New lead healthcare scientist for Somerset

Somerset Foundation Trusts audiology manager Emma Ralph has recently been appointed to the lead healthcare scientist role across the Somerset Integrated Care System.

Over 50,000 healthcare scientists work in the NHS and public health services and together they provide the scientific backbone of the NHS and their work underpins 80 per cent of all diagnoses.

Emma has worked at Musgrove Park Hospital for over 21 years, having initially trained as an audiologist, before stepping into an audiology manager position for the last six years.

She has taken up the lead healthcare scientist post on a 12 month secondment and will also continue in her audiology role for two days a week.

Emma said she was very excited to bring her skills and experience to the new role. “I have found that working within health and social care has given me a greater understanding of the issues and challenges that our patients face,” she said.

“I know how important it is that our NHS colleagues are acknowledged and represented so I’m excited to be taking on this role where I can be that professional voice to help the many science-related specialties to be heard and come together.

“One of the first things I’m doing as part of the role is getting out there and speaking to colleagues throughout the services – not just managers and leads – so I can fully understand their aspirations.

“I’m very proud to be able to represent our healthcare sciences and I have many ambitions for the role, including creating more opportunities for local, regional and national collaboration, as well as helping colleagues in service lead roles to work more closely together.

“I’ll also use the platform to support colleagues with the introduction of training, which will include rethinking traditional clinical roles and responsibilities and opportunities for upskilling colleagues to take on advanced roles.

“Most people think healthcare science is just about diagnostics, but it’s so much more than that – in fact healthcare scientists work in more than 50 specialisms.

“The scope of healthcare science is vast and many specialties tend to fall under the remit of diagnostic services such as audiology, neurology and cardiology, however alongside this other support services play critical roles, such as mortuary, sterile services, medical electronics and engineering colleagues. Without their support, many services would simply be unable to operate.

“Nurses, doctors, allied healthcare professionals and other traditional roles are of course a vital part of the NHS, but healthcare scientists are also an essential cog in the machine, and many patients are not even aware of the role they play in our healthcare system.

“Many colleagues who work in these specialisms are behind the scenes and don’t always get the recognition they deserve.

“As part of my role I’ll looking to understand what resources and time they need to work efficiently – this has never been so important than during the recovery from COVID-19 and recent development of diagnostic centres across Somerset.

“Lots of great work and collaboration has already taken place as part of our NHS trust’s Healthcare Science Network, and this is something we want to grow. It would be great to have wider representation and to continue and expand on the work already underway.”

If you would like to hear more about healthcare sciences or would like to get involved, contact Emma on or 07768328189.