Placements: preparation of trainees
Whilst the quality of available placements needs to be assured, the programme also has a responsibility to assure that the trainees it sends on placement are appropriately prepared and fit to work with the public in the services to which they are being sent. Whilst trainees are carefully supervised, they do offer a clinical service to the public under that supervision. Therefore, the following measures are taken to ensure trainees are safe and ready to practise on placement.
Disclosure and Barring Service
All trainees should have appropriate clearances for the services in which they work. In effect, this means that all need to have clearance from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) before the start of the training programme. If any convictions or cautions are identified by the DBS clearance process, then a Fitness to Practise Panel will be convened to address this and determine whether the trainee can begin to train, and if any additional safeguards or conditions are necessary. In addition, trainees will have appropriate occupational health clearance carried out by the employing NHS trust at the start of their employment, to determine that they are capable of carrying out the duties of a clinical psychologist.
All trainees will have completed appropriate mandatory training (including, in the case of the first placement, training during their induction period so that they complete the mandatory training required to enable them to engage in autonomous client contact on placement). This is done in conjunction with the employing trust to assure that the preparation of trainees is compliant with NHS Litigation Authority and Care Quality Commission standards for NHS staff engaged in the (supervised) level of work of a trainee clinical psychologist. Completion of this mandatory training is monitored and recorded by the Programme Assistant (Teaching), and an exception report is made to the employing trust (Lancashire Care Foundation NHS Trust) on a bi-annual basis (every May and November). In addition, trainees are made familiar with the HCPC Standards of Conduct, Performance & Ethics, which form a central and key part of their taught curriculum during their induction to the programme and prior to their first placement (in addition to the standards of conduct recommended by the British Psychological Society).
Before trainees start their first placement, they undertake a month long induction programme of teaching and learning, within which there is a significant proportion of the curriculum devoted to preparing them for active clinical practice on their first placement.
Previous placement failure or previous placement incomplete
Where a previous supervisor's assessment of trainee (SAT) form recommends a fail, a plan would be put in place to address/ support the trainee in making sure their practice on the planned placement was of an acceptable standard, by making an explicit, specific set of targets for the trainees to demonstrate the necessary standards. This would include having a planned programme of education or support in place to address any trainee support or learning needs identified.
Where a previous placement has not been completed, for example through illness or intercalation, a similar plan or process to address their needs would be put in place. Both of these plans would be formulated by the designated clinical tutor, in liaison with the trainee and the Clinical Director.
Fitness to practice
If it has been deemed appropriate to withdraw the trainee from a practice placement, then a subsequent placement allocation will not be made until fitness to practice procedures are complete (although plans for timely allocation, to be made as soon as these issues are resolved, may well be made). Should the fitness to practise process be complete, the outcomes of that process will provide for any necessary plans to be put in place to address and resolve the concerns that gave rise to these procedures, as well as to support the trainee around these issues. More details are available in the Fitness to practise section of this handbook (see appendix below).
Plans will also be put in place for trainees where there are any reasonable adjustments that might need to be made by the practice placement providers and educators when providing a placement to a trainee. Guidance will be sought from Occupational Health and student support services regarding the necessary adjustments. This is consistent with the programme's Inclusivity agenda. This is also in compliance with the Disability Discrimination Act (2005) and the Equality Act (2010).