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Designated Supervisor Information and Resources

This website is designed to support designated supervisors (the new name for pre-registration tutors) with information about the Trainee Pharmacist Foundation Year Programme.

Guidance for designated supervisors

Foundation training is designed to give trainee pharmacists the support, direction, information and resources they need to bridge the transition from studying to registering as pharmacists. Designated supervisors play a vital role in guiding trainees through this important year in practice. With foundation training sites required to use the new interim learning outcomes in 2021/22, we are keen to help you:

  • provide a consistent, quality-assured approach to assessing trainee pharmacists, no matter where they are based
  • boost your confidence in reviewing trainees’ evidence against the new interim learning outcomes
  • boost your confidence in signing off trainees as competent foundation pharmacists.

Key resources

New key resources are available to support you through the change in supervision practice – from pre-registration performance standards to learning outcomes.

  • HEE Trainee Pharmacist Foundation Year Assessment Strategy: This key document outlines the assessment strategy and how it works, including a section on the role of the designated supervisor. 

  • Assessment Activities Guide: This document sets out the 21 assessment activities in detail and shows which learning outcomes each of the activities is anticipated to provide evidence for. 
  • Visual mapping of the assessment activities: This short document is intended to be a visual map of the assessment activities, showing how they are anticipated to provide evidence against each learning outcome.   
  • A joint slide deck with NHSE/I and the GPhC explains the context for change, the key changes, and the national offer that we are developing for training sites in England.
  • A dedicated user guide for the new e-portfolio. More e-portfolio and assessment forms are on the companion web page 'e-portfolio and downloadable resources'.   

These documents are available to download at the bottom of this page.

An overview video of the assessment strategy is available here.

Please note: Minor revisions were made to Assessment strategy and Assessment activities guide in November 2021. The Visual mapping guide and video remain unaffected.

We continue to update the Frequently Asked Questions. You will find these at the bottom of the page. 

Assessment tools

We have appointed the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS), in collaboration with Axia Digital, to deliver the new e-portfolio system for all trainee pharmacists in England for the 2021/2022 foundation year.

This e-portfolio will directly support the use of the HEE assessment strategy.

Find out more on our companion web page: e-portfolio and downloadable resources

Trainee Support Guide

Across all professions, it is recognised that trainees may sometimes encounter difficulties during their training and that they may require additional support to complete their training. Guidance is available for pharmacy training providers to help and encourage trainees to identify areas in which they require support and/or adjustments to training without any associated stigma or disadvantage.

The HEE Trainee Support Guide outlines the educational support processes in place for pharmacy trainees (foundation trainee pharmacists and pre-registration trainee pharmacy technicians) who are undertaking Health Education England commissioned training in 2021/22.

The guidance has been developed with stakeholders to apply to employers, educational programme directors, educational supervisors and trainees.

The HEE Trainee Support Guide is available to download at the end of this page under 'Related Documents' along with two forms: Trainee progress review and Management plan setting

Please address any queries to pharmacyteam@hee.nhs.uk.

Background

In January 2021, the GPhC published the revised Standards for the Initial Education and Training of Pharmacists.

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Please check the Frequently Asked Questions below. If you have more questions to ask, please drop us a line at: traineepharmacist@hee.nhs.uk

Can designated supervisors use the pre-registration performance standards this year to assess trainees or should they use the interim learning outcomes? 

The GPhC has confirmed that all Foundation training sites are required to use the interim learning outcomes for the foundation training year 2021/22.

Will the GPhC release more details about the learning outcomes? This is to aid with mapping, as the learning outcomes can be interpreted in different ways. 

The GPhC currently provides an example of how to map your training plans to the new learning outcomes in the foundation training section of the GPhC website, along with other supporting information.  

The HEE Assessment Strategy describes a range of assessment activities in five themed groups. These activities are mapped to and support provision of evidence for all of the learning outcomes. For more information, please see the Assessment Strategy, assessment activity guide and visual mapping of the assessment activities, which are available to download at the bottom of the web page.  

What are the criteria to be a designated supervisor? Do you have to be an independent prescriber to be a designated supervisor? 

The eligibility criteria for designated supervisors are set by the GPhC and can be found here.  

You do NOT have to be an independent prescriber to be a designated supervisor. 

In the future, when independent prescribing is incorporated into the foundation training year, trainee pharmacists will need a designated prescribing practitioner to support their learning and assess them against specific outcomes. This may be a different person to their designated supervisor. 

The GPhC will provide further updates as decisions are made around the implementation of the full learning outcomes over coming years, and how this will be reflected in any changes to the current supervision requirements. 

