In January 2021, the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) published the revised Standards for the Initial Education and Training of Pharmacists.
These new standards herald many exciting changes:
- The fifth-year of training (previously called the pre-registration year) will now be called the foundation training year. Learners on this programme will be referred to as trainee pharmacists. Pre-registration tutors will be referred to as designated supervisors.
- New interim learning outcomes will now be used to assess trainee pharmacists in 2020/21, replacing the pre-registration performance standards.
The GPhC has also set out our role in the quality management of all HEE-commissioned foundation training sites in England.
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. As part of the Trainee Pharmacist Foundation Year Programme, we are developing new resources for training sites: a practice-based assessment strategy, e-portfolio, and virtual learning and information resources are coming onstream to quality assure the training and assessment of all trainee pharmacists in England.
These resources will help trainee pharmacists and designated supervisors understand and use the assessment activities and tools to chart progress against the GPhC interim learning outcomes.
Designated supervisors will find these resources helpful to assess trainees against the new interim learning outcomes, complete progress reviews, and provide final sign-off, as required by the GPhC.
Designated supervisors will also find more information on our dedicated webpage.
New resources for training sites
The HEE Trainee pharmacist foundation year assessment strategy provides an overview of the assessment strategy for both trainee pharmacists and designated supervisors. The Assessment activities guide provides detailed information about the assessment activities a trainee is expected to undertake during their foundation year, including an indicative mapping of each activity against the GPhC interim learning outcomes for the initial training and education of pharmacists. A Visual mapping of the assessment activities is also available.
You can find all three documents at the bottom of the page, while the video below gives an overview of the assessment strategy and how it works.
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 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.
Roll-out of the e-portfolio is under way.
Find out more on our companion web page: e-portfolio and downloadable resources.
Until trainees have access to the e-portfolio, they can start planning and recording their assessment activities by downloading the assessment forms on our website.
When they have access to the e-portfolio, these records can be uploaded into the e-portfolio.
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Please check the Frequently Asked Questions below. If you have more questions to ask, please drop us a line at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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: Please complete this short data collection survey to enable access to the new e-portfolio. Please note: Registration closes on 12th December 2021.
This survey includes signing up to HEE’s privacy notice and to the e-portfolio terms and conditions. It will also allow us to create a unique user profile to you give access to the e-portfolio. If you didn't receive a message from the GPhC on behalf of HEE on on 1st September, with a link to the survey, please click on this data collection survey link and complete the survey now and before the deadline of 12th December 2021.
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 email@example.com 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:
- Midlands and East of England: Pharmacy.firstname.lastname@example.org
- South: Pharmacy.email@example.com
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.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.
How should we start recording training activities before the e-portfolio is available?
Until the e-portfolio goes live, 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 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 and in the separate visual mapping document. .
Therefore, completion of all the assessment activities is designed to provide multiple pieces of evidence against each learning outcome.
Your designated supervisor will then use their professional judgement to assess when you have successfully demonstrated each learning outcome and can sign you off.
Can I ‘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, your designated supervisor may determine that the completed activity does not adequately provide evidence against one or more learning outcomes, and may therefore require that you repeat the activity for this reason.
Do I have to map my completed assessment activities to the learning outcomes ?
Yes. You are required to map each completed assessment activity to the learning outcomes. You can use the assessment activity guide or the visual mapping document 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 an entity, support the provision of evidence that you demonstrate all the learning outcomes.
You are required to demonstrate most of the learning outcomes at the ‘Does’ level of Miller’s Triangle, which means that you 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. Your designated supervisor is expected to use their professional judgement to decide whether you have met a learning outcome.
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.