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VetGDP FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

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Information for students and graduates

  • One of the downsides to the PDP was it was one size fits all, whereas one of the key benefits of VetGDP is that it is personalised. You will be able to work through the aspects of your job and what’s relevant in your workplace which might be different to somebody else’s in a different job. In mixed practice your Entrustable Professional Activities (EPAs) would cover different aspects to those for, say, a government role or in equine practice.

  • VetGDP will count towards your CPD requirement. We view undertaking and completing the VetGDP as a year’s worth of CPD and it is therefore equivalent to 35 hours of CPD. VetGDP will cover your first twelve months of CPD but if you take a bit more time to complete it, you can add 35 hours to any calendar year or split the hours across years during that time period.

  • We introduced the VetGDP in summer 2021.

    When new veterinary graduates begin their first job, they will need to get a commitment from their employer that they are signed up to VetGDP, and that there will be a VetGDP Adviser in the workplace to support them.

    When veterinary graduates join the workplace, the vet who will be their VetGDP Adviser must have completed the online training. 

    You should begin your VetGDP as soon as you start your first role.

  • Yes, the VetGDP replaced PDP for new graduate vets from summer 2021. Any vets who are currently on the PDP will continue on that path. VetGDP applies to any graduate vets employed from summer 2021.

  • There are more fully trained VetGDP Advisers than there are yearly graduates.

    These vets are located throughout the four nations, and they have been on the Register for an average of 15 years, so new graduates will benefit from their experience. We will be recruiting on an ongoing basis to ensure that we have a sufficient numbers of vets on board, in both small independent practices and larger corporate practices.

  • There isn’t a cut-off date, and we deliberately haven’t designed it to be time-bound, but in a similar way to the PDP we would expect it to take around a year. However, some will progress more quickly and if you and your VetGDP Adviser both feel you have reached that stage you may submit your portfolio for peer review more quickly than that. Equally it is no problem if you take longer, particularly if part of your role has an unusual element that doesn’t happen very often.

  • When you start looking for a job, some employers may indicate that they are an RCVS Approved Graduate Development Practice, either on their website, social media or other channels. If you don’t see this however, please don’t assume they’re not an approved practice, as they may be working towards it or just may not have advertised it yet. If they are not, ask them if they are happy to do so because you will need to complete VetGDP.

    You can find RCVS Approved practices by using our Find a Vet website.

  • Your practice should be an RCVS Approved Graduate Development Practice, meaning that they have at least one VetGDP Adviser within the practice. The training for the VetGDP Adviser is 20 hours of free, flexible, online training and they may begin this after they have given you a job offer, as long as they complete the course and the declaration before you start your role.

  • The Entrustable Professional Activities (EPAs) are the framework that describe activities in your role and the vast majority will be very similar in different roles, but there will be some roles that are very specific in one area but have more depth, others in mixed practice may be broader. It is personal and self-directed so you can design your own programme to suit yourself and continue to do it until you are confident.

  • If your role does not require you to be MRCVS, then you can apply for an exemption. However, if your role includes areas which require the knowledge that you have gained in your veterinary degree, then it is likely that the VetGDP can be adapted to support you.

    You will need to participate in the VetGDP if you are in a Government veterinary role, working for the food standards agency, working as an OV, working for the APHA, in animal welfare, as an inspector, in veterinary audit, meat hygiene inspectors, policy writers, epidemiologists, research roles, and so on.

    If you need assistance in finding EPAs to suit your role, or in crafting your own EPA to suit your role, then please do contact us at vetgdp@rcvs.org.uk.

  • If you are continuing in education, studying towards a PhD for example, you can apply for an exemption but if you are taking on another veterinary role at the same time, such as being a locum, you will need to participate in the VetGDP.

  • Yes, all new veterinary graduates employed from summer 2021 are required to take part in VetGDP.

    The aim of VetGDP is to ensure that all graduates, regardless of what type of practice or role they go into, receive the same level of support during their early years in practice.

  • Yes, it is.

    This may make it more awkward for you to find a VetGDP Adviser. You need to work in the same practice as your VetGDP Adviser for at least one hour a week, but there can be a sensible use of flexibility around your work patterns. Practices may not employ you unless you have an Adviser, although they can be in another practice. You may change your VetGDP Adviser where necessary.

  • If your VetGDP Adviser isn’t on the drop-down list, please ask them to make sure that they have set up a relationship in their RCVS My Account, with the same practice as you and have made their own VetGDP declaration.

    If the practice is not in the drop-down list, please ask them to make sure that they have completed the practice declaration in the practice My Account. If they need help in accessing the practice My Account, they should contact vetgdp@rcvs.org.uk with the practice postcode.

    You can find step by step guides for each party here.

  • Look carefully at the EPA booklet and each of the EPAs that you have selected to be in your e-portfolio. Look at the description of the EPA - are you competent to perform those activities? Does your e-portfolio show a breadth and depth of examples? Does your e-portfolio give examples of where you meet the relevant success criteria?

