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Workplace Based Assessments (WPBA) Code of Conduct

Published on: 12 Aug 2022

Workplace Based Assessments - Code of Conduct

Workplace Based Assessment (WPBA) is a professional capability framework and constitutes one of the three components of the Membership of the Royal College of General Practitioners (MRCGP) examination.

It is designed to evaluate a GP trainee’s progress in 13 RCGP competencies; as such, the RCGP has outlined a code of conduct for UK doctors that use the RCGP Trainee ePortfolio. This article aims to provide insight into general conduct that will be expected of you as a medical professional.

 

General Principles

The general medical council (GMC) states all licensed NHS doctors are required to adhere to a code of ethics, upholding the seven Nolan Principles as defined by the Committee on Standards in Public Life:

  1. Selflessness - Holders of public office should act solely in terms of the public interest.

  2. Integrity - Holders of public office must avoid placing themselves under any obligation to people or organisations that might try inappropriately to influence them in their work. They should not act or take decisions in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family, or their friends. They must declare and resolve any interests and relationships.

  3. Objectivity - Holders of public office must act and take decisions impartially, fairly and on merit, using the best evidence and without discrimination or bias.

  4. Accountability - Holders of public office are accountable to the public for their decisions and actions and must submit themselves to the scrutiny necessary to ensure this.

  5. Openness - Holders of public office should act and take decisions in an open and transparent manner. Information should not be withheld from the public unless there are clear and lawful reasons for so doing.

  6. Honesty - Holders of public office should be truthful.

  7. Leadership - Holders of public office should exhibit these principles in their own behaviour. They should actively promote and robustly support the principles and be willing to challenge poor behaviour wherever it occurs.

Great Place, Great Potential


What are codes of conduct?

“What does code of conduct mean?” you may wonder. Codes of practice essentially serve as guidance to support a medical doctor’s values and ensure they demonstrate expected professional behaviours when using the Trainee ePortfolio and undertaking WPBA.

Standards of conduct also apply to trainers, clinical/educational supervisors, deanery administrators and assessment leads, as well as ARCP (annual review of competence progression) panels and chairs.

 

Examples of professional codes of practice and misconduct

Fraudulent misuse of the Trainee ePortfolio is an extremely serious offense. Should a trainee’s performance in the RCGP competencies raise any concerns, doctors reviewing their WPBA have an obligation to notify the GMC; this includes any breaches of GMC codes before, during, or after assessments.

Examples of areas where code of practice may be breached are summarised in the table below; this is not an exhaustive list. 

 

Area

Examples of Misconduct

Assessment Tools

Falsifying assessment reports

Asking peers/friends/spouse/partner or other relative to complete reports

Personal and Professional Development (PDP)

Plagiarism of entries 

Falsely claiming to have completed stated educational aims 

Clinical Supervisor Report

Fabricating report 

Learning Log

Plagiarism/Sharing work 

Asking someone else to write Learning Log Entry and presenting it as own original work 

Fabricating details within a Learning Log Entry 

Falsely claiming to have undertaken eLearning Modules 

Falsely claiming to have performed OOH session 

Falsifying OOH record sheets/course certificates

Multisource Feedback (MSF)

Fabricating responses to MSF request and inserting false responses into Trainee ePortfolio 

Patient Satisfaction Questionnaire

Falsely filling in PSQ forms pretending that it was done by a patient 

Trainee uploading own PSQ forms and editing out any PSQ forms containing adverse patient comments 

Direct Observation of Procedural Skills (DOPS)

Filling out own DOPS assessment sheet 

Arranging for peer/friend/spouse/partner to complete DOPS assessment form 

Health and Probity Declarations

Making false declarations

Educational Supervisors/Deanery Employees/RCGP Employees

Inappropriately deleting evidence from or adding false evidence to a Trainee’s ePortfolio 

General

Giving false information when asked to explain suspicious actions 

Table 1 Professional Codes of Practice Examples.

Misconduct during the collection of evidence for the WPBA is generally identified by Deanery Educators or Administrators, who then report the offence to the Deanery’s Director of General Practice Education.

Ultimately, the matter will be dealt with in accordance with the Deanery’s Misconduct Procedures. Penalties for misusing the WPBA depend on the nature and severity of the offence, but may include:

  1. Removing particular assessments and/or entries from the Trainee ePortfolio; 

  2. Notification of proven misuse to the RCGP examination department who will consider whether sanctions relating to other components will be applied; 

  3. Referral to the General Medical Council and the Trainee’s employing organisation; 

  4. Referral to the NHS Fraud Unit with possible prosecution and criminal record.

All cases of WPBA misconduct will likely be regarded as Significant Events and lead to investigation, local action, and referral to the GMC. If the GMC suspends or applies sanctions to a trainee, or if the RCGP bars a trainee from participating in the MRCGP, the trainee may be removed from the GP specialty training programme.

Fabrication of evidence or fraudulent claims may even result in police convictions and loss of license to practice in the UK. Trainees whose GMC registration is subject to suspension, referral or any condition must provide the RCGP with full details.

 

References

  1. WPBA Code of Conduct. Royal College of General Practitioners. Available from: https://www.rcgp.org.uk/training-exams/training/mrcgp-workplace-based-assessment-wpba/wpba-code-of-conduct.aspx 

  2. Code of Conduct for Council Members. General Medical Council. Available from: https://www.gmc-uk.org/about/how-we-work/governance/council/code-of-conduct 

  3. The Seven Principles of Life. Committee on Standards in Public Life. Available from: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-7-principles-of-public-life/the-7-principles-of-public-life--2