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HCPC standards of education and training

Alan Wainwright, IBMS Executive Head of Education, summarises revisions that are due to be implemented following an audit. 


The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) has Standards of Education and Training (SETs) against which they approve programmes and make sure that a learner who completes the programmes meets the standards of proficiency for their profession, thereby becoming eligible to apply for HCPC registration.

The IBMS provides five HCPC-approved education routes towards registration of biomedical scientists and clinical scientists with the HCPC (more information can be found on the website).

Each year the HCPC conducts an audit to ensure ongoing compliance with the SETs, which were last revised in 2017. This year the HCPC also asked for extra evidence to show how we monitored practice-based learning, how service users and carers have been involved in the programme and its effectiveness, as well as feedback from relevant programme stakeholders relating to these areas, and how we have used this to make improvements.

In responding to the audit, a number of revisions were identified for the IBMS processes that will be implemented from September 2019. These are primarily to the registration training portfolio, application forms and verification/monitoring forms. A brief summary is provided below. Please note they will only affect those who enrol on programmes from September 2019. They do not affect those who are allocated portfolios before this date.

SET 3.6 There must be an effective process in place to ensure availability and capacity of practice-based learning for all learners.

Accredited degrees containing the Registration Training Portfolio have processes for agreeing training capacity with employers each year and this is checked through the annual monitoring process. The other IBMS programmes apply to those who are in employment so capacity for practice-based learning is embedded in their IBMS-approved training programmes. In the case of the equivalence routes for biomedical scientists and clinical scientists, evidence they meet the standards of proficiency comes from prior learning, training and experience.  

SET 3.8 Learners must be involved in the programme.
Learners are already able to feed into our programmes in a number of ways, for example: student involvement during accreditation visits, as student representatives on university programmes, feedback on the external verification process. We also follow up any electronic feedback we receive and include any suggestions in the discussions and reviews that regularly take place within the IBMS education team and inform revisions to our processes and guidance information.

SET 3.16 There must be thorough and effective processes in place for ensuring the ongoing suitability of learners’ conduct, character and health.

SET 4.2 The learning outcomes must ensure that learners understand and are able to meet the expectations of professional behaviour, including the standards of conduct, performance and ethics.

SET 6.2 Assessment throughout the programme must ensure that learners demonstrate they are able to meet the expectations of professional behaviour, including the standards of conduct, performance and ethics.

Knowledge and understanding of the expectations of professional behaviour (informed by the IBMS code of conduct) and the HCPC standards of conduct, performance and ethics have always been fundamental to training of biomedical scientists, and these standards are already being met in a number of ways. There is now greater emphasis on not just knowing but demonstrating application in practice. Greater signposting of the requirement of evidence will be introduced, together with monitoring of compliance through the portfolio verification application form and the External Verifiers Report.  

SET 3.17 There must be an effective process in place to support and enable learners to raise concerns about the safety and wellbeing of service users.

Crucial to this SET is demonstration of supporting learners if they wish to make a complaint. To strengthen how this SET is met, external verifiers will question trainee biomedical scientists about this on external verification visits. Trainees will also be required to complete a Points of Contact section within the Registration Portfolio for all programmes.

SET 4.9 The programme must ensure that learners are able to learn with, and from, professionals and learners in other relevant professions.

Interprofessional interaction and learning is fundamental to our programmes due to the interprofessional working of biomedical scientists within the pathology team and wider healthcare community. However, this SET is now about learners having the opportunity to learn from professionals and learners from other relevant professions.

To strengthen the assessment a mandatory reflective statement requiring candidates to comment on what they have learned from other professionals will be introduced in 2019 for completion of the Registration Portfolio in all programmes.

These changes are essential to the IBMS maintaining its HCPC approval status as an education provider and demonstrates a commitment to ensure those who qualify to become registered healthcare professional through the IBMS are able to practise their profession safely and effectively.   


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