Trainees and Training Officers are reminded that the amended pathways (use of a “sign off” if the e-portfolio could not be fully completed) are an option to recognise the disruption to training caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
All trainees are expected to complete as much of their portfolio as possible, and it is recognised that in many departments Training Officers and trainees are now in a position to facilitate completion of all competencies. The alternative pathways to completion should be by exception when trainees are unable to access specific competencies during their training, or where completion of the rotations would be at the expense of specialist training. Any competencies or assessments that cannot be completed MUST be discussed and agreed with Training Officers, including providing evidence to satisfy Training Officers that lack of completion is due to COVID-19.
We have not provided minimum levels of competencies to be completed – as disruption is variable we believe that the Training Officer is the best placed person to understand the disruption and this is recognised by the need for sign off/counter sign off by an individual with HCPC registration. Training Officers should only sign off trainees who they believe to be safe and ready to enter practice as newly registered Clinical Scientists. Click this link for more information about this requirement. For trainees unable to complete their portfolio due to reasons other than COVID-19, please contact the School to discuss alternative options.
In response to the challenges posed by the very variable disruption to training caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the School liaised with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), Health Education England (HEE) and trainees and Training Officers to ensure that completion pathways were attainable and that all trainees were treated fairly and not disadvantaged. Whilst all elements of the current curriculum were considered to be appropriate and important, it was recognised that, during the pandemic, it was not possible for all trainees to access all competencies and training opportunities, and that this disruption was variable across specialisms, cohorts and training departments. Reasons for this include trainees and Training Officers being redeployed or working remotely, services paused, social distancing policies or pressures of work. The aim was to facilitate completion for trainees that could demonstrate their readiness to practice, ensuring that patient safety was protected and that trainees could enter the workplace safely as entry-level Clinical Scientists.
For trainees completing in 2020 and 2021, amendments were made to the completion pathways including a new final assessment (the IACC) and the option of a “sign-off” by a HCPC registered Clinical or Biomedical Scientist, attesting to the trainee’s readiness to practice where trainees were not able to complete 100% of their specialist competencies due to COVID-19. As rotational modules take place early in the programme, these were considered to be unaffected by COVID-19 and so completion of these modules remained mandatory. Module ‘SCC110:Introduction to Healthcare Science, Professional Practice and Clinical Leadership’ was considered to be attainable despite the disruption due to COVID-19 and therefore completion of this module also remained mandatory. It was considered that ‘SCC121: Elective Module’ would be difficult to organise and, whilst the learning outcomes for this module are considered very beneficial to trainees, making this module non-mandatory allowed more time to be devoted to specialism training.
In deciding on completion requirements for 2022, we worked with colleagues in professional bodies and lead station/curriculum writers where appropriate and considered whether all competencies were a) accessible and b) essential for performance of the specialism. We recognised that trainees were at an earlier stage of training at the beginning of the pandemic and rotations were difficult to complete, and so the completion pathway for 2022 took this into account.
Following this year’s Mid Term Review of Progression (MRP) and discussions with trainees and Training Officers, we have considered the completion requirements for those graduating in 2023. For this cohort, there is still some disruption to training, but this is improving, particularly in the specialist modules. Rotations are still being disrupted. We have provided advice to trainees and Training Officers regarding flexibility of these modules, both in terms of length of rotations and ways to deliver and assess them, and we are pleased to note that some trainees have been able to complete their rotations and these have been signed-off. We recognise the hard work that has gone into this, and the knowledge and experiences gained will undoubtedly benefit all-round development as a Clinical Scientist. However, we are aware that for many trainees access to some rotational competencies has still not been possible to date, and completing these in the final year will come at the expense of the specialist training. We have considered this in our discussions around completion 2023 and will offer the same pathways as for 2022.
Trainees are expected to complete as much of their OneFile portfolio evidence as possible, but where COVID-19 has made this impossible we will accept the following as a minimum:
- 100% completion of the trainee’s own specialist-related rotation modules assessments and competencies. This rotation is considered essential as a foundation for the specialism, and as it does not require attendance at an external department it is considered achievable. Completion of the other rotations is encouraged but will not be mandatory. The HCPC registered Clinical Scientist or Biomedical Scientist sign-off will be extended to include this. The details of which rotational modules are considered mandatory for each specialism are detailed below in Table 1.
- 100% completion of ‘SCC110: Introduction to Healthcare Science, Professional Practice and Clinical Leadership’.
- 2 x Multi Source Feedback (MSF), completed on Agilio (formerly Clarity) and uploaded and signed off on OneFile.
- Successful completion of the Independent Assessment of Clinical Competence (IACC) exit assessment.
- Successful completion of the Master’s (MSc) in Clinical Science.
- A declaration by a HCPC registered Clinical or Biomedical Scientist of the trainee’s scientific specialty competence if the specialist or the rotational modules are not fully completed on the e-portfolio.
For Clinical Pharmaceutical Science, Clinical Microbiology and Clinical Bioinformatics (Physical Sciences), these were given special consideration including discussions with the Lead Editors for these specialisms, as the first year modules have a different underlying rationale. For 2023, Clinical Measurement and Development has been added to the list of specialisms with particular requirements for completion of the rotations.
Clinical Pharmaceutical Science
For Clinical Pharmaceutical Science, the first year modules (SPE 200,201,202 and 203) are considered to be foundation levels with a second module in each area. During COVID-19, some areas of training have proved difficult to access but other areas are delivered within the home department and should therefore be accessible. SPE200 “Quality assurance and quality control 1” is deemed essential and accessible for all trainees, and it will be a requirement to complete 100% of this module. However, the other modules, particularly SPE 202 “Production 1” have been challenging to access and therefore it will not be mandatory to complete 100% of these.
For Clinical Microbiology, the first year modules (SLS 200, 201, 202 and 203) are considered to be foundational modules rather than rotations. All are considered to be essential core knowledge which the later specialist modules build on. As they are core knowledge, access to this training has not been such a problem during COVID-19, and the Professional Body has organised a series of on-line resources to ensure that the more difficult learning outcomes have been available to access. Therefore, these will all be counted as mandatory to complete – the alternative pathway for completion first available in 2020 (HCPC Scientist sign-off if trainee is unable to access 100% of the specialist training) will be an option if trainees are unable to complete all competencies due to COVID-19 related disruption, but these 4 first year modules will need to be completed.
Clinical Bioinformatics (Physical Sciences)
For Clinical Bioinformatics (Physical Sciences) there are 2 rotations that have been considered both achievable and core, SBI101 Computing for Clinical Scientists and SBI 102 Information and Communications Technology in the Clinical Environment, and these will both be mandatory. Trainees are encouraged to complete as much of the other 2 rotations as possible, but full completion of these will not be mandatory if not possible due to COVID-19 disruption.
Clinical Measurement and Development
Revised for 2023 – For Clinical Measurement and Development there are 2 rotations that have been considered both achievable and core, SBE300 Clinical Measurement and ICT and SPE301 Design Development, and these will both be mandatory. Trainees are strongly encouraged to complete as much of the other 2 rotations as possible, but full completion of these will not be mandatory if evidence can be provided to the Training Officer that they were not possible due to COVID-19 disruption.