Introduction to FishBase

FishBase is the trainee and deanery management portal for the new Trainee Portfolio. Its database contains all the information that is displayed in the Portfolio that the Trainees and Educational Supervisors see.  How this information is displayed is different though, and there are different views depending on the role that you have to make things easier. For example, ARCP members will have a different view to a patch administrator.

This guidance is aimed at Administrators (RCGP, Deanery and Patch), Educators (ADs and PDs), Panel chairs and members, External Advisors. It explains how to perform common tasks such as populating trainee’s training information, adding supervisors and setting up panels.

Go to the FishBase website to log in. If you can’t remember your password then please click ‘Forgotten your password’ and it will email you a link to set up a new one.

Once logged in, you will see the home page, which includes FishBase video guidance and recent system updates. It’s worth watching this before proceeding further. You will also find other help text on the page and at any point, if you click ‘Help’ at the top right, the system will take you to the FourteenFish help centre which contains all the help articles and the contact form.

On the left you will see ‘Database’, this is what you need to click on to access all the deanery information.

Once you have clicked on ‘Database’ you will see a list of different boxes and filters. If you click ‘Run Search’ it will bring up a list of all users in your area. You will notice that if you are in a patch, you will only be able to see the people in your patch (trainees and ESs). If you are working across the whole Deanery then you will be able to see all people in your Deanery.

To view the basic demographic information of the users, click on their name, this will show their ‘Person Details’.

If you want to look at a trainee’s posts etc then you will need to go to the ‘Trainee page’, you can do this straight from the main list by clicking the person icon or from in the Person Details page, clicking ‘Trainee Page’. On this page you will find all the information about the trainee including posts, stages of training and access to the whole of their portfolio. To learn more about looking at their Portfolio in more detail please go to that section.

The FishBase introduction PDF and PowerPoint slides are available to download for image context.

These can be viewed under ‘Organisations’. You can use the search or the filters to find the locations in the area in which you work. It is easy to add an organisation if needed. You will only need to do this when new training practices or hospitals start to train GP trainees. You can also easily edit the organisations, for example you can update the name or add the contact details for your training programme.

The FishBase introduction PDF and PowerPoint slides are available to download for image context.

If you have Deanery or Patch admin rights, you can give others in your organisation access to view the people and organisations in your area. To do this, click on Organisations, find your organisation and click on it. At the top right you will see ‘Users and Roles for this organisation’. Click on this and then add the name and email address of the person you want to add. The system will match the user if they already have an account in the system, otherwise they will receive an invitation to create an account.

You need to select user’s role when adding them. If you add them as ‘Normal’ they will be able to see everything and do everything except create new users for that organisation. If you give them ‘admin rights’ then they will be able to add new users as well as everything else. You can change the rights for each person in this menu as well as remove them if required.

The FishBase introduction PDF and PowerPoint slides are available to download for image context.

To allow people to perform certain tasks, they need to be assigned a ‘job’, this is different to giving them a ‘role’ in an organisation. Each job is specific to an organisation. So a GP trainer should have a job at the organisation (practice) that they work at, such as being an Educational Supervisor or Clinical Supervisor. First make sure that the organisation exists that the person is to have a job at. There are then two ways to give someone a job at that organisation. Either go to the organisation and ‘add a person’ or go to the person record and ‘add a job’.

Adding new Supervisors

You will first need to add the supervisor as a person to FishBase. Click on ‘People’ on the left, then ‘New Person’ and ‘Other’. Enter the GMC number of the supervisor you’re adding to check if the doctor already exists in the system (this is to avoid duplicates). You then must add as a minimum their name and email address.

If they already have an account with that email address, then the system will recognise this, and the user will be able to use their existing login details. If the person you are adding has not used the system before, you will need to send them an invitation by clicking the “Invite to FourteenFish” link. The new user will receive an email with instructions explaining how to register.

Once you have added the person to the system, you will need to allocate the Jobs (see above) and link them to trainees as required.

Linking Supervisors to additional organisations

Supervisors can be linked to additional deanery or training programme. To link them, open their person record and click ‘Link another Deanery/Training prog.’ in the top menu. You can then select another deanery or training programme to link to. This is useful when the supervisor is working across multiple deaneries.

