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The Pharmacy Vocational Training Scheme

Learning from experience, learning in practice.

VT2 General and VT3 Specialist training

March 2016


Background and introduction3

Requirements prior to starting the different stages of Vocational 4


Vocational Training : VT2 training Generalist training6

VT2 training : Generalist training guidance for completion of the

VT2 framework (V7 Sept 2015)12

Professional and Personal practice13

The Clinical Pharmaceutical Care of patients13

Ensuring the Safety of Patient15

Cost Effective Use of Resources16

Dispensing of Prescriptions16

Education and training and Development17

Dispensing of Aseptic products18

Information about Medicines19

For FAQs please see the VT2, VT3 FAQs document

References, Appendices (Formats of evidence, VT2/VT3 assessment processes) 65


The Pharmacy Vocational Training Scheme[1,2,3] originated in 1995 and is supported by the NHS Scotland Directors of Pharmacy, both Schools of Pharmacy in Scotland and The Royal Pharmaceutical Society.

The Training Scheme was originally introduced for junior pharmacists within secondary care, with the view to provide them with a comprehensive structured training programme over a two year period. Over the past five years, the training scheme has been redesigned and redeveloped to meet the changing needs of the service. Developments have also included the introduction of Specialist Training Frameworks.


The Pharmacy Vocational Training Scheme is a structured, work-based training experience for hospital pharmacists to enable them to deliver safe and effective pharmaceutical care. It is available for pharmacists working within secondary care within NHS Scotland. Currently available at VT2 (Generalist Level), it is being developed at two further levels;

VT2 [general/foundation training]

VT 3 [specialist clinical training]

VT 4 [education, leadership and research modules].

Pharmacists should have completed VT2 prior to embarking on VT3 training. However, it is envisaged that whilst undertaking VT3 training they may start a module within Stage 4.

There will be instances where the previous level of training has not been achieved and there are pre requisites to help where previous stages of training have not been achieved.

What is the aim of the Vocational Training scheme?

The aim of the Pharmacy Vocational Training Scheme (VTS) is to facilitate the acquisition of knowledge and skills necessary for pharmacists to participate fully in their post as a general (hospital) pharmacist. The emphasis is on developing competence (the ability to perform tasks consistently to the required standard) using activities in the workplace and a structured training rotation. The training is based on gaining experience by undertaking a task, demonstration of competence and reflection on learning from undertaking the task. This may require the task to be undertaken on a specified number of occasions.

Stage 1 (Pre registration training) training is undertaken in either community or hospital pharmacy.

VT2 (General/Foundation training) is for junior pharmacists (Band 6 or equivalent), who need to develop general skills and gain a broad experience in pharmacy practice prior to specialising in a clinical area of practice.

VT3 (Specialist training) is for more senior pharmacists (Band7 or equivalent) who need to develop more specialist skills, in particular clinical skills.

How do I register to start training or to become a VT tutor?

There is registration information on the NES Pharmacy website. Each year there is the opportunity to register for training, three times per annum, in September, January and May. Registration is online. After registering trainees are expected to undertake the relevant induction training prior to starting completing their competency framework. Details of the induction materials are on the NES Pharmacy website.

New tutors should also register online, three times per annum, in September, January and May each year. New tutors are required to register at the registration date in advance of them tutoring a trainee. e.g. a tutor starting with a trainee on 1st September should register the previous May and have completed the induction resources prior to tutoring a trainee. The tutor needs to also attend an induction session in Sept., January or May and needs to inform NES of the completion of the various induction resources.

After registration trainees and tutors receive a Welcome e mail that details how to get started and induction activities that need completed prior to attending the induction training which is generally help ~3 weeks after the training start date. i.e. late January, May and September.

Requirements prior to starting the different stages of Vocational Training

There are some requirements that trainees need to undertake prior to starting their training

To undertake Vocational Training VT2 (VT2 training ), currently, the trainee needs to be employed in secondary care within the NHS in Scotland and they ideally should have undertaken their Pre Registration training (PRPS) within secondary care. However, this is not mandatory.

Prior to embarking on VT2 training trainees need to understand the fundamentals of aseptic dispensing, dispensing and the provision of pharmaceutical care. They need to have completed the following :

aseptic training - aseptic dispensing and checking processes, the aseptic environment , formulation and stability of aseptic products, the preparation of intrathecal injections (simulation for preparation of 3 products required.

dispensing training -the in- patient and out - patient dispensing processes

the provision of pharmaceutical care to patients using standard care plans and case study documentation provided (webinar available)

the Adverse Drug Reaction reporting modules (available on NES website)

In each instance they need to develop as a piece of evidence which is included in their eportfolio after they have had a discussion with their tutor.

Prior to embarking on any module of VT3 Training, trainees need to have completed the following resources:

the provision of pharmaceutical care to patients using the documentation provided (webinar available)

the audit process (completed an audit, see NES CPD web pages)

the reporting of an analysis of a Significant Event (completed and SEA, see CPD web pages)

the process of Critical appraisal (completion of Critical appraisal modules 1 and 2, plus MCQs)

patient safety (webinar available)

risk management (webinar available required)

leadership theory (webinar or attendance at a course introducing leadership theory)

the Adverse Drug Reaction reporting modules (available on NES website)

In each instance they need to develop as a piece of evidence which is included in their eportfolio, after discussion with their tutor / supervisor or Educational Supervisor.

Prior to starting a specific VT3 module, there are some further pre requisites depending on the specialist module.

All pre requisites should be demonstrated by having a discussion with the tutor after completing the relevant resource to ensure that the pre requisite is met. Where there is no resource, guidance should be sought from their Educational Supervisor

Frameworks for training

What is the framework for each of stage of training?

For each stage of the Vocational Training Scheme, the trainee completes a competency framework and provides evidence in the form of an eportfolio.

Within VT2 training there are 8 Elements. All Elements are required to be completed.

Within VT3 training each framework comprises specialist clinical areas with the more generic aspects of training being covered in modules of Education and training, Leadership and Research.

What type of evidence can be collected?

A wide variety of different types of evidence can be collected within the VT eportfolio. Examples of which are:


case based discussions (CbDs)

feedback forms

mini clinical evaluations (mini CEX)


reflective reports


short reports

training plans.

Completion of Section forms (COS) are not required post 1st September 2015. Feedback forms have replaced the COS forms and therefore there should be at least ONE Feedback form within each Element within the eportfolio.

What does the eportfolio comprise of?

The ePortfolio is a resource to help trainees collect and organise their evidence online. The format of the ePortfolio has been designed to enable tutors and assessors to view the evidence in a systematic fashion. There are areas for:

forms - appraisal, rotation details, meeting with tutor, declaration of work and templates for; aseptic dispensing, dispensing services and medicines information

logs - care plans, case studies and reflective and action based logs

compilation of references (personal library)

resources (underpinning knowledge modules).

Vocational Training: VT2 training Generalist training

Completing VT2 training ensures that pharmacists achieve a well rounded general, structured training within their first two years of starting within the hospital setting. It also enables trainees to gain experience in some areas that they may not have been able to experience had they not been part of the training scheme.[4,5]