Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice for credential trainees and supervisors

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to changes in learning opportunities for credential trainees both in terms of experiences and in assessment. Their ability to take part in essential training opportunities has been compromised with the suspension of the NHS Breast Screening Programme, suspension in some areas of family history clinics and the need to minimise contact which will be impacting on credential trainees’ ability to attend surgical clinics. In addition, at a time when clinical teams were stretched significantly, opportunities for specific workplace-based assessments (WPBAs) may have been limited. Credential trainees’ welfare is very important to us and we will do all we can to provide clarity and reassurance to all involved in training. For further information and support please contact

Annual progression reviews

Progress in the credential is dependent on a satisfactory progression review at the end of each indicative year of training. In recognition of the impact the pandemic has had on training for those on the credential programme, the RCR postponed the annual progression review that was scheduled for July. This will now take place in October 2020 and the  review panel will take into account the impact of the pandemic on trainees’ ability to have met all the requirements outlined by the progression grids in the credential curriculum. IThe panel will use their professional judgement to assess whether the credential trainee has engaged with the training process during the year, in ways appropriate to the circumstances, and has sufficient evidence of this in the e-portfolio. The evidence required will include:

  • completion of at least some of the necessary WPBAs
  • an educational supervisor’s report, taking account of input from clinical supervisors, that is supportive of the credential trainee.

The review panel will indicate which, if any, of the essential components of the programme have been missed in the present training year so that the subsequent training can be tailored appropriately. It is hoped that this approach will ensure that any disadvantages experienced in training are minimised and all credential trainees are adequately supported, particularly those who may be redeployed to frontline service.

Credential trainee time off due to illness/self-isolation

Consideration must be given to any credential trainee who loses time at work as a result of developing COVID-19 symptoms, having specific health vulnerabilities that prevent them working at the present time, or self-isolating due to COVID-19 related concerns with a member of their household. Please refer to national guidance on this subject.

Funding of the pilot training and maintenance of the SLA

The National Breast Imaging Academy (NBIA) which is managing the HEE funding for this pilot is keen to support credential trainees in the pilot as flexibly as possible. It is hoped that the service level agreement (SLA) in place with each employing trust provides reassurance and security, enabling the employing trusts to support credential trainees through this pause in training to successful completion of the credential. In the event that substantial training time has been lost due to COVID-19 and credential training is extended beyond the funded three years, the employing trust is obliged to support the credential trainee’s completion of the credential. Credential trainees and their supervisors should be assured that training must pick up where it left off once the crisis has passed and that the funding will remain present. This reflects the situation for specialty trainees.

Employing trusts can expect to receive confirmation from the NBIA that there is scope within the funding they have received to support their COVID-19 response by pausing training with any time lost being added to the end of the trainee’s three years.

For further information and support please contact