Guidance

NHS population screening: diploma for health screeners

Information explaining the Level 3 Diploma for health screeners.

The health screener diploma (HSD) is on the Ofqual regulated qualification framework (RQF). It is the recommended national training programme for new screeners, who are not on a regulated professional register, working in the:

Qualification structure

The qualification is made up of 13 generic units that cover the basic knowledge and skills needed to work in a healthcare setting. Additionally, each screening programme has programme specific units.

Successful completion of the diploma provides:

  • a recognised national qualification
  • evidence of transferable skills that support personal and academic development
  • screeners with the knowledge, skills and understanding to work in a healthcare environment

Awarding organisations (AOs)

The 3 awarding organisations (AOs) in England which can provide the health screener diploma (HSD) are:

There is no difference in the content of the qualification between the awarding organisations (AOs). The qualification is provided to PHE requirements.

Approved centres

Approved centres (ACs):

  • can offer the qualification for the 3 screening programme pathways
  • are the administrative hubs that register HSD assessors and learners
  • are responsible for assuring the quality of the qualification delivered in local screening programmes

If you are interested in becoming an approved centre, please get in touch with one of 3 awarding organisations via the PHE Screening Helpdesk.

Register a new learner

  1. Contact the PHE Screening helpdesk for a list of ACs which offer the health screener diploma (HSD) in England.
  2. Decide which AC to register with and contact them directly.
  3. Register learners and assessors with the AC. Learners must be registered for the qualification within 6 months of starting employment as a screener.

Information about costs and funding is given below.

Starting the qualification

After registration for the qualification, the approved centre will provide learners and assessors with all the required HSD documentation.

To complete the qualification, learners are expected to take:

  • 12 to 18 months for full-time staff
  • 18 to 24 months for part-time staff (less than 15 hours a week)

Costs and funding

NHS screening providers are required to meet the training requirements for new screeners in the NHSP, AAA and DES programmes, as per the section 7a screening programme specifications.

The requirement covers enrolment on the national HSD, and subsequent successful completion. The cost is approximately £1,000 per learner.

Health Education England (HEE) administer the funds. Employers are advised to contact their local HEE team for information or to email php@hee.nhs.uk.

Please see the service specification for more information.

Assessing learners

Read the guidance on assessing the health screener diploma to find out about the role of the assessor and the qualification needed to assess the diploma.

Supporting resources

The HSD e-resource is available on the e-learning for healthcare (e-LfH) platform.

The resource is made up of 6 topics:

  • overview of the qualification
  • navigating the qualification
  • the screener’s role
  • communication and information
  • health and safety
  • infection prevention and control

The HSD: The learner’s journey is a resource made up of 5 short films that take the assessor and learner through the HSD qualification journey.

It covers the following important steps and messages:

  • initial meeting between assessor and learner
  • planning an assessment
  • carrying out an assessment – professional discussion
  • use of expert witness
  • feedback and signing off units

Resources for delivering the mandatory healthcare units

The level 2 care certificate includes units that are similar to the HSD mandatory units. Learners and local programmes can use presentations, workbooks and resources from the care certificate to help with mandatory units. These resources are at level 2.

Additional learning and evidence of application of the knowledge and skills to the screener role is required to meet the HSD level 3 requirements.

Download these resources from:

Published 1 April 2017
Last updated 15 December 2020 + show all updates
  1. Changed point 3 of 'Register a new learner' section.

  2. Added information on how to apply for funding from 1 April 2019.

  3. Updated as funding is available for 2 screeners per local programme.

  4. Updated wording under Costs and funding to align with programme specification.

  5. First published.