Quality Panels

  

Contents
1. What are Quality Panels Quality Panel Rationale 
2. Key Roles Key roles in the Quality Panel process
3. Organisation

What should Quality Panel ‘look’ like? 

When should Quality Panels take place? 

Who organises the Quality Panel? 

4. Gather 'intelligence' and investigate

Routine ‘intelligence’ 

What to do when ‘intelligence’ is limited 

Investigate findings 

5. Holding your Quality Panel Participation 
6. Grades Grade descriptors
7. Reporting Reporting responsibilities and timeframes 
8. Progressing and monitoring actions Responsibilities and timeframes 
9. Useful Resources

Overview of Quality Panels

Learner Information - Quality Panels

Assessment Aid

Escalating Concerns form

Outcome Report Tool

 

1. What are Quality Panels

 

A key mechanism to understand the quality of the education and training is assessed through a quality panel. The South West Quality Panels are an annual review of the quality of all posts/locations.

If you have any questions about quality panels, please contact us: england.qualitypanels.sw@nhs.net

Why 

To explore education and training across a specific geographical area:

-    Emphasising the importance and promoting the development of a quality learning environment for all learners.

-    Supporting the implementation and delivery of the HEE* Quality Framework across all placements.

Quality Panels enable us to recognise a department’s commitment to education (excellent and good), and to promulgate best practice.

Where appropriate, they provide us with evidence where support or action is required to raise the standard of a post to HEE* and regulatory requirements (gradings of Requires Improvement and Inadequate). 

What 

Virtual ‘focus group’ meetings with learners, unless there is good reason for them to take place face to face. 

Where 

They may be hosted by relevant Organisations/Trusts, or they may be region wide, dependent on the distribution of learners.  

Who 

Small team with clinical input: Facilitator, Programme Leads, and Learners. 

Outcome 

Understanding of common concerns across multiple locations and where there are location-specific issues; allows comparison of quality across the local office patch. 

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2. Key Roles

 

Throughout this page, we refer to various functions/roles:

 

  • The Quality Team

The Quality Team works across the South West to ensure that all learners are provided with a high quality experience within a good learning environment, in accordance with the Standards of the HEE* Quality Framework and of various other Regulators.

Throughout the quality management process HEE* works with various bodies, including learners and local education providers, to ensure that each learner receives the necessary support, guidance, and training to aid their personal and professional development.

The Quality Panel process has been designed by the Quality Team to assist in recognising a department’s commitment to education and, where appropriate, provides evidence of where support or action is required to raise the standard of the post.

If you have any questions or comments about the process, please email us at england.qualitypanels.sw@nhs.net.

  • Programme Team Lead: Heads of School, Head of Nursing, Head of Advanced Practice.

Programme Teams Leads focus upon improvement of learner supervision, assessment and experience, engagement of faculty and ensuring effective educational outcomes, both now and in the future.

  • Programme Lead: Supervision and Assessment Leads, Training Programme Directors, Foundation Programme Directors, GP Associate Deans.

Programme Leads have a key role in managing the education programme throughout the year. The fundamental role is that of coordinator and communicator between learners, the Regional Postgraduate Dean, Specialty Training Committee, appropriate Royal College or Faculty, and placement provider, as applicable.

  • Programme Manager/Coordinator: Education Programme Managers/Coordinators, GP Patch Administrators, Foundation Programme Coordinators, and Project Support Officers.

Programme Managers and coordinators have a key role in managing the operational delivery of education programmes. They apply and implement locally defined processes within national frameworks, policies, and guidance.

  • Placement Organisation Lead: Directors of Medical Education, Head of Nursing, Advanced Practice Lead.

Placement Organisation Leads are responsible for maintaining and developing the profile of education and training within their provider organisation, ensuring quality control processes of training to local, regional, and national standards.

  • Facilitator: A Lay Representative or other individual external to the Programme.

As a neutral third party, the facilitator helps participants to understand their common objective and encourages participation and learning from individual and shared experiences and information.

  • Learners: The individuals invited to provide feedback on the placements/posts/locations they/their peers have experienced.
  • Note taker: The individual responsible for recording and submitting the grades, recommendations and actions coming from the Quality Panel via the Outcome Report Tool.

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3. Organisation

 

What should my Quality Panel ‘look’ like?

Our expectation is that Quality Panels will take place virtually, unless there is good reason for them to take place face to face. This is to provide equity of access to panel members and encourage as many learners to attend as possible.

