The differences between practice for the same task performed in different hospital trusts is striking. Healthcare scientists decided to examine this issue in more detail, and my part was to use competences to determine what were the minimum competences required to perform a particular step on a science pathway (in this case, Pathology Laboratories), the minimum level of scientist with these competences, and compare this with actual staff performing the task in different Trusts.
The results are fascinating: staff profiles vary between core hours and extended hours in those Trusts which run extended hours labs, and between teaching, large and community hospitals providing lab services (big, medium and small labs).
In some cases a significantly better qualified and experienced person performs a task than the minimum needed; in most cases this is justified because the experienced person is required for some stages and using another person would duplicate headcount, or because a senior person is needed during extended hours; in a few pathways there may be opportunities to make significant cost savings through more appropriate team profiling.
The full report (in which my contribution plays a small part) can be downloaded from the Skills for Health web site, on page http://www.skillsforhealth.org.uk/page/career-frameworks/pathology-profiling-project