    Does your portfolio show evidence of progress? Have you set goals, with the assistance of your VetGDP Adviser, and shown evidence of achieving them? Are you a competent and confident Veterinary Surgeon who can perform all activities within your role without support?

    Have you checked that your e-portfolio does not contain any personal/identifiable for yourself, the clients or the practice?

  • You do not need to participate in the VetGDP if you are going to work abroad and you can still maintain your MRCVS. If/when you return to the UK, you will only need to participate if you have less than one year’s experience in a role similar to the one you will be undertaking on your return. If you have more than a year’s experience, you may participate in the VetGDP if you wish.

  • This will be individual for each veterinary graduate, you all have different experiences from vet school, different strengths and weaknesses, you have different roles, different team support, different cases.

    You need to record enough reflection and activities to show that you are competent to perform the activities in your chosen EPAs and to meet the success criteria. You need to record enough to give evidence of breadth and depth of experience in each EPA set against the relevant success criteria.

    If you can find the time to record your activities and reflections regularly, they will be a more accurate and  helpful record allowing you to make swifter progress.

  • Overseas vets coming to work in the UK should participate in the VetGDP if they have less than one year’s experience in a role similar to that which they will be undertaking when starting work in the UK. This includes all roles for which the graduate needs to be MRCVS.

  • Your e-portfolio can only reflect your role, for example, if you are a dairy farm vet, you may only see cows. You are not expected to seek out experience at other practices to widen your experience.

  • When you feel that you are ready to submit your e-portfolio, you should sit down with your VetGDP Adviser to check that they agree that you are ready to submit or whether they feel have some areas where they feel you should record further evidence that you have achieved your EPAs.

    Once you have both agreed, click on 'manage e-portfolio' and then 'submit'.

    Your VetGDP Adviser will receive an email saying that you have submitted and they will be asked to sign in and approve the submission.

    The e-portfolio will then be checked by the RCVS to see that there is content for each EPA and allocated to a peer reviewer.

    The peer reviewer has 2 weeks to agree to review the e-portfolio and then a further two weeks to do the actual review.

    You will then receive confirmation that your peer reviewer agrees that your e-portfolio is complete or feedback on which areas need further additions.

    If you do need to make additions to your e-portfolio, you may do so and then follow the submission process again.

    There is a progress bar within your e-portfolio to let you show you where you are in the sequence.

  • The EPA focuses on evidence-based veterinary medicine, looking at wider information resources, and asking you to reflect on the quality of the evidence given and if it is applicable to the clinical situation that you are dealing with.

    It is asking you to show that you know when and how to get further evidence or assistance and what questions to ask, and encourages a habit of lifelong learning and reflection.

  • New members who have less than one year of significant work experience as a veterinary graduate will be expected to enrol in the VetGDP. 

Information for VetGDP Advisers

Information for Employers

  • We appreciate that life in practice is very busy and this has not been helped by Covid-19. However, in order to ensure that veterinary graduates are well-supported in developing into experienced professionals as quickly as possible, we are appealing to vets to become VetGDP Advisers.

    The training, which will take approximately 20 hours to complete, is available online and must be completed before the veterinary graduate(s) begin work. The training can be counted towards your CPD for the year. 

    Providing support for graduates will help them move beyond day one competencies as effectively as possible in the knowledge that they will receive the level of support that reflects their capabilities.

    Throughout their first year of practice, these capabilities will develop, lessening their need for support. By providing a supportive environment, building confidence and resilience we envisage graduates will be more likely to stay in their role and retention will increase.

    We also anticipate that the VetGDP Adviser role will be highly rewarding, providing an opportunity to motivate and develop the next generation of vets as they establish themselves in their career.

  • Once a practice/workplace is an RCVS Approved Graduate Development Practice/Workplace they will have a minimum of one trained VetGDP Adviser available to support graduates, but they won’t usually indicate how many VetGDP Advisers they have in total.

  • If the period of absence of the VetGDP Adviser is known in advance, for example maternity leave, arrangements should be made for a replacement VetGDP Adviser during the period of absence. If the change is sudden or unplanned, for example serious illness or the VetGDP Adviser leaves without notice, you will need to find a replacement and support them to complete the online training as quickly as possible.

    The practice will not be able to take on a new graduate until the VetGDP Adviser has been replaced and trained.

  • While we know that there is excellent support available for graduates in many practices, we would encourage practices to be working towards their Practice Standards accreditation or equivalent good practice as a clear commitment to quality.

  • As VetGDP is mandatory for new graduates from summer 2021, they will be seeking a practice that can support them in this way. They will know that an RCVS Approved Graduate Development Practice is a supportive employer, committed to providing the VetGDP programme to help their professional development.

    Practices will be receive a certificate to display in the workplace and a digital logos to add to their website, social media and other digital channels.

