ARCP and panel meetings demystified

ARCP AND PANEL MEETINGS DEMYSTIFIED

All doctors occupying a Specialty Training Post are required to undertake a yearly assessment of their progress – Annual Review of Competence Progression (ARCP). The annual review will confirm the progress of the specialty trainee through the training programme, followed by a documented recommendation for the following year. Dr Hana Patel, discusses why the ARCP is important and how to prepare for an ARCP meeting – both virtual and face to face.

ARCP

The purpose of the annual review of competence progression (ARCP) is a formal process using the evidence gathered by the GP trainee relating to his/her progress in the training programme. It enables the trainee, the postgraduate dean and employers to document that the competencies required are being gained at an appropriate rate and through appropriate experience.

What type of supporting evidence are GP trainees expected to demonstrate in their ePortfolios in anticipation of the ARCP?

Your educational supervisor (ES), clinical supervisor (CS) and training programme director (TPD) encourage you to keep on top of your ePortfolio because this is the only way of demonstrating to Health Education England (HEE), who are responsible for managing the ARCP process, that you are competent to progress to the next stage of your training/completion of your training. Box 1 outlines the information sought by HEE as part of the ARCP process. It is the responsibility of trainees to ensure that documentary evidence submitted is complete.

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Box 1. Evidence required as part of the ARCP process.

Box 1. Evidence required as part of the ARCP process.

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The role of the educational supervisor’s report?

The educational supervisor’s report (ESR) is a structured report prepared by your ES to provide a summary of progress and includes collation of the results of the required Workplace-based Assessments. ESR reports are required at 6-monthly intervals, although slightly different for trainees on sick leave, maternity leave or out-of-programme. Using triangulation of evidence of progression in training and professional judgement, the ESR report for the ARCP has a number of aims, outlined in Box 2.

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Box 2. Aims of ESR report.

Box 2. Aims of ESR report.

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It is the ES’s responsibility to discuss the findings of the ESR with their trainee in a timely, honest manner. Sometimes this is not possible, and the ARCP panel should be made aware of the reason prior to the panel meeting. It is the trainee’s responsibility to listen and raise any concerns or issues they have promptly before agreeing the actions required to move forward.

What is a Form R?

Before each ARCP panel, it is mandatory for trainees to complete and attach a form R to their ePortfolio. Trainees usually enter this under an Academic Activity Heading and share this so it can be seen by the ARCP panel. The Form R is comprised of two parts – Part A is the trainee registration form, in which trainees confirm their contact details and information about their posts. This is to ensure that HEE and the GMC have the most up-to-date information for trainees. Part B is a self-declaration form and used for revalidation purposes for trainees. Trainees must here declare any fitness to practice concerns – that is, any significant events, complaints or other investigations that they have been named in, and/or any GMC conditions, warnings or undertakings given.

What should I do if I am called to an ARCP panel?

If you are making unsatisfactory progress or are one of the 10% of trainees chosen at random by the RCGP for their quality assurance process, you may be called to appear before the ARCP panel to establish whether you can proceed with your training.

You should be prepared for one of several outcomes as detailed in Box 3.

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Box 3. Potential recommendations made at an ARCP meeting.

Box 3. Potential recommendations made at an ARCP meeting.

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The panel, organised by HEE, consists of at least three panel members made up from the following: the GP Dean or Deputy GP Dean, an Associate Director, a Programme Director or a Trainer. The meeting can last between 20 minutes and an hour depending on the trainee and the reason for the ARCP meeting. This formal meeting can be difficult for some trainees and create anxiety. The meetings are designed to be supportive to the trainee’s educational needs and to offer support and advice with signposting to a variety of helpful resources.

Trainees are advised to make their own notes although usually one of the panel members writes a brief synopsis of the meeting. The trainee is then asked to listen to the synopsis and the conclusions and outcome before signing to demonstrate that they have been advised of the outcome. They are not signing to agree with the outcome, but rather that they have been advised of the outcome. A trainee’s signature at this meeting does not alter their right to request a review or appeal.

The trainee’s TPD and ES are both notified of the outcome of the ARCP meeting, and usually meet with the trainee to discuss the outcome and plan the next part of their training, documenting the plan fully in the trainee’s ePortfolio. The ES will use the comments and plan following the ARCP meeting to assist the trainee in further educational reviews and Workplace-based Assessments.

References and further information

  A Reference Guide for Postgraduate Specialty Training in the UK. The Gold Guide. 7th ed. Version. GG6.FEB 2017. Available at: www.copmed.org.uk/images/docs/gold_guide_7th_edition/The_Gold_Guide_7th_Edition_January__2018.pdf (accessed 13 July 2018).
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  General Medical Council (2012). Continuing professional development: Guidance for all doctors. Available at: www.gmc-uk.org/Continuing_professional_development___guidance_for_all_doctors_0612.pdf_56438625.pdf (accessed 6 July 2018).
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  RCGP. Core statement 1: Being a general practitioner. Available at: www.rcgp.org.uk/training-exams/training/gp-curriculum-overview/online-curriculum/1-being-a-gp.aspx (accessed 6 August 2018).
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Conclusion: Any final tips? The paperwork and formal processes encountered as a GP trainee can stand you in good stead for a future in general practice. The process of maintaining a GP ePortfolio for appraisal and revalidation purposes, collating mandatory training evidence and continuing professional development are currently lifelong requirements for practicing GPs. If you are finding it difficult to keep on top of your ePortfolio, highlight issues early on and ask your ES and TPD for help and support.
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