The FishBase introduction PDF and PowerPoint slides are available to download for image context.

For several reasons, we have decided to split stages of training and posts. This will allow to analyse and calculate more information about each trainee and their posts.

Stages of Training

Stages of training are each trainee ST1/2/3 year and also any statutory leave. Some trainees will be working LTFT and this would be indicated in their Stages of Training. Some trainees have several different percentages of LTFT for a particular ST year, so these are split up into separate stages of training. The trainees ‘requirements for this review’ (how many logs and assessments which they will see on their portfolio) is based on the percentage that they are working in ‘Stages of Training’ so it is important that this reflects their LTFT percentage.

Any breaks in a trainees training should be recorded as a ‘Stage of Training. To add a new Stage of Training, go to the Trainee Page and click ‘add a new stage of training’. You will then be asked to enter the dates of this stage, the grade and whether it is FT or LTFT. You can also mark if this stage of training is an extension. If the trainee is working LTFT, you will need to calculate the date for the end of that stage of training.


Posts are the ‘jobs’ that the trainee does. These are independent of the Stages of Training as often the jobs are out of sync with the stages with LTFT trainees or those who have had statutory leave. To add new Posts, click on ‘New Post’. You will then need to select if this is an integrated training post (more below). You will then need to add the dates for the post, the GMC recognised ‘Speciality’ and the Organisation, which is where that job is.  If that organisation doesn’t exist, then it will first need to be added under Organisations in the main menu. There is also an area labelled ‘Description’ which you can use for more info if it would be helpful – this will be on the ARCP form. You can also assign ES/CS when adding the post (see the next section for more information).

If you’re adding an ITP post, you will need to add both posts at the same time. This will create two posts with the same dates and you will be also asked to enter post split percentage. For example, you have a trainee working 60% in GP and 40% in secondary care during an ICP, you would add both posts as such. This allows the system to calculate that the trainee has done enough time in secondary and primary care.

Assigning an Educational or Clinical Supervisor

You can assign the ES/CS when adding a new post or when editing an existing post. You also need to make sure that the ES/CS has that ‘job’ assigned to their account for that organisation.

When adding a new post, link the supervisor to it by selecting their name in the ‘Educational Supervisor’ or ‘Clinical Supervisor’ fields. If you wish to add additional supervisors, you can do so after the post have been created.

To add supervisors to the existing post: click the post on the training map and click ‘More details’. You will see a section called ‘Supervisors’. Click on the dropdown menu to add the supervisor (their role and linked organisation will be in brackets after their name). If you cannot find their name or the role is not that for which they are to have, then you will need to go back into the supervisors account and make sure they have the correct job assigned for that organisation.

Finally, you need to make sure that the supervisor is linked to the current review period. Select the open review period on the training map and click ‘More details’ to open it. Go to the ‘Permission to access’ section and add the supervisors to link them to the review period. Please note that the trainees can also confirm their supervisors through the portfolio (based on the information entered in their posts).


When a trainee starts in ST1 you will need to check their expected CCT date. This would normally be three years, but if they are LTFT or ATCF then this will be different and need to be calculated. It is important that this date is updated when any changes are made to training as this is viewable by the trainee on their portfolio.  

Initially, the expected CCT date is entered into the portfolio by the trainee during the RCGP registration. You can easily amend the date throughout the training by going to the trainee record and then selecting ‘Change CCT date’ from the top menu. You will be asked to enter the reason for change.

New starters

You will be able to see the new GP trainees as soon as they complete the registration with the RCGP. A default, 6-month review period is added automatically, so that the trainee can start writing learning logs etc. You can populate new starter records in bulk by using the ‘Admin trainees report’, available under ‘Database’ and ‘Reports’ in FishBase. This report allows you to set training stages for multiple trainees by selecting them from a filtered list. You can also easily find trainees who do not have any posts set yet.

The FishBase introduction PDF and PowerPoint slides are available to download for image context.