Are designated supervisors required to have mandatory training to ensure that they can perform this role effectively? 

The GPhC have set out eligibility requirements for designated supervisors that must be met, in the same way that eligibility requirements for pre-registration tutors were previously required. 

They expect pharmacy professionals to act in accordance with their standards for pharmacy professionals. In line with standard four, they would expect a registrant to have the appropriate knowledge and skills to carry out the role of the designated supervisor. 

HEE do not currently mandate training for designated supervisors, but we strongly encourage all training sites / employers to ensure that all designated supervisors have reviewed and are familiar with the assessment strategy resources on our website, and that they have completed appropriate training relating to education supervision skills. Where a training post is funded by Health Education England, there is a requirement that the training site meets the HEE Quality Framework criteria, as set out in the Education Contract. This includes criteria relating to appropriate education and practice supervision for each trainee. 

Assessment strategy resources on our website include: 

- HEE’s Assessment Strategy  

- Assessment activities guide 

- Visual mapping of the assessment activities

- Assessment tools and associated short training videos

Resources available for education supervision training include: 

E-learning for Healthcare (e-LfH) resources  

CPPE gateway page: ‘Helping others learn’  

- Regionally commissioned courses where available. Please contact your regional HEE pharmacy office for more information: 

         Midlands & East: pharmacy.me@hee.nhs.uk   

         North: medicinesoptimisation.north@hee.nhs.uk  

         London and South East: lasepharmacy@hee.nhs.uk 

         South: pharmacy.south@hee.nhs.uk 

Will designated supervisors be trained on the new assessment strategy and tools before their trainees start? 

A range of resources about the HEE Assessment Strategy is available on our website, including: 

- HEE’s Assessment Strategy  

- Assessment activities guide 

- Visual mapping of the assessment activities

- Assessment tools and associated short training videos (coming soon) 

We are engaging with employees of all sectors to support them with use of the assessment strategy and will continue to do so. 

Additional support resources will be developed and made available. To receive news and updates by email about the initial education and training of pharmacists, please complete this form.  

Will the HEE commissioned training programmes for foundation training change this year / next year?  

The provision varies regionally, and we will move towards a more consistent approach over the next few years. We will continue to engage with you to keep you updated.    

We are developing our national offer of training materials, but these are not intended to replace local training programmes at this point.  

What funding is available for supervision in 2020/21  

Discussions are ongoing and information will be shared as soon as we can. Please join our mailing list by completing this form.  

Is there going to be some protected time to help with supervision? 

It is down to the employing organisation/training providers to determine how best designated supervisors are supported to supervise and assess trainee pharmacists. 

Where a training post is funded by Health Education England, there is a requirement that the training site meets the HEE Quality Framework criteria, as set out in the Education Contract. This includes criteria relating to appropriate education and practice supervision for each trainee. 

When will independent prescribing be included in the Foundation Training Year? 

The GPhC anticipate that this aspect of the initial education and training standards will be fully implemented for the 2025/26 foundation training year, and so the first trainees who will have prescribing qualification on registering will join from 2026.  

We continue to work with the GPhC on this, and more information will be shared as it becomes available. 

Do you have to be an independent prescriber to be a designated supervisor? 

The eligibility criteria for designated supervisors are set by the GPhC and can be found here.  

You do NOT have to be an independent prescriber to be a designated supervisor. 

In the future, when independent prescribing is incorporated into the foundation training year, trainee pharmacists will need a designated prescribing practitioner to support their learning and assess them against specific outcomes. This may be a different person to their designated supervisor. 

The GPhC will provide further updates as decisions are made around the implementation of the full learning outcomes over coming years, and how this will be reflected in any changes to the current supervision requirements. 

What support will be given to current pharmacists to become independent prescribers?

Over 9000 registered pharmacists in England are already independent prescribers. However, we have not forgotten the existing pharmacy workforce in terms of education and training developments, and we are working with partner organisations to explore opportunities. We will share information as it becomes available.

More detailed FAQs are also available on our companion website: E-portfolio and downloadable resources

How do I get access to the e-portfolio? 

If you are a trainee pharmacist: Registration closed on 12 December 2021. Please discuss how you collect evidence records with you designated supervisor and/or training provider.

Please note: For any trainees who registered on or before 12 December 2021; your registration is being processed.  It can take 2-4 weeks to process the information and set up access to the e-portfolio

If you are a designated supervisor: Please complete this DS data collection survey to gain access.   

If you are an education programme directors/training lead: Please complete this short survey to gain view-only access to the e-portfolio. 

How do I know if I have access to the e-portfolio? 

You will receive an automated email from 'Axia No Reply' which will provide you with login details to access the e-portfolio.    