Quality Panels should be composed to encourage open communication, feedback, and discussion; those attending should feel comfortable in expressing their views in front of the other group members. Learners may feel inhibited by those in authority.

With the above in mind, Quality Panel participation should be limited to:

 

Learner Representation

Quality Panels should have learner representation for every placement/post/location.

However, if this is not possible due to large numbers etc, representatives should be identified to explore education and training activity within a given location or area.

If you have insufficient representation to be able to discuss and agree a grade for a placement/post/location it will be designated ‘ungraded’ at the Quality Panel. For these placements/posts/locations, representation must be present at the following years Quality Panel.

 

When should it take place?

Quality Panels should happen annually. They can take place at any point in the year, appropriate for the Programme. Those arranging the panel should be mindful of when learners rotate and time the panel to allow for useful feedback to be received from as many learners in each post.

The timing of the panel should also allow for the timely review of ‘intelligence’.

The amount of time needed for a Quality Panel varies; most can be completed within 2 hours.

It is important for there to be sufficient time for each post to be discussed. For ease of reporting, posts should be grouped by Organisation and Site, then by Placement/Post Specialty area.

 

Who organises it?

The Quality Team have a fundamental role in the organisation of a Quality Panel.

However, direction should come from the relevant Programme Lead.

Programme Lead

- Identifies a date for the Quality Panel to take place

- Identify participants

- Identifies a learner that will act as Note Taker and be responsible for recording and submitting the recommendations and actions coming from the Quality Panel via the Outcome Report Tool

Quality Team

- Sends invites

- Identifies and confirms a Facilitator for the Quality Panel

- Ensures the Quality Team has all relevant dates

- Agrees an agenda with the Programme Lead

- Creates the agenda and disseminates it to confirmed attendees

- Disseminates the outcome report tool link to the note taker

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4. Gather 'intelligence' and investigate

 

Programme Leads should review any relevant ‘intelligence’ pertaining to their programme in advance of the panel, so that this can inform the Quality Panel discussion.

‘Intelligence’ available to the Quality Team will be collated for Programme Leads to access via the Quality Panel SharePoint site.  If you require access to this site, please email us at england.qualitypanels.sw@nhs.net.

If potential areas of concern are identified during this process that have not previously been explored, the Programme Lead will need to ensure these are appropriately discussed at the Quality Panel.

Please remember: Quality Panels should be conversational and focused on current education and training experiences; the ‘intelligence’ should inform not lead this conversation.

 

Routine ‘Intelligence’

The previous year’s Quality Panel report, to ensure actions have been completed.

Surveys: National survey feedback i.e., GMC NTS, the NETS, and surveys run by Royal Colleges etc.

Jan Feb Mar  Apr  May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct   Nov Dec
  NETS results available NTS live   NTS results available     NETS live  

If you do not have sufficient learner numbers for national reporting (3 or more in a Programme or location) we do not advocate additional surveying for Quality Panels. In these circumstances, all learners should be invited to the Quality Panel or, if this is not possible, Learner Representatives should be used to obtain feedback, see below.

Other: If applicable, Quality Register entries, School visit reports, Triggered visit reports, GP visit reports, ARCP data and Feedback.

 

There isn’t much ‘intelligence’ available for my Programme

It is a common misconception that Quality Panels can only take place when informed by ‘intelligence’.

One of the issues Quality Panels were designed to address is a lack of ‘intelligence’ for some posts/locations; for these they provide an opportunity to obtain feedback on current education and training experiences through conversation.

Learner Representatives may be utilised to obtain ‘peer feedback’ by canvassing their colleagues, who have experience of other posts/locations, using the Assessment Aid.

However, this is only encouraged where it is not possible to have all learners at the Quality Panel or where specific issues of concern need to be explored in advance.

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5. Holding your Quality Panel

 

A successful Quality Panel will be conversational and result in clear recommendations, with posts/locations ‘graded’ as per the descriptor. It will enable us to understand common concerns across multiple sites and where there are site-specific issues, allowing comparison of quality across the local office patch.

The Assessment Aid may assist you in assessing posts/locations.

As explained previously, Quality Panels should be composed to encourage open communication, feedback, and discussion. Expectations around participation are given in the table below.

