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Flexible portfolio training

What we have produced

Flexible portfolio training (FPT) is a pilot initiative within higher specialty training offered by Health Education England and the Royal College of Physicians that protects 1 day a week (or 20% time equivalent) for professional development.

Background

Flexible portfolio training came from Health Education England’s working group on Enhancing Junior Doctors’ Working Lives. This group was established in 2016 to address issues impacting doctors in training and specifically their quality of life. The scheme stemmed from the experiences of previous medical registrars, who felt protected time for professional development would improve the quality of their training. The Royal College of Physicians are thrilled to be involved in such a worthwhile project and were part of the initial inception.

FPT is one approach to meet the demand for flexible working, while supporting hard to recruit specialties in hard to fill areas. Each region has separate requirements and therefore FPT looks a little different in each area.

If you have any queries about FPT, contact flexibleportfoliotraining@rcp.ac.uk

Aims of the FPT programme

FPT aims to:

  • improve patient care
  • improve morale and wellbeing
  • protect against burnout
  • respond to the desire to train flexibly
  • promote non-clinical professional development and portfolio careers
  • improve recruitment and retention of medical registrars
  • develop well-rounded clinicians
  • benefit trusts with service improvement and innovation.

Details of the FPT programme

The training scheme is an opportunity for trainees to engage in meaningful project work that will benefit their non-clinical professional development. It acts as the perfect complement to clinical training, providing protected time away from clinical medicine to pursue other avenues.

A flexible portfolio trainee’s non-clinical day will be focused on one of four pathways:

  • clinical informatics pathway
  • medical education pathway
  • quality improvement pathway
  • research pathway

Each pathway is made up of six capabilities, underpinned by descriptors, and followed by illustrative professional activities that might be used to evidence the outcome descriptors. Pathways describe a structured framework of activities a trainee might sample and undertake developing a range of experiences and are not intended to be exhaustive in their implementation.

The pathways accommodate trainees entering with a wide range of prior experience. Trainees will spend a minimum of one year on their pathway, with the option to continue for the duration of their higher specialty training (subject to satisfactory progress and Annual Review of Competence Progression outcome).

Trainees have previously been appointed to this pilot scheme through ST3 recruitment, preferencing the FPT option where available. The changing curriculum means that this route is no longer available, and we are currently exploring future recruitment options with key stakeholders. We will update the website when more information becomes available but please get in touch if you have any queries.

Participating specialties and regions

Please note that London and the Thames Valley are not participating in the scheme as they are not hard to recruit areas.

FPT documents

If you would like to see what our FPT trainees have been doing, please look at our case studies:

Case Studies 266.99 KB

The factsheet summarises the scheme and can be printed and put up on noticeboards around your hospital:

Factsheet 201.84 KB

A collection of frequently asked questions:

FAQs 2021.pdf 132.64 KB

A complete guide to FPT, including the pathways, information for trainees and supervisors and other key details:

Forms for current FPT trainees to use during supervisor meetings:

Trainee Forms 754.04 KB

A table for FPT trainees containing information on and links to relevant resources, categorised for each pathway:

Every pathway is made up of six capabilities, each of which is underpinned by descriptors, and followed by illustrative professional activities that might be used to evidence the outcome descriptors. Pathways describe a structured framework of activities a trainee might sample and undertake developing a range of experiences and are not intended to be exhaustive in their implementation