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Accelerated Clinical Endoscopist Training Programme

Working with the Joint Advisory Committee on GI Endoscopy (JAG), HEE commissioned a pilot accelerated training programme to train suitably qualified registered  health professionals to perform safe diagnostic procedures in either upper GI endoscopy or flexible sigmoidoscopy.

With increasing demand for endoscopy services the Department of Health has mandated HEE to train an additional 200 clinical (formally non-medical) endoscopists by 2018. To support this HEE has worked with the Joint Advisory Committee on GI Endoscopy (JAG) to develop an accelerated clinical endoscopist training programme. The seven month programme teaches suitably qualified registered  health professionals to perform safe diagnostic procedures in either upper GI endoscopy or flexible sigmoidoscopy. Two pilot trainee cohorts completed the accelