

Frequently Asked Questions

Are the qualifications offered to healthcare industry personnel by HC Skills relevant?

Yes. There is a growing appetite and requirement among stakeholders for evidenced compliance. And in any case, we believe that all healthcare industry professionals would want to aspire to the highest standards (February 2009 launch of LSI National Register).

We believe a professional, practical route to best practice satisfies the needs of clinical teams and meets the over-riding requirements of the patient.

The professional Theatre/Hospital Access qualifications for the healthcare industry representatives have legal standing as National Occupational Standards (NOS, 2016).

It is our contention  that low-cost, unprincipled training programmes targeted at a wrongly perceived set of “one-size-fits-all” requirements is not good enough.

Furthermore, Association of Perioperative Practitioners (AfPP) – incorporating NATN – views the Theatre Access Qualification award as a valuable safeguard for its members. Gaining the award provides theatre managers and staff with objective evidence of an external employee’s competence, which means that they can be more confident that they are managing risks effectively and working within the framework of clinical governance.

Also, did you know:

“Anyone who is invited into Hospitals or areas of clinical care in an advisory capacity is bound by the same legal and ethical obligations as those employed by the Hospital.” (NHS Code of Practice: Confidentiality version 3.0, 28.7.03).

Are the HC Skills qualifications just another set of “sit and listen” training courses which are big on theory but don’t reflect the world we work in?

All our qualifications are compliance-driven and based on blended learning, with practical competencies being addressed in the relevant environments.

Our programmes are taught by experienced personnel, medical staff and industry experts.

What about the practical side?

We teach real skills – in real environments. Take our OR Skills programme, part of which is conducted in real operating theatres. The whole ethos is based on ensuring that your company’s customers teach you what they expect from you.

Are there any exemptions (e.g. for experienced theatre staff or long-serving healthcare industry personnel)?

There are three routes to the Professional Theatre Access Qualification.  –

  • an online course for those with 3 years plus experience £135 plus VAT,
  • a one day fast track for those with 1 year plus £750 plus VAT,
  • a fully taught 2 day course for induction £1125 plus VAT.
    (These fees include the £135 registration fee for the qualification).
  • This qualification can be reaccredited for credentialing – cost £85 every two years.

HC Skills International Ltd will make provision for experienced personnel to undergo fast-track, one-day processing, then complete the examination and undergo the practical assessments which lead to qualification.

We will not, though, issue a certificate without the individual having successfully completed the assessment process. Medical device and pharmaceutical reps who have either a minimum three years’ experience or have attended/completed another theatre protocol and etiquette course can gain access to our one-day, fast-track programme.

Why is the fast-track course crucial?

We offer validated, COMPETENCE-BASED training. This qualification has legal standard as the National Occupational Standard (NOS, 2016). Our contention is that for patient safety, doing the bare minimum is not enough.

Is the Hospital / Theatre Access qualification for life?

Yes. The qualification is forever. However, as a healthcare professional reaccreditation of Best Practice is required every two years.

Award photo-ID cards have an expiry date two years from their date of issue. At that stage, we offer a recertification programme which is similar to the one-day programme which confirms that you meet the standards currently required to work in theatres.

If your company prefers, more frequent refresher training and re-certification can be arranged. There is also an on-line Learning Management System which offers a route to reaccreditation.

Aren’t your programmes too expensive for smaller companies?

Our fees are based on the use of experienced theatre and industry professionals as tutors, and the use of fully-equipped operating theatres for the practical sessions. We believe that you cannot put a price on patient safety.

Will some of these qualifications be compulsory in the future?

Individual Theatre Managers, Directors of Nursing, Trust General Managers or even the Departments of Health in the UK are using credentialing companies to request proof of training and competence to obtain entry to clinical areas.

This is already a case in the USA, where both the American College of Surgeons and AORN (Association of Perioperative Registered Nurses) have detailed their expectations of the competence standards required of product specialists: “The patient should be informed of the presence and purpose of the healthcare industry represent-ative in the operating room and give written, informed consent.”

Rather than have these policies imposed, we suggest that the industry should embrace the highest standards voluntarily.

Why is there a session “Towards a Professional Code of Conduct”?

Certainly, parts of the industry (e.g. the orthopaedics sub-group of ABHI) have their own excellent codes of conduct but there is no single or unified code for companies whose staff need to work in operating theatres.

These sessions aim to encourage thought and debate on professional conduct in theatres.

Where does the training take place?

HC Skills International Ltd is located in the West of Scorland Science Park in Scotland but can deliver the training to match your needs almost anywhere you wish.

We utilise operating theatres and classroom facilities to facilitate the Theatre Access courses and have successfully completed courses in several UK, European and Middle East healthcare facilities.

The reacreditation programme is currently delivered in Glasgow, Leeds and Cambridge.

In Glasgow, we are only a few miles from the M8, which is connected to the M73, M74 and M6 for those travelling by car. Train services to Glasgow are excellent, and good links (taxi or local trains) exist to serve Clydebank. Finally, we are just across the River Clyde (pictured below) from Glasgow Airport (a 20-minute taxi ride).


Do HC Skills offer any other courses?

Yes. We are able to offer a range of programmes to suit individual companies’ needs. These may be for your own staff (e.g. additional input into basic training, sales conferences, sales management, marketing, etc.) or for your customers (e.g. product training and extended in-service facilities, including use of our theatres).

Please contact us to discuss your needs. If your people or your customers need specialist and practical training in the detailed aspects of any surgical speciality, please contact us. We would be delighted to help.