COVID-19: PTP providers

Information regarding the PTP during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

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Latest statements

Statement updated on 11th December 2020

Healthcare Science degree accreditation

Recent discussions with colleagues within HEIs, challenges in relation to Covid-19 and following on from recommendations in the PTP survey, we are proposing to pause future PTP accreditation(s) for a limited period. This proposal will allow time to develop a new PTP Framework taking into account information received by the National School of Healthcare Science.  If any HEI is due for reaccreditation during this time, we are willing to extend the duration of accreditation for a limited agreed time. Agreement will be subject to there being no major changes to the programme that affect either the learning outcomes or assessment not already reported to the NSHCS.  And there are no current causes for concern either from current students or External Examiners that are under investigation by the HEI, which are likely to lead to changes being made to the approved programme.

For HEIs wanting to pause their accreditation please email nshcs.accreditation@hee.nhs.uk

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Previous statements

29th June - Work-based observations

Statement updated on 29th June 2020

The pandemic has highlighted that some placement providers may have challenges in the availability of personal protective equipment and opportunities for students to attend clinics,  patient facing events, limited access to equipment and procedures to complete work-based competencies. The School has provided advice on the use of alternative methods of assessment to compete and progress students.

It is important that the student can demonstrate competency in a procedure or task and achieve the relevant Learning Outcomes. The School does not require specific numbers of a procedure or task to be completed by a student on placement.

19th June - Deployment meeting held

Statement published on 19th June 2020

HEE have been working in collaboration with system partners to provide a deployment option for Year 2 Healthcare Science Practitioner Training Programme students who have outstanding placement hours and require a placement in order to successfully complete their second year of study. The COVID-19 Healthcare Science student data collection is now live. Details have been sent to university programme leads who have been asked to contact their Year 2 students.

You can view the Deployment virtual meeting here.

16th June - Information on delivery of practitioner training programmes 2020/2021

Statement updated on 16th June 2020

As universities start the process of planning delivery for the next academic year that may require compliance with physical distancing requirements and return to lockdown. We understand that some programme delivery of teaching and assessment may move to online with limited face to face activities when safe to provide. Changes implemented should be to help students and not be detrimental to their learning and, any proposed changes require confirmation that stakeholders including the students will be informed of the changes.

The continued impact of the pandemic is uncertain and likely to continue. The School wish to reassure universities that provided necessary changes are implemented in accordance with university regulations and policy for academic teaching and assessment, this will not affect School accreditation of their programmes. However, as the changes are in the next academic year and may extend we will require you to submit change notifications outlining changes that are necessary to take as you would normally provide for your own quality assurance processes. Our intention is to continue to support universities and to ensure that requirements for accreditation are not a barrier to students learning and assessment.

Download a copy of the PTP Change notification form for HEIs

27th March - COVID-19 response

Statement updated on 27th March 2020

In response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the National School of Healthcare Science have been reviewing guidance from, and working with, regulators to help universities manage programmes during this academic year. We understand that universities are having to implement changes and introduce procedures to adjust teaching, learning and assessment as a result of closures to universities, difficulties in accessing work placements for students and to comply with Government public health guidance. Our prime concern is the health and wellbeing of students and staff. During these extraordinary circumstances we still need to be satisfied that students achieve the required learning outcomes.

We wish to reassure universities that provided necessary changes are implemented in accordance with university regulations and policy for academic teaching and assessment, this will not affect School accreditation of their programmes. It is for the university to provide mechanisms within their regulations to reassure the university that students can demonstrate the required learning outcomes.
Changes to programmes will be temporary and reflect public health advice to help contain the virus. At this stage, we do not require you to submit any changes that are necessary to take but we expect that you will record changes for your own quality assurance processes. Our intention is to ensure that requirements for accreditation are not a barrier to allowing students to progress and graduate to be eligible for professional statutory or voluntary registration and employment.

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FAQs for PTP providers

What about work placements and completion of the PTP Training Portfolio?

Employers may be faced with staff absences or increased workloads and students on placements may be either having to self-isolate or being withdrawn by placements due to the Coronavirus situation. It is allowable to consider a reduction in the year 3 placement and a delay of the placement period for years 1 and 2.  

Year 3 trainees could be helpful to departments but, if the question is that the department is concerned for their safety, we would have to be guided by the employer. Alternative assessment methods should be implemented to allow students to demonstrate required learning outcomes. 

Where year 1 and 2 placements do not to go ahead, learning outcomes should be achieved in different ways. However, we would prefer year 2 placements to proceed if possible. When the current situation relaxes and work placements are availablestudents should be able to continue with regular work place assessments. 

What if it is difficult for students to complete their work-based projects?

Normally the project should be based on data-generation and evaluation, and not solely a literature review. Due to the current exceptional circumstances, alternatives may be used including different assessment methods, accepting truncated research and briefer write-ups for research projects. 

What if we have to change assessment and exam methods?

To enable students to achieve the learning outcomes may mean the introduction of alternative assessment methods; for example, the introduction of simulation, actors and OSCEsVIVAs, the increased use of case studies and online practical/clinical demonstrationsThe implementation of alternative teaching and assessment methods will ensure learning outcomes are achieved, and it is accepted that real patient contact is unlikely during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

What happens if clinical staff are unable to deliver training or sign off competencies due to illness, self-isolation and /or commitments to clinical service?

The introduction of short-term alternative assessment methods by universities and employers should ensure that students will have sign off for their competencies and assessments. The School will support universities taking a pragmatic view of the introduction of alternative assessment methods to ensure that students are not disadvantaged.

Will COVID-19 stop PTP students from graduating?

Final year students are likely to be very concerned about their ability to graduate. COVID-19 may impact on students’ ability to sit exams and complete portfolios. The School is working with universities and taking a pragmatic view on the introduction of alternative assessment methods and placement provision to ensure that this unprecedented situation does not affect students graduating.

Further information and guidance will be provided to trainees by the School via our website so please continue to visit this page on a regular basis for updates.

Last updated on 22nd July 2021