Supporting our Allied Health Professionals

Supporting our Allied Health Professionals

Following the success of our latest in-house Objective Structured Clinical Excellence examinations we reflect on our OSCE journey and why it is so important to support and develop our employees.

At Operose Health, it is our purpose to deliver great primary care by improving access, outcomes and patient experience. The key to achieving our purpose is our people. 

We have an exceptionally talented workforce - who we are very proud of. We support and develop our employees so that they are empowered to deliver exceptional patient care and are championed to be the best that they can be. 

Our Learning & Development team and Chief Medical Officer, Professor Nick Harding, lead on developing our colleagues and looking at new ways to support colleagues and identify training needs. One of the ways we do this is through our annual OSCEs.


Since 2018 Operose Health have held our own, in-house Objective Structured Clinical Excellence (OSCE) examinations for our Allied Health Professionals (AHP).

Following the pandemic and the return to face-to-face clinical consultations, in November 2022 we redesigned the OSCEs to better support the needs of our AHPs in a post pandemic world. We wanted to use the OSCEs to refresh skills in patient examinations that had been lost as a result of the pandemic and the remote working that came with it – especially for those colleagues who had recently joined Operose Health or were recently qualified. 

The training and testing event was huge success for our AHPs and for us as an organisation. It enabled us to identify how we could best support and train these essential members of our practices – both individually and as teams. 

We host these training events annually – with more and more colleagues attending every year. 

June 2024
In June 2024 we hosted our latest four-day OSCE examination event at our Falmouth Road Group Practice, in London. 

The 2024 OSCEs were designed and delivered in-house by Operose Health colleagues who are senior leaders in their respective fields. The OSCEs examinations improve the AHPs clinical diagnosis and management of illness, as well as ensuring clinical safety. 

The OSCEs involve a one hour written exam, developed by GPs, which is then followed by six ‘live’ scenarios that test colleagues’ skills in patient consultations. The scenarios included face-to-face and telephone consultations, with other Operose Health colleagues acting as patients, and are overseen by examiners. Through these ‘live’ scenario tests, we are able to help improve the AHPs diagnosis and management of acute conditions and chronic conditions in real time, as well as to test their knowledge of medication reviews (Pharmacists only), safeguarding, sepsis, depression and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).  
Across the course of the four-day training event, 70 Pharmacists and Physician Associates completed the OSCEs, with six examiners present each day. The examiners were a mixture of Regional Medical Directors, Lead Pharmacists and Lead Physician Associates. 

Each station consultation lasted for 12 minutes and candidates received instant feedback from our GPs, lead Pharmacists and lead Physician Associates in person. All attendees received their exam results, a report on their OSCE experience and examiner feedback.

Our Learning & Development team, led by Bilkis Akhtar, are already planning for next year’s OSCEs - taking on board the feedback from this year’s participants. 

“It is a huge amount work, but work that is so worthwhile and extremely important to Operose Health. I’m really pleased with this year’s OSCE’s - I am particularly delighted with the number of attendees we have had this year, with even more sites from across our entire organisation being represented. 

We are the only primary care provider that provides this level of support, training and development for our AHPs. Developing our OSCEs is a prime example of how Operose Health invests in talent, skill, attraction and retention of employees so that we can support our people to be the best they can be for our patients, and for each other.”
Bilkis Akhtar, Head of Learning & Development

The OSCEs provide us with a unique and innovative way to find out learning needs of our colleagues, at scale. Clinical leads now have much more information about any knowledge gaps for each AHP they support and supervise, and they can do focused work to upskill them. 

Professor Nick Harding, CMO has said:
“I am thrilled with how this year’s OSCEs have been supported and conducted by our Learning & Development team. Delivering great primary care is what each and every member of Operose Health is here to do, events like this really show employees drive and commitment to deliver exceptional patient care. A huge well done to everyone involved in this year’s event.” 

Training the next generation 
In addition to our OSCEs, Operose Health is proud to train the next generation of GPs and other clinicians and AHPs. Across our organisation we have 23 Health Education England (HEE) accredited training practices, 25 GP Trainers, ten F2 supervisors and eight Pre-Registration Pharmacist tutors. In 2023, 54 students trained with Operose Health including 31 F2s and GP Registrars. 

For our non-clinical team members across our GP practice and centralised support functions, we identify training and development needs through their annual appraisals and look at how we can develop these colleagues throughout the entire organisation. For example, in May 2024 we launched our new Apprenticeship Strategy working in partnership with TLE, our group learning and development provider.


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