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Knowledge and Skills Framework made simpler

A revised Knowledge and Skills Framework, designed to be more user-friendly and flexible than the previous version, has been published by NHS Employers.

Helen Middleton, pharmacy professional development manager at London Pharmacy Education and Training, told Clinical Pharmacist: “The NHS Staff Council has simplified the KSF to make it easier to use and to give trusts the flexibility to tailor the KSF to meet local needs.

“The new KSF was developed following an independent review, which found that take-up of the KSF is still variable and that some trusts feel that the KSF is too difficult to link to appraisals.”

She explained that the original KSF indicators were generic and the language in which they were written was complex. Thus, according to Ms Middleton, making the indicators meaningful in the context of pharmacy was a lengthy and complicated process, which has been a barrier to the framework’s successful implementation.

She said that although links can be made between the KSF and other pharmacy competency frameworks (eg, pre-registration performance standards, the general level framework, advanced to consultant level framework) the rigid design of the original KSF made full integration difficult.

The simplified KSF has core dimensions that have been written in plain English, which include examples of behaviours and actions to support discussions around whether each dimension is being met. These changes make the implementation process leaner, said Ms Middleton, adding:

“Appraisal paperwork has been simplified and the need to collect evidence has been reduced significantly. Guidance states that staff do not need to produce written evidence for the appraisal or discuss every skill and knowledge area — they only need to focus on specific development needs, provided that managers and staff discuss performance as part of routine discussions.”

Ms Middleton confirmed: “The simplified KSF gives trusts a flexible tool that they can tailor to meet their organisation’s needs and recognises that, in today’s NHS, one size does not fit all.”

Citation: Clinical Pharmacist URI: 11048894

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