The Facilitator

- Establishes ground rules

- Sets the scene, explaining the purpose of the Quality Panel

- Keeps the Quality Panel to time and focussed

- Listens, engages, and includes - encourages participation from all participants

- Summarises discussions from time to time to check appropriate understanding of participants’ comments

- Ensures all key issues are addressed

Programme Lead

- Gives a balanced view from an educational perspective

- Feedbacks on recent national surveys and other sources of intelligence

- Presents ‘investigation’ findings, if applicable

Learners - Gives a balanced view of the placements they/their peers have experienced
Note Taker - Records and submits the grades, recommendations and actions coming from the Quality Panel via the Outcome Report Tool
Programme
Manager/Coordinator

For most Programmes we would not expect the Programme Manager/Coordinator to attend.


However, it is accepted that some Programmes have arrangements in place to facilitate Note Taking via their administrative team e.g. General Practice Patch Administrators, Foundation Programme Coordinators.


How do we discuss and record Bullying, Undermining, or Discriminatory feedback?

NHS England, working across the South West, takes any allegations of bullying, undermining and discrimination seriously and has zero tolerance to such behaviour.

The following covers the process, which should be followed when issues of this nature are raised during a Quality Panel:

The Facilitator will manage the conversation so that experiences are not discussed in detail but a ‘grade’ for the post/location is agreed, if possible. Feedback documented within the Outcome Report Tool should not explicitly mention Bullying, undermining, or discriminatory experiences.

To safeguard lone learners reporting experiences of this nature, posts can be designated ‘ungraded’; the Outcome report tool enables you to ‘flag’ that Bullying, Undermining, or Discriminatory feedback has been received.

The Facilitator will ask those providing feedback relating to bullying, undermining, or discrimination to use the Escalating Concerns form. Facilitators, Programme Leads or other panel members can also escalate issues to the Quality Team via this form.

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6. Grades

 

The ‘grades’ given at a Quality Panel enable us to recognise a department’s commitment to education (excellent and good). Where appropriate, they also provide us with evidence when support or action is required to raise the standard of the post to NHS England and regulatory requirements (requires improvement and inadequate).

Please remember: Grades are given for posts/locations.

The Assessment Aid can help guide grade decisions.

Grade Descriptor
Ungraded

If you have insufficient ‘intelligence’ and/or representation to be able to discuss and agree a grade the post/location should be designated ‘ungraded’.

Please can you ensure that there is sufficient representation at the next Quality Panel to be able to review the post/location.

Posts/locations can also be designated ‘ungraded’ to safeguard lone learners reporting bullying, undermining, or discriminatory experiences; the Outcome report tool enables you to ‘flag’ posts ‘ungraded’ for this purpose.

Individuals (learners, facilitators, Programme Leads or other panel members) should use the Escalating Concerns form to report their experiences to the Quality Team.

Excellent

The panel hasn’t identified any areas of concern.

There are one or more areas identified which ought to be communicated to others to highlight good practice and where practical these should be implemented in other training environments.

Good

The panel is satisfied that the opportunities to achieve the curricular requirements necessary for a learner progression are available within the post/location.

No serious patient safety concerns have been identified. There are no current concerns about continuing to place learners in this training environment.

Requires Improvement

The panel has identified concerns that require resolution but do not make the post/location currently unfit for purpose.

The expected timeframe for addressing concerns is within the next 12 months to enable the post/location to be continued to be utilised for training. In the next 12 months leaving a learner in this post/location is not likely to compromise their progression nor significantly compromise patient safety (some adjustments may be necessary in the short term).
Inadequate

The panel has identified concerns that require resolution within a short time frame.

The expectation is that the concerns will be addressed within a 3-6 month timeframe to enable the post/location to be continued to be utilised for training. During this period specific arrangements for individual learners may be required to ensure that there is no adverse effect on their training.

If the concerns identified are not addressed within the 3-6 month timeframe, then removal of the post/location from the training programme will be considered. If urgent patient safety issues have been identified these will require definitive actions within a time frame consistent with the nature of the concern raised.

If the Panel cannot agree on a grade, the majority grade should be recorded. However, it should be documented that the decision was not unanimous, explaining the varying views.

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7. Reporting

 

The role of the Note Taker in reporting

As explained previously, the Note Taker is responsible for submitting the grades, recommendations, and actions arising from the Quality Panel via the provided Outcome Report Tool.

