As you will be aware, the live OSFAs for final year STPs were cancelled due to the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak and introduction of the public health measures of social distancing.
The OSFA was the independent (to TOs and department assessors) validatory check of the trainee’s clinical competence and fitness to practice, integral to the STP. Due to the current exceptional circumstances, an alternative assessment has been designed to provide that independent assessment of the trainee’s clinical competence and readiness to practice as a safe and competent Clinical Scientist.
The OSFA was one of the three summative elements that the trainee must achieve in order to complete their programme and be eligible for entry to the HCPC register:
- Award of the Master’s in Clinical Science (specialty specific)
- Portfolio evidence of workplace development via achievement of all assessments and competencies
- Pass in the OSFA
During their programme, trainees are extensively assessed: via the academic assessments within their MSc in Clinical Science and via Direct Observation of Practical Skills (DOPS), Observed Clinical Events (OCE), Case Based Discussions (CBD) and Multi Source Feedback (MSF) in the workplace. Data shows that the pass-rate following the live OSFAs each year is around 85% indicating that trainees reaching this stage of the programme have already achieved very high standards of training and development.
The alternative assessment recognises that the COVID-19 pandemic has had significantly variable disruption to training for individual trainees across different specialties. Therefore, it is highly critical for the individual trainee, themselves, to recognise and understand in fine and personally specific detail, their own stage of development in relation to the requirements of a newly qualified Clinical Scientist and the ways in which they must be prepared to practise as a safe and competent member of the workforce.
The Independent Assessment of Clinical Competence (IACC), described below, will assess the trainee’s insight to their readiness to practice. This aligns with the first Standard in the HCPC Standards of Proficiency1:
1. be able to practise safely and effectively within their scope of practice
1.1 know the limits of their practice and when to seek advice or refer to another professional
The IACC, developed in conjunction with stakeholders including a representative group of OSFA Lead Station writers across all three Healthcare Science divisions, employers, and Trust Lead Scientists, has been approved by the Academy for Healthcare Science (AHCS) and Health Education England Executive leading on Covid-19 programme amendments for commissioned programmes.
The AHCS is the HCPC’s approved educational provider for the Scientist Training Programme and issues the Certificate of Attainment which confers eligibility for entry to the HCPC statutory register for Clinical Scientists.