Overhaul of assessments planned

A PILOT scheme to trial a new system of workplace based assessments for trainees is being launched next month.

The Joint Royal Colleges of Physicians’ Training Board is beginning a one-year pilot in August with a view to changing the current system in August 2013.

The trial will take place in three deaneries – East Midlands, Northern and Wales – in 10 different specialties. The specialties are a mix in size and include core medical training, acute internal medicine and clinical genetics.

Details have yet to be finalised about the number and types of assessments and of the key competencies to be sampled.

Under the new system, workplace based assessments (WPBAs) will be confidential between the trainee and their educational and clinical supervisors and will not be made available to Annual Review of Competence Progression (ARCP) panels. WPBAs will also be renamed as supervised learning events, or SLEs.

Another change means assessments of performance will count for progression in the pilots and will be trainer-led and assessed. The board did admit, however, that assessments of performance may not be suitable for all specialties and all years.

The pilots will also include simplified assessment forms, new direct observation of procedural skills (DOPS) guidance, and a clinical supervisor reporting tool, all of which will be introduced in all specialties in August 2012.

Evaluation of the pilots will be carried out in November 2012, February 2013 and July 2013 and will initially look at feasibility and acceptability, using questionnaire feedback from trainees, clinical educational supervisors and training programme directors. If successful, the pilots will be rolled out across all specialties in August 2013.