Statement published on 4th May 2020

We have published information about the alternative to the OSFA exit assessment for STP trainees completing their programme this year.

The alternative to the OSFA exit assessment for STP trainees completing their programme this year will be an assessment which we are calling the Independent Assessment of Clinical Competence (IACC).

Independent Assessment of Clinical Competence (IACC)


Statement published on 24th April 2020

This week we submitted proposals for completion of the STP for final year trainees to the HEE Executive team leading on the response to disruptions to HEE programmes caused by the Coronavirus pandemic. The proposals have now been approved.

We are now in a position to provide trainees with a broad outline of what will be expected of them in order to complete the programme.

The MSC in Clinical Science

Trainees will be expected to have completed their MSc in Clinical Science. The various universities are making and communicating proposals for alternative means by which they will assess trainees and make their awards.

An alternative to the OSFA

In place of the OSFA, trainees will be required to submit a written critical reflection on their clinical competence and readiness to practise, which outlines how their experience and learning to date demonstrate how they meet the standards set out in the Academy of Healthcare Science’s Good Scientific Practice.

Our current plan is that this piece of written work will be submitted by a point in mid-July. Trainees will be given advance notice of the precise requirements of the written assignment in May.

Trainees and their training officers will be provided with further and more detailed guidance about the alternative final assessment next week and beyond.

Revised workplace-based e-portfolio completion requirements

As many final year STPs will have had interruptions to completion of their specialty competencies due to the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic, a proportionate approach to demonstrating their competence will be accepted. A revised set of requirements for programme completion have been agreed with the Academy for Healthcare Science. In summary, these will be as follows:

  • a) 100% completion of the Professional Practice module
  • b) 100% completion of the rotation modules
  • c) A declaration of the trainee’s scientific specialty competence will be required from an HCPC registered scientist
  • d) The Elective module will not be mandatory
  • e) Trainees will be required to have completed one MSF exercise only

Our aim is that the deadline for achievement of these revised e-portfolio requirements will be close to the usual deadline for e-portfolio completion in late September.

We hope that this broad outline provides trainees and trainers with a sufficient amount of direction about what is to be expected of them at present. We would respectfully request that trainees wait until they receive further detailed guidance about these requirements before approaching the School with queries about elements that remain unclear.

In the meantime, we strongly advise trainees to continue their training and achieve as many assessments as possible and request that training officers support training activity.

Guidance for completion

We have produced some guidance for completion.

100% completion of professional practice module

We are expecting all trainees to complete 100% of their professional competencies. We appreciate that completion of the last few of these may have been delayed by the changes in working practice due to COVID-19, but as services begin to return more to normal trainees should continue to complete these competencies. For many trainees, altered working practices due to the pandemic will offer new opportunities to complete some of the professional competencies, and where access to specialist training has been difficult to deliver, trainees are likely to have had some flexibility to concentrate on these areas. Trainees have the usual deadline for completion of their professional competencies (September 2020), allowing time to ensure these can be submitted and assessed.

100% completion of rotational modules

We believe the rotations to be an essential and beneficial part of the STP and the current COVID-19 situation has highlighted these benefits – including encouraging trainees to make contacts in other departments, and gain an understanding of the work of other specialisms. The majority of trainees will have already achieved 100% of their rotational competencies – it is one element of the Mid-term review of progression and should have been achieved by that point. For any trainees still to complete their rotations, our advice is that rotations can be shortened but should still aim to cover the learning outcomes and competencies.

Sign off by HCPC registered scientist

 

The signature of a HCPC registered Clinical Scientist is needed because the STP confers eligibility for entry to the HCPC statutory register. Normally, the trainee’s training officer would be HCPC registered but where this is not the case we advise that the training officer should attest to the trainee’s scientific specialty competence, with a counter-signatory by a registered HCPC clinical scientist. Lead Healthcare Scientists and/or Trust Education departments should be contacted to identify a suitable Clinical Scientist if required – closer relationships with registered scientists outside of the department are very much encouraged to enable sharing of best practice etc.

As there is significant variation across specialisms (and also between different training centres) as to how much disruption there has been to training, we have not specified the percentage of competencies that need to be signed off for this section. The training officer is the most appropriate person to determine whether the trainee is ready yet – for some TOs this will be a simple decision but it may be that local assessments will be implemented to support the training officer in making this decision. These assessments could include simple Q and A sessions, or may take the form of case-based discussions or a mini OSFA developed and delivered by the TO. Any assessment should cover the essential central tasks expected of a newly registered clinical scientist in a specialty and could cover areas in which training has taken place – this could include practical, theoretical and self-directed. We don’t think it is unreasonable for training officers (or those Clinical Scientists providing the counter-signature) to require reassurance before taking the responsibility of signing the trainee off as ready for practice before full completion of the competencies, but we would advise that any internal assessment should not place any undue burden on trainees. As well as giving training officers reassurance, it should add to individual trainee’s confidence too.

Elective module

This is not mandatory to complete this year, however we would suggest that redeployment, or adapting services as part of a COVID-19 related working culture within their own area fulfils the needs of the elective, and trainees may wish to reflect on these challenges as part of their all-round experience.

MSF

All trainees should have completed their first Multisource feedback exercise by the time of the MRP. As part of the process, we would expect some reflection on the feedback, considering how they can use this to continue their development. Expanding this reflection could form a useful part of the IACC. Whilst there is no requirement for a second MSF for completion, we would still encourage trainees to complete this if it is feasible.