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Here to help: questions raised

Jocelyn Pryce, Head of Registration and Training at the IBMS, discusses issues around the laboratory approval process.

As you may remember from a recent article, we are reviewing the laboratory approval process to make it more user-friendly. In order to ensure that we have all perspectives, a short-life working group was organised to allow members from all over the country to have an input.

There have been some interesting questions raised in the discussions that have taken place over the last few months, so I thought it might be useful to answer them to a wider audience.

As verification and examination falls under my remit as Head of Registration and Training, I read all reports submitted by verifiers and examiners following their visits. One comment was that verifiers and examiners do not receive feedback, and this was seen as an issue.

In fact, I do respond in cases where a response is necessary, or where an inexperienced verifier/examiner has requested feedback to ensure they are consistent with our criteria.

I also follow up any issues raised by either the verifier/examiner or the laboratory. This has resulted in numerous conversations with verifiers/examiners who have not conducted the visits in the expected way and I’ve investigated the training carried out in labs where a verifier/examiner has highlighted an issue. The investigations, once all the information is gathered in, are then presented to the Education and Professional Standards Committee under Incident Reporting, a standing item on the agenda. Details of the incidents reported will then be included in the Annual Monitoring Report that we, as an education provider, are required to submit to the HCPC and which demonstrates we have a robust monitoring process in place.

In addition to the examples given above, the Education Team and I will also go back to verifiers/examiners who do not supply enough information on the forms they submit or breach on the submission deadlines. The quality of information on the reports differs greatly. Some verifiers/examiners list the evidence supplied, for example “a witness statement, a personal statement and a document” and, of course, this is not descriptive enough for us to draw any conclusions about the quality of evidence produced by the candidate. From the description we should be able to conclude that a variety of evidence types have been used, that they were appropriate for the standards they have been chosen for and that they are of acceptable quality. So, a short sentence describing the evidence type, what it shows and how well it works would be excellent. You, as verifiers, are our eyes and ears in the labs you visit, and any information you can give us allows us to build a better picture.

And finally, one of the questions was whether verifiers/examiners were allowed to copy and paste comments from one report to another. Many of our prolific verifiers copy and paste comments for speed, however, they ensure that they are appropriate to the candidate and situation and providing each report portrays the situation accurately, then we are completely happy with appropriate comments being “recycled”.

I hope that by answering these questions here it helps answer some of the questions that you, as verifiers/examiners, might have about the internal monitoring processes.

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