Please check your junk/spam mail folder, as automatic emails can get filtered out as spam. 

However, if you cannot locate this email, you can login using your GPhC number and using the forgotten password link: https://pharmacisteportfolio.hee.nhs.uk/forgotpassword

You can access the e-portfolio here: https://pharmacisteportfolio.hee.nhs.uk/

I have a new designated supervisor that needs access to my e-portfolio what should I do?

You must inform the GPhC of the change in designated supervisor as soon as possible so that your records remain up to date. You can do this by completing the GPhC change of foundation training details form

You should submit this change form directly to the GPhC and email a copy to traineepharmacist@hee.nhs.uk for processing. We will add the new designated supervisor to the e-portfolio and send out log-in details.

Change forms are processed in date order of receipt and can take between 2-4 weeks to action.

How should we start recording training activities until we have access to the e-portfolio?  

Until you have access to the e-portfolio, you and your designated supervisor can get started with the assessment activities. Download assessment forms from our website or use your own internal documentation and templates.  

When you have access to the e-portfolio, these records can be uploaded into the system and linked to the learning outcomes.   

Should we build evidence of learning in the new e-portfolio and in other existing e-portfolios?   

The new foundation training year e-portfolio has been designed to support trainee pharmacists in all sectors of pharmacy. 

If you are currently using an e-portfolio provided by an external provider, please discuss the options with them. You can also get in touch with your regional HEE team who will be able to advise: 

- North: Medicinesoptimisation.north@hee.nhs.uk 

- Midlands and East of England: Pharmacy.me@hee.nhs.uk  

- South: Pharmacy.south@hee.nhs.uk 

- London and Southeast (LaSE): Lasepharmacy@hee.nhs.uk 

How is HEE prioritising who gets access to the E-portfolio?

We are prioritising access to the e-portfolio via completion of trainee and designated supervisor surveys in date order. If you have not yet completed the survey, please complete this Designated Supervisor Survey as soon as you are able to.

Please note that once the survey information has been sent back to HEE, it will take 2-4 weeks to process the information and set up access to the e-portfolio. You will receive an email from traineepharmacist@hee.nhs.uk informing you when your log-in details will be sent.

I am a designated supervisor and have been given access to the e-portfolio, but I don’t seem to be linked to my trainee? 

There are two reasons why you may not be able to see your trainee:

1. Your trainee’s account has not been set up yet.

We are prioritising access to the e-portfolio via completion of trainee and designated supervisor surveys in date order. Please note that once the survey information has been sent back to HEE, it will take 2-4 weeks to process the information and set up access to the e-portfolio.

2. Your trainee has not created any evidence within their account yet.

The portfolio accounts can only link once the trainee has undertaken some activity within their portfolio, and therefore linked trainees may not appear in your dashboard until they login to their account and perform an activity. Please ask your trainee to sign into their account and create initial evidence – at this point you will be able to see their portfolio using the “My Trainees (DS)” summary page.

If you have checked the points above and are still unable to see your trainee within the “My Trainees (DS)” summary page, please contact eportfolio@rpharms.com to investigate this issue further.

Can a pharmacist training to become a designated supervisor have access to a trainee's e-portfolio?

Only designated supervisors who are named on the trainee pharmacist GPhC application will be given access to the e-portfolio. Access to a trainee pharmacist e-portfolio is linked to the designated supervisor information held by the GPhC.

I am an educational programme director/educational lead: What access rights do I have within the trainee e-portfolio?

As an educational programme director/educational lead, you will be able to view your trainees’ overall progress during the foundation training year. You will have access to a summary dashboard of all trainees within your organisation or cohort including:

- Trainee name
- Associated designated supervisor for each trainee
- Associated cohort of each trainee
- Cumulative count of all records mapped to the HEE Assessment Activities for each associated trainee
- A progress bar to show an ‘at a glance’ view of the progress the relevant trainee is making against the learning outcomes
- Number of days leave taken (which includes annual leave, sickness, and other leave)
- A count of the number of meeting records they have created using the designated supervisor meeting tool (this does not include a count of any other meeting types - i.e., progress review meetings, or Other Meetings)
- A column indicating whether the trainee has completed their 13-week Foundation Training Progress Report
- A column indicating whether the trainee has completed their 26-week Foundation Training Progress Report

I am an educational programme director/educational lead and have been given access to view the e-portfolio, but I can’t see any of my trainees when I log in?

