It is recognised that the COVID-19 pandemic has adversely affected trainees’ outpatient experience and has resulted in new ways of working especially the virtual outpatient clinic. We have introduced the Outpatient Care Assessment Tool (OPCAT) to help with the assessment of outpatient capability in Internal Medicine (clinical CiP 4) and it can also be used in higher training. The OPCAT is designed to be used in a single clinic whether that is face to face or virtual and may be used during a direct observation if the trainer is present or as an assessment at the end of a clinic. There is no minimum number of patients that should be seen although for a post clinic assessment it would be unusual if the trainee has seen fewer than three patients. It is unlikely that a single assessment could provide all the evidence required for an educational supervisor to make an entrustment decision on outpatient capability. The assessment of overall progress can also take into account the multiple consultant reports as part of the holistic assessment of the trainees’ capabilities.
The OPCAT is available on the ePortfolio. It is not mandatory for trainees to use the OPCAT, but it is strongly recommended for IMTs to get structured feedback on outpatient capability, particularly during the pandemic. Educational supervisors will need to make an entrustment decision on outpatient capability and completed OPCATs will be useful evidence.