Further information about VetGDP

  • We’re hoping VetGDP will provide greater consistency and help to develop a learning culture across the profession. There shouldn't be any stigma in having a VetGDP Adviser; in fact, it shows more professionalism to ask for guidance when you need it than to pretend everything is fine when it isn't. As a veterinary professional, you are in charge of your own progress and development. The VetGDP Adviser training will include how to deliver feedback effectively and how to provide support. The training will also demonstrate what is expected in this programme so your VetGDP Adviser will understand this.

  • The VetGDP is a completely new programme and very different from the PDP. Following an evaluation of the PDP with graduates and other stakeholders, it was clear that the PDP was not achieving the levels of support needed by new graduates to help them develop their skills and confidence. Meaningful, holistic support was needed, to reflect the everyday work as a vet in all branches of the profession. 

    The VetGDP also emphasises building graduates’ confidence and resilience, and supporting reflection.

  • The programme is jointly led by the graduate and their VetGDP Adviser who has agreed to be the primary person providing support to the graduate(s) enrolled in the VetGDP in their workplace. Both the graduate and the VetGDP Adviser have a responsibility to engage with the programme, as indicated in the RCVS Code of Professional Conduct. In addition, the practice/workplace also has a responsibility for allowing the graduate and VetGDP Adviser protected time for support activities as declared in their application to become an RCVS Approved Graduate Development Practice/Workplace

  • Yes, the VetGDP has been developed in response to extensive feedback from the profession and stakeholders, through an evaluation of the PDP and also through the Graduate Outcomes Consultation with the UK veterinary profession. We sought to understand what would be of greatest benefit to new graduates and in turn, how they can best be supported in practice. The research found that the profession would like to see a range of ways to support graduates in the workplace involving a balance between professional and clinical skills.

    The need was for a programme to reflect their everyday work and professional development in practice, with a focus on structured, meaningful support. The research also found that there needed to be flexibility to accommodate different veterinary roles and graduates driving the programme with appropriate support within the workplace; this informed the VetGDP Adviser role.

  • Only RCVS Approved Graduate Development Practices can employ a new graduate. As such, your VetGDP Adviser must have completed their training and made their declaration before you begin your role. They may offer you a role before the training is complete, but you cannot join the practice until the training is complete.

    If you ask a practice if they are willing to become an RCVS Approved Graduate Development Practice and they say no, there may be reasons why they feel they can’t and we will try to offer support. Our Education team can be contacted by emailing vetgdp@rcvs.org.uk.

     
  • The e-portfolio will not be assessed for a pass or fail. Following an initial screening within the RCVS Education department it will go to one of our panel of VetGDP Advisers who will peer review all e-portfolios. The peer reviewer will either agree that you have completed your VetGDP or give you feedback on any further additions they feel are needed to your e-portfolio.

  • Both graduates and VetGDP Advisers should log into the VetGDP through the desktop 1CPD link, which you will find in the top right hand corner of the RCVS website. The button for the VetGDP can be found on the top bar.

    If you’re a graduate, you can record your reflections, feedback and progress against the different activities you and your VetGDP Adviser have identified as being part of your role. These activities are known as Entrustable Professional Activities (EPAs), and are simply high-level descriptions of the different activities.

    As a VetGDP Adviser you will have access to the platform to support your graduate(s), with the ability to add your comments on either observed cases or activities, or progress review discussions. You will also be able to consider the evidence supporting progress across all activities with your graduate towards the end of the programme, to agree when to submit the portfolio to the RCVS for final peer review.

  • There’s no reason why interns can’t adapt the existing EPAs and/or design their own Entrustable Professional Activity (EPA) around an internship, as it is still clinical practice. Our bank of EPAs will cover the majority of situations; there will be areas that aren’t covered and so we will support VetGDP Advisers and graduates in developing an EPA if required.

  • Yes, we ask vets who have been out of practice for 5 years or longer to take part in VetGDP. You will be notified when you apply to return to the Register.

    Please note there will be an opportunity for vets in certain circumstances to apply for an exemption from VetGDP, which will be determined on a case-by-case basis. This may include having worked in veterinary practice overseas for the period off the Register.

  • Yes, the portfolio is yours, and all the reflections and progress updates will go with it and will be unique to you. If you change role you can take your VetGDP e-portfolio with you and sign in again with your new VetGDP Adviser. You can amend your EPAs if necessary.

    To do this, you need to click the cog in the top right-hand corner of your portfolio and choose re-set. You will not lose any of your records. You will then be able to choose your new Adviser from the drop-down list. Please make sure that you have updated your relationship in your My account to the new practice. 

    Find more guidance here.

  • Yes, you can sign up for the VetGDP. Please ensure that you have a VetGDP Adviser in place to support you. 

  • No. VetGDP applies to all veterinary graduates from summer 2021 and you will not be able to defer to the PDP. The practice or workplace you’re employed at needs to become an RCVS Approved Graduate Development Practice, which means that they must have at least one fully trained VetGDP Adviser.