Newly Qualified Pharmacist (NQP) Development and Support Scheme
Frequently asked questions - March 2019
What are the benefits to a Newly Qualified Pharmacist (NQP) undertaking the scheme?
The scheme supports NQPs through the early years of the career or pharmacists who have recently moved into hospital pharmacy practice from another setting. The scheme provides a structure to help pharmacists to improve their skills with support from mentors (local practice supervisors), improving their confidence and identifying areas where further support might be needed. It helps the NQP to plan and structure their own development.
What are the benefits to the department of an NQP undertaking the scheme?
The scheme provides a structured approach to induction and self development. By providing support at the transition stage, it enables the pharmacist to gain skills and confidence within their role. Department managers gain an assurance that the pharmacist is working under supervision, working appropriately and developing into their role.
Is there any benefit to an NQP undertaking the scheme if they’re likely to start the diploma in a few months’ time?
The NQP scheme has been funded to support those who are newly registered who are not undertaking diploma (for whatever reason) to support them in their transition from pre-reg to pharmacist. If they have not secured a place on the diploma or if they are not starting for a year then they should be encouraged to apply. For those who are definitely planning to start their diploma within the next 12 months it is best for them not to start the scheme. This is because the scheme takes a few weeks/months to start and set up each individual (on e-portfolio, allocate their mentor, arrange site visits etc.), and by that time they should start to focus on the requirements of their diploma.
Is the two hours a fortnight for self-directed study compulsory? How do we justify this when students enrolled in other courses may not get any allocated study time?
We expect organisations to support their trainees to meet the requirements of the scheme. This is also to make it consistent and fair for all on the scheme. Induction is a compulsory requirement for all NHS staff and this scheme provides a higher level induction. Study time includes appraisals and Supervised Learning Events (SLEs), which are also necessary as part of the departmental service governance. Therefore it is not unreasonable to allow the NQP two hours per fortnight.
Can NQPs study in their own time?
NQPs should receive two hours per fortnight study time during work hours. However they may wish to study further and this may be in their own time.
Will the NQPs have to attend face to face study days?
There are no face to face study days as part of this scheme. Learning is undertaken in the workplace with local support and SLEs. As part of the scheme NQPs are encouraged to reflect on their practice, identify their learning gaps and close those gaps. This may include local resources, attending workshops and study days, completing e-learning and other learning programmes, self-study, or discussion with colleagues. This will mean that each NQPs experience of the scheme will be different depending on their knowledge and skills and rotations.
Will the NQPs on the scheme get to network with others from other sites?
There is no formal networking provided as part of this scheme. However NQPs will get the opportunity to link in with others on the scheme through the VLE (or Moodle) or through other NQPs completing the scheme from their own organisation.
What is the cost of the scheme?
There is no cost to an organisation. The scheme is centrally funded by Health Education England (South).
Is there any financial incentive for employers to put NQPs on the scheme?
There are no financial rewards for putting NQPs on the scheme, but there will be internal efficiencies by ensuring their transition from pre-reg to pharmacist is supported and participation may help recruitment.
Can we utilise the scheme for pharmacists who are not yet undertaking the diploma but do not meet the other NQP criteria, e.g. if they’ve been qualified for more than a year?
Although the scheme is primarily funded to support NQP it may still be appropriate for early years pharmacists who have been qualified longer or who have moved settings. Please discuss these individuals with one of the NQP Training Programme Directors who will advise on a case by case basis.
What about NQP who are working in community pharmacy or other settings?
The first participants in the scheme are from hospital pharmacies. However as the scheme develops there is the potential to include participants from other settings. We will be liaising with CCGs, community trusts and community pharmacies in order to incorporate their needs in the future, depending on funding availability for the scheme.
Is the framework flexible? Will this scheme complement our local training plans or does it have to be followed exactly according to the stated timelines?
The framework is set out to reflect the first year of practice for most pharmacists. It is likely to be very similar to local induction and training plans. The framework should be followed quite closely for the first three months but thereafter can be more flexible according to rotations. It is assumed that all participants will undertake clinical and dispensary duties and the SLEs will be chosen and scheduled accordingly. The framework is flexible enough to accommodate individual learning needs, which may mean that NQPs at the same base are undertaking different tasks accordingly.
What are the expectations of the mentors and practice supervisors? Does this scheme mean extra work for them? How much 'extra' time will this be?
Mentors and local practice supervisors will support the NQP in their development, providing feedback on areas of strengths and developments. They will be trained in the clinical area and will work with the NQP as part of usual business. It is not anticipated the scheme will require significant extra work for the local practice supervisors as SLEs and support is part of their existing role. For a full description of the different roles within the scheme please see the NQP handbook.
Do the mentors have to attend any face to face training?
There are currently no plans for face to face training for mentors. The delivery and assessment methods of this scheme are very similar to those used by the local practice supervisors within other programmes. Training Programme Directors can provide support on an individual basis where necessary. There are resources to provide general advice and support within the VLE (or Moodle). If any additional training is required through the development of the scheme, this will likely be via a webinar.
Can the mentor access the NQPs evidence on the e-portfolio?
The mentor should not need to access the NQP’s evidence, which should be reviewed and feedback provided before upload by the NQP. There may be occasions where a mentor is required to witness evidence, but this is easily managed via the VQ Manager.
How does the external educational supervision work?
External supervision is provided by one of the NQP Training Programme Directors (TPD). They provide information on the scheme; support both NQP and mentors and review the quality of the evidence. They also review the delivery of and the quality of evidence for the scheme overall. External support may be face to face or provided remotely.
How many times will the TPD visit the NQP at their base? Who needs to be involved in these visits?
This depends on the needs of the individual NQP and their mentor. The Training Programme Director is likely to visit each site during the first few weeks of the NQP starting the scheme.
The Training Programme Director will keep in contact with their NQP and will provide support to the mentor. The NQP will be expected to liaise with their mentor regarding any catch ups or visits.
Does the scheme mean the NQPs have to provide evidence twice, both in house and again to the TPD?
A single piece of evidence is produced each time. The assessments are carried out by the local practice supervisors with feedback given to the NQP. The NQP is responsible for uploading a copy of the evidence for review by their TPD.
How will this pilot feed into the National work looking at foundation pharmacist education & training?
The pilot scheme is based on the RPS Foundation Pharmacy Framework. The results of the pilot year will contribute to the future development of the national scheme.
Who should I contact for more details about the scheme and how to apply?
Please contact your local Training Programme Director. There are three Training Programme Directors across the patch, roughly allocated by geography. Currently they are allocated as follows:-
Cate Dawes covers Cornwall and Devon.
Anne Cole covers Avon, Somerset, North Somerset, Bath, Gloucestershire, West Dorset and North Wiltshire.
Amanda Cooper covers Thames Valley, Hampshire, IOW, East Dorset and South Wiltshire.
What are the benefits to a Newly Qualified Pharmacist (NQP) undertaking the scheme?