You will not be able to view the e-portfolio unless your associated trainees and designated supervisors have access to and have started using their e-portfolio by creating evidence. If your trainee is visible but you can only see the designated supervisors' GPhC number and not their name, this means the designated supervisor has not yet got an account. You will need to liaise with your trainees and designated supervisors to ensure they have access and have started to use the e-portfolio.

I am an educational programme director/educational lead and need to complete a trainee’s progress report as the designated supervisor is absent and will not be able to complete the review on time. Can I have access to the e-portfolio?

As per GPhC requirements – The progress reports should be carried out by the named designated supervisor.  If the education programme director or educational lead is to carry this out, then the GPhC needs to be informed and the change in designated supervisor process needs to be followed.

Is the HEE Assessment Strategy mandatory for all trainee pharmacists? 

The HEE Assessment Strategy is not mandatory this year.  

The strategy is being offered to all training sites regardless of sector and is designed to be suitable in all sectors of practice. We are encouraging and supporting all training sites to engage with and use this.  

The strategy is designed to support the professional confidence of designated supervisors to sign off the learning outcomes at the ‘Does’ level of Miller’s Triangle by providing a purposeful framework of activities triangulating a range of evidence against each learning outcome.  

Are the assessment tools mandatory? 

While the assessment tools are not mandatory, we are making them available to all training sites in England to support a consistent approach to the assessment of trainees, and give designated supervisors increased confidence in signing off trainees against the interim learning outcomes at the appropriate level. 

Note: The GPhC has confirmed that all Foundation training sites are required to use the interim learning outcomes for the foundation training year 2021/22

How should we start recording training activities before the e-portfolio is available? 

Until the e-portfolio goes live, you and your trainee pharmacist can get started with the assessment activities. Download assessment forms from our website or use your own internal documentation and templates. 

When the e-portfolio goes live, these records can be uploaded into the e-portfolio. 

How does the assessment strategy meet the requirement of a learning outcome being demonstrated at the ‘Does’ level of Miller’s triangle (‘repeatedly and reliably’) if only one of each assessment activity needs to be completed? 

The learning outcomes must be demonstrated at the appropriate level of Miller’s Triangle. For the foundation training year, most must be demonstrated at ‘Does’ level – that means repeatedly and reliably in an everyday setting. 

Each assessment activity is intended to provide evidence for several learning outcomes. This is set out in the assessment activities guide. 

Therefore, completion of all the assessment activities is designed to provide multiple pieces of evidence against each learning outcome. 

The designated supervisor will then use their professional judgement to assess when each learning outcome is satisfactorily demonstrated by the trainee and can be signed off. 

Can a trainee ‘fail’ a supervised learning event? 

Each assessment activity is designed to provide evidence against a learning outcome. The assessment strategy is not assessing competence at each activity – this may be separately determined by local competency assessments. 

For this reason, an assessment activity (which will be conducted as a supervised learning event in some cases) cannot be failed. However, the designated supervisor may determine that the completed activity does not adequately provide evidence against one or more learning outcomes, and may therefore require that the trainee pharmacist repeat the activity for this reason. 

Does the trainee have to map their completed assessment activities to the learning outcomes? 

Yes. The trainee is required to map each completed assessment activity to the learning outcomes.  They can use the assessment activity guide to find out which learning outcomes each activity is anticipated to provide evidence for. 

How many pieces of evidence do trainees need to provide for each learning outcome? 

Assessment activities are designed to map to the learning outcomes and as a whole support the provision of evidence that the trainee pharmacist demonstrates all the learning outcomes.  

Trainee pharmacists are required to demonstrate most of the learning outcomes at the ‘Does’ level of Miller’s Triangle, which means they are demonstrating an outcome ‘repeatedly and reliably’ in an everyday setting.  

For this reason, the range of assessment activities are designed as a whole, to provide multiple pieces of evidence against each learning outcome. The designated supervisor is expected to use their professional judgement in making decisions as to whether a learning outcome has been met. 

How much are the new trainee pharmacists aware of these changes? Has this been covered at the end of their undergraduate degree?

Yes. We have run a series of webinars with MPharm and Year 4 students in partnership with the General Pharmaceutical Council. We have also worked with the Schools of Pharmacy to cascade information to all their students via email. We continue to work closely with the Pharmacy Schools Council to start making changes to the initial education and training of pharmacists.

What steps are being taken to inform the general public of the exciting changes happening to the pharmacist profession?

Our focus so far has been on informing students, trainees, employers, designated supervisors and pharmacy professionals about the exciting changes that are taking place in initial education and training of pharmacists. In the next phase, we will look for opportunities to highlight these exciting changes to the general public, including through our websites.

In the meantime, we continue to develop our work with Health Careers, promoting pharmacy as a career of choice with school children and school leavers.