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Flexible Portfolio Training

Flexible Portfolio Training (FPT) was launched as a pilot initiative within higher specialty training offered jointly by Health Education England (HEE) and the Royal College of Physicians, protecting 1 day a week (or 20% time equivalent) for professional development in one of four pathways:

  • Clinical informatics pathway
  • Medical education pathway
  • Quality improvement pathway
  • Research pathway

The pilot phase of FPT has now concluded, and management of the scheme has now transferred fully to HEE. This change of governance has no effect on the training or supervision of the individuals involved, and Flexible Portfolio Training will continue as normal and will be managed locally.

HEE would like to express its thanks to the Royal College of Physicians for all their work on FPT and for their continued support of the scheme. We would also like to thank regional leads and their teams, educators and trainees for their commitment to this programme and for helping to demonstrate its viability as a training option.

Background

Flexible portfolio training came from Health Education England’s working group on Enhancing Junior Doctors’ Working Lives. This group was established in 2016 to address issues impacting doctors in training and specifically their quality of life. The scheme stemmed from the experiences of previous medical registrars, who felt protected time for professional development would improve the quality of their training.

FPT is one approach to meet the demand for flexible working, while also supporting hard to recruit specialties in hard to fill areas. Each region has separate requirements and therefore FPT looks a little different in each area.

Aims of the FPT programme

FPT aims to:

  • improve patient care
  • improve morale and wellbeing
  • protect against burnout
  • respond to the desire to train flexibly
  • promote non-clinical professional development and portfolio careers
  • improve recruitment and retention of medical registrars
  • develop well-rounded clinicians
  • benefit trusts with service improvement and innovation

Details of the FPT programme

The training scheme is an opportunity for trainees in the physicianly specialties to engage in meaningful project work that will benefit their non-clinical professional development. It acts as the perfect complement to clinical training, providing protected time away from clinical medicine to pursue other avenues.

A flexible portfolio trainee’s non-clinical day will be focused on one of four pathways:

  • Clinical informatics pathway
  • Medical education pathway
  • Quality improvement pathway
  • Research pathway

Each pathway is made up of six capabilities, underpinned by descriptors, and followed by illustrative professional activities that might be used to evidence the outcome descriptors.

Pathways describe a structured framework of activities a trainee might sample and undertake developing a range of experiences and are not intended to be exhaustive in their implementation.

The pathways accommodate trainees entering with a wide range of prior experience. Trainees will spend a minimum of one year on their pathway, with the option to continue for the duration of their higher specialty training (subject to satisfactory progress and Annual Review of Competence Progression outcome).

Current participating specialties and regions

Please note that the London and Thames Valley areas did not participate in the pilot scheme, as FPT was originally only piloted in regions deemed hard to recruit to. Plans are currently underway to expand the scheme to these areas.

 

The next cohort of FPT have been recruited in the 2022 recruitment round, to start from August 2022.  Applicants have applied to higher specialty training as per the Physician Higher Specialty Training Recruitment website.  Once candidates successfully secured an offer, they were given the opportunity to rank their programme preferences. The posts aligned with FPT were visible during the ranking process for candidates to select.

Planning is currently underway for FPT recruitment for 2023. Details will be shared on this webpage when these have been finalised.

FAQs:

FAQ 2021

Trainees FPT Handbook:

A complete guide to FPT, including the pathways, information for trainees and supervisors and other key details - click here to access the document. 

Trainee forms:

Forms for current FPT trainees to use during supervisor meetings - click here to access the document.

Table of useful resources for trainees:

A table for FPT trainees containing information on and links to relevant resources, categorised for each pathway - click here to access the document. 

Every pathway is made up of six capabilities, each of which is underpinned by descriptors, and followed by illustrative professional activities that might be used to evidence the outcome descriptors. Pathways describe a structured framework of activities a trainee might sample and undertake developing a range of experiences and are not intended to be exhaustive in their implementation.

You can access the documents in the list below:

Clinical Informatics Pathway

Medical Education Pathway

Quality Improvement Pathway

Research Pathway

Please send any enquiries to the FPT mailbox and we will get back to you as soon as possible:

flexibleportfoliotraining@hee.nhs.uk