When you go to a trainees Trainee Page, you will be able to see Posts etc but also all of the other information that they will be able to see on their Portfolio. On the main page you will be able to see the ARCP outcomes, ESRs, Ed notes, feedback etc.  At the top is also a list to delve deeper should this be required.  You can view all of the educator notes (please note the toggle on the right within Ed notes to expand all). You can also view their requirements (which is based on the length of their review period and their percentage in their ‘Stage of Training’) as well as all information which is visible in ‘Search their entries’. Within this section you can filter as much or as little as you like to view all assessments and logs the trainee has done.

The FishBase introduction PDF and PowerPoint slides are available to download for image context.

When trainees are assigned to the panel meeting, they will be able to view the date of their upcoming ARCP on the main page of their portfolio. This gives them plenty of notice to prepare for this. All panel members are added to panel meetings and will be able to access the appropriate trainees portfolios on that day using their own login credentials. Panel members are automatically given access to FishBase 2 weeks before the panel meeting and access is removed 4 weeks after.

Setting Panel dates

On the left drop-down under Database you will see Panel Meetings. This is where the list of all Panels will be. These can be filtered and new dates can be added by clicking ‘New Panel Meeting’. I would recommend adding all of your panel dates up to at least 18 months in advance so you can put your trainees into these ‘panels’.

Adding Trainees to a Panel

There are several ways to do this. The first way is to open an existing panel meeting from the ‘Panel meetings’ list, then click ‘Panel subject’ and add the trainee you wish to add. You can then also select why you are doing an ARCP on this trainee, annual, OC5 etc.

Another way to add a trainee to a Panel is when you are doing their ARCP, the last question is ‘date of their next ARCP’. This will give you a dropdown of all the upcoming ARCPs and you can add them to this at this point and they will automatically be placed in that upcoming ARCP.

Another way is through ‘Panel Report’ which is underneath Panel meetings on the left menu. You can run one of the pre-configured report or create your own. The report will give you a filterable list of trainees which you can allocate or move dates if required. One helpful filter is ‘No future panel date and ESR with ARCP requested’. This will bring you up a list of trainees that are not due an ARCP but who have had Unsatisfactory or POR in their last ESR. These trainees can then be allocated a Panel sooner if required.

Adding Panel Members to a Panel

Any ES/PD/AD that you want to add as a panel member must have that ‘job’ attributed to their account. To give this person a role as panel member, you must first click on People, find the person in question and scroll down to where it says ‘Jobs for ……..’. Click on New job and then assign them the role that they may take in the panel, be it member or chair or lay rep. You can ignore the dates and grade and discipline. You should however enter the organisation which would be the deanery you are working in. (you only need to do this once)

Now that that person has that ‘job’ they can be assigned as a panel member. Go back to the panel meeting that they will be a member for and click on ‘Panel member’. You can then confirm their role in that panel before adding them.

The panel chair will have access to the list two weeks before and four weeks after the ARCP, they will be required to sign each of the certificates. As soon as the chair signs the certificate the trainee will get an email to let them know that their ARCP certificate has been produced and to review it. Admin, members and the chair can all write the certificate. Once the panel chair has signed the certificate, you need to contact the GPSA team at the College and requested a roll-back for any changes.

Splitting a Panel

The list of panel members will automatically appear on each certificate that is produced for that panel. If you are running more than one panel on a day, then you will need to create a new ‘Panel meeting’ and assign the appropriate trainee and panel members. If you are doing an ARCP but need to add or remove particular members (conflict of interest etc) then click the trainees names and then ‘split’, this will set up another ARCP on the same day and you can amend the panel members for that panel.

Panel chair sign off

To sign off the ARCP, you must be assigned as the panel meeting’s chair and the form must be submitted. Once you’re ready to sign, go to ‘Database’ and ‘Panel meetings’. Click ‘View’ to open a specific meeting, then click the trainee’s name. You will see the chair sign off at the end of the form – click ‘sign off this review’ to complete the sign off. The ARCP will be then released to the trainee, ready for their sign-off.

The FishBase introduction PDF and PowerPoint slides are available to download for image context.

Setting up ARCPs

Managing multiple ARCPs

Guide for ARCP Panel members