WPBA and ARCP update

18 January 2021 

Following the release of the latest guidance, the RCGP and COGPED would like to try and address the concerns expressed by some trainees about continuing Workplace Based Assessment (WPBA) during periods of extreme pressure.

Both the College and COGPED recognise that trainees are currently working in extremely challenging circumstances. The intention behind continuing WPBA is that placement planning meetings, CbDs, mini-CEXs, COTs and CSRs will provide a focus for support. They should be an opportunity for you and your Clinical Supervisor to check on your wellbeing, so they should continue wherever possible or alternative support be sought.

If a trainee finds that reflecting on cases in their Learning Logs as part of their evidence is helpful, then they should feel free to do so. We would however like to make it clear that no trainee is expected to reflect in their Portfolio on any experiences that they find personally traumatic. Where necessary, such matters should be dealt with, in confidence, with a trusted mentor.

During particularly challenging periods it is recognised that it may not be possible to upload any Learning Logs. If this situation persists for longer than three months, an explanation should be uploaded into the portfolio.

Anyone in that position and those who are finding it impossible to meet their Clinical Supervisor (even remotely), should arrange an educational discussion with their Educational Supervisor or Training Programme Directors who can signpost them to support. No-one should go unsupported, particularly at this time. We would strongly advocate an early request for support by trainees when they need it. Any trainee struggling with workload or stress, should therefore contact their Clinical Supervisor/Educational Supervisor or Training Programme Director for support sooner rather than later.

It is important that these discussions are documented in Educators Notes as information for panels.

Trainees should be supported to provide the evidence required for WPBA in order to CCT and it is recognised that this may well mean that more evidence has to be uploaded in subsequent posts. If there are "gaps" in the evidence uploaded in the Portfolio, then ARCP panels will take into account documented evidence of workload pressures and COVID-19 impact when reaching their conclusions, provided either the required amount of evidence is present (including Learning Logs) or a plan as to how it will be provided in a subsequent post. Any requirement for this should be clearly signalled on the ARCP form.  

We understand how challenging things are for you and want to do everything we can to support you.

Post written by 

Dr Michael Mulholland, RCGP Vice Chair (Professional Development)

Michael Mulholland is a GP at Unity Health, a five-site practice for 22000 patients across the Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire border where he has practised for nearly 20 years.  

He also works for Health Education England with roles in GP training, Quality Improvement and workforce planning. Within the RCGP he has been part of the GP at Scale programme and a GP Forward View Regional Ambassador.

He was elected to the post of Vice Chair (Professional Development) in November 2018.

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