It is important that the text submitted be written in such a way that anonymity is protected. In some circumstances, however, anonymity cannot be guaranteed. For example, if they are the only learner on the programme at the location being reported upon or are the only learner of a particular grade.

If issues of bullying, undermining or discrimination are raised, the Facilitator will explain the process and manage the conversation so that experiences are not discussed in detail but a ‘grade’ for the post/location is agreed, if possible. To safeguard lone learners reporting experiences of this nature posts can be designated ‘ungraded’; the Outcome report tool enables you to ‘flag’ that Bullying, Undermining, or Discriminatory feedback has been received.

Post/location feedback documented within the Outcome Report Tool should not explicitly mention Bullying, undermining, or discriminatory experiences.

The Facilitator will ask those providing feedback relating to bullying, undermining, or discrimination to use the Escalating Concerns form. Facilitators, Programme Leads or other panel members can also escalate issues to the Quality Team via this form.

 

The role of the Programme Lead in reporting

Programme Leads are required to check, amend, and approve the draft report to ensure that it accurately, and appropriately, represents the conversation and actions agreed.

 

Reporting timeframe

Following the Quality Panel Action Action Owner Recipient
Weeks 1 & 2 Submit the Outcome Report via the Tool Note Taker Quality Team
Week 3 Disseminate the draft version of the Report Quality Team Note Taker and
Programme Lead
Weeks 4 & 5 Check, amend, and approve the draft report Note Taker and Programme Lead Quality Team
Please note reports will be considered ‘final’ if we have not received feedback within the two-week period allowed.
Week 6 Disseminate the Final version of the Report Quality Team Heads of Quality, the relevant Programme Team Lead, Programme Lead, and external partners where learners are trained

Programme Manager/Coordinator

All Learners on the Programme

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8. Progressing and monitoring actions

 

As explained previously, the Quality Team will use the final report to understand common concerns across multiple locations and where there are location-specific issues, allowing comparison of quality across the local office patch.

Dependent on the level of concern, the Quality Team will monitor action outcomes via the most appropriate Quality process. For those meeting Quality thresholds, it is routine for them to be included on HEE’s* Quality Register. They may also be reported to the relevant regulator.

The Quality Team will work with Programme Leads and others where Quality Interventions e.g., a Triggered visit, or Supportive Interventions e.g., advice to providers or celebrating ‘Excellent’ graded placements/posts/locations, are necessary, to share learning.

 

The role of the Programme Lead in progressing and monitoring actions

Programme Leads have a key role in managing the education programme throughout the year. The fundamental role is that of coordinator and communicator between learners, the Regional Postgraduate Dean, Specialty Training Committee, appropriate Royal College or Faculty, and placement provider, as applicable.

Programme Leads ‘own’ the actions arising from the Quality Panel, and work with Placement Organisation Leads and others to resolve issues within the timeframes given below. The Quality Team e.g. Associate Deans may also be involved.

Please do not wait for the final version of the report before developing your action plans.

Following the Quality Panel Grade Action
Within 3 months Inadequate Confirm Action Plan with the Quality Team
Requires Improvement Confirm Action Plan with the Quality Team
Excellent or Good No Action
Within 6 months Inadequate The issue is expected to have been resolved; please advise the Quality Team of this
Requires Improvement Provide an update on the Action Plan to the Quality Team
Excellent or Good No Action
Within 12 months Inadequate The issue is expected to have been resolved
Requires Improvement The issue is expected to have been resolved; please advise the Quality Team of this
Excellent or Good The issue is expected to have been resolved

 

The role of the Learner in monitoring actions

Learners have an important role to play in holding Programme Leads to account for progressing actions. If actions are not being progressed, they should escalate to the Quality Team via the Escalating Concerns form.

 

The role of the Placement Organisation Lead in progressing and monitoring actions

Placement Organisation Leads are responsible for maintaining and developing the profile of education and training within their provider organisation, ensuring quality control processes of training to local, regional, and national standards. Whilst Programme Leads ‘own’ the actions from a Quality Panel, Placement Organisation Leads have an active role to play in delivering those actions.

 

The role of the Programme Team Lead in monitoring actions

Programme Team Leads should monitor action outcomes with Programme Leads, to ensure concerns are being addressed.

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9. Useful Resources

 

Overview of Quality Panels

- Learner Information - Quality Panels

- Assessment Aid

Escalating Concerns form

Outcome Report Tool

 

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*Please note HEE is now part of NHS England