Professional and Generic Skills Programme

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This new Professional and Generic Skills programme is a collaborative venture provided by Health Education England working in the South West, and delivered jointly by the University of Plymouth and the University of Bristol Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry.

HESW has funded 120 places per year for last three years for doctors in training (GP and Specialty ST3+), and a small number of places for SAS doctors (Speciality, Staff Grade and Associate Specialists) but for 2019/20 there will be 175 places, 10 reserved for SAS doctors, 15 dentists and 150 doctors in training. The programme is designed to provide a unique combination of practice skills, knowledge and thinking to develop your career path as a clinical leader within an evolving NHS.

You will need to commit seven days within the year to attend six CPD modules – choosing your modules (where availability allows) from any of six locations across the South West: Truro, Plymouth, Exeter, Taunton, Bristol and Gloucester.

Key themes include:

  • Patient safety, quality systems and your personal responsibilities
  • Communications, partnership and team-working
  • Maintaining trust, medical ethics, and medicine and the law
  • NHS structures and funding
  • Developing management and leadership skills for the future.

The programme is stand-alone and awards 42 Royal College of Physicians CPD credits. It also provides the opportunity for further postgraduate progression in either clinical education at University of Bristol or management and leadership at the University of Plymouth.

Methods of learning

The Professional and Generic Skills Programme offers group learning which provides a good basis for participants to meet one another, hear new ideas and theories and to form valuable professional relationships. Your participation will involve reflection on your experiences to date and on the new ideas we will be discussing. Practical exercises, discussions and action-learning will be supported by our managed learning environment (Moodle) on which you’ll find extra information, video clips, recommended reading, slides and materials from each CPD delivery, and an opportunity to discuss things virtually with facilitators and fellow participants. We have designed our teaching methods for you to take essential learning from this programme back to your professional life and to support your future career aspirations.


We are offering this Professional and Generic Skills Programme as a unique development opportunity if you see yourself as future leaders or teachers.

You can choose one of three routes for learning and possible accreditation

Find out more about the three routes.

What our students say

"Course day was much more interesting and relevant than I was expecting. My knowledge beforehand was very limited so has given me a good basic grounding to build upon in my ongoing learning and practice." – Module 1 student 

"Clearly explained the meaning and differences between coaching, mentoring and supervision." – Module 2 student 

"A really useful and interactive day. Lots of tools that I think would be easy to apply." Module 3 student

"Thank you for the group work and also for making it so directly applicable to the 'shop floor'" – Module 4 student

Professional and Generic Skills (PGS) – Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if I have to miss a day of PGS?

We set up this programme to offer a full and comprehensive overview of all the added value learning you’ll need as you progress towards a substantive post in the NHS. For this reason we ask you to sign up for all six modules at the point of registration, and to make attendance an absolute priority.

However, we recognise that life can sometimes get in the way, and so if you are obliged to miss a day (due to sickness, or other extenuating reasons) then you must let our administrator know so that she can report back to HESW. HESW will follow up all absenteeism, usually with your clinical supervisor at work.

Whilst we’d like to guarantee a place on a replacement module at another venue, this isn’t possible unless we know that there is a space. The same is true about transferring into next year’s programme. So we’ll be as flexible as we can if you have to miss a day – but our priority will always be the students who have signed up for all six modules.

I applied to attend PGS at a particular venue and have been told that it’s full. Why can’t you guarantee that I can attend all modules at my preferred venue?

We set up this programme originally to be able to offer attendance for participants at the venue closest to their home and/or jobs. Mostly, we are able to do this but unfortunately some venues are more popular than others and the places fill up very quickly. So we’ll do our best, but sometimes we have to ask you to travel to a different venue for a module and we hope you’ll see the benefit of doing this over missing the day.

What happens if I can’t attend PGS at the venue for which I originally registered?

We recognise that roles and rotations change, and so if you contact our administrator as soon as you know you can’t attend a particular venue/day, she’ll do her very best to re-accommodate you where your new job is. However, the programme is very popular, and numbers are limited in every classroom because our tutors want to make this as interactive and productive a teaching day as possible, so we can’t guarantee that you will always get the venue you want.

Can you tell me more about the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points which are available to me on completion of PGS?

When the programme was set up with Health Education England South West (HESW), the Royal College of Physicians agreed to award 42 CPD points to each participant who attended all of the days comprising all of the modules. This means attendance at six modules, over seven days.

In effect, each day is worth six CPD points, and the RCP are content for us to award CPD points per day attended (although see above about ‘missing days’).

If I do miss a day – will I achieve all the CPD points for the programme? How can I catch up?

If you do have to miss a day due to extenuating reasons (and it proves impossible for you to attend another replacement day), then our Programme Lead will consider a detailed personal reflection from you based on the content of the day you’ve missed, in lieu of attendance. To prepare this, we recommend that you make contact with a fellow participant to gather their reflection on the day they attended, as well as studying and considering the materials on the open-access learning website (MOODLE). Following this, you may email the Programme Lead ( with up to 500 words which clearly show that you have understood the key learning outcomes, your reflections on the content, and how it will be of use to you at work.

Can you tell me more about the Accreditation of Prior Credited Learning which forms part of the longer-term PGS progression opportunities?

We are in the happy position of being able to offer two choices for academic progression for participants who have completed all six modules of PGS.

They are: 

University of Bristol – Institute of Teaching and Learning for Health Professionals (Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry).

  • Successful completion of PGS entitles the participant to apply for 20 M-level credits towards the Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching and Learning for Health Professionals (TLHP). Please email Annie Noble with a copy of your CPD certificate: 
Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry

  • Successful completion of PGS entitles the participant to apply for 30 M-level credits towards the Postgraduate Certificate (PG Cert) in Healthcare Management, Leadership and Innovation (HMLI), in lieu of attending the Foundation Leadership module of our PG Cert. To gain these credits, you will need to apply to for APCL credits by the stated deadline, attend an induction along with the MSc HMLI students and complete a 5,000 word essay, for which you will receive support from our tutors, within a defined time-frame (details below).

  • Acceptance onto the MSc in HMLI (which enables you to choose whether you want to progress to the full Masters, or ‘step off’ after the PG Cert) is subject to successful application, in line with standard PU PSMD process.
  •  Entry requirements: 42 Royal College of Physician CPD awarded for completion of the Professional and Generic Skills Programme.  

How long do I have to apply for APCL?

University of Plymouth

  • Professional and Generic Skills CPD Points - you may apply for APCL credits against Module one of our MSc in Healthcare Management, Leadership and Innovation (HMLI), worth 30 M-level credits, within two years of the start of your PGS programme*
  • APCL Credits – once gained, your APCL credits will be valid for progression onto Module two of our MSc in Healthcare Management, Leadership and Innovation (HMLI) for five years*

Application to APCL, and for our MSc, must be made in accordance with closing dates set for the year of study for which application is being made (see ‘dates for your diary’, below).

*Please bear in mind that learning outcomes sometimes change. If this happens we may need to change the assessment (assignment) required to APCL and/or ask for additional information or assessment prior to enrolment onto the HMLI course.

Will I have to pay for APCL?

Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry

In order to receive 30M credits the only charge incurred is the cost of APCL administration (£75) which covers the support you will require to complete the assignment.

In order to complete and gain the PG Cert HMLI you will be required to pay to undertake the second module of the PG Cert (called ‘Organisation Development and Culture’) which (at the time of print) is £1,575 Any subsequent modules will also be charged at the advertised rate.

For Bristol please apply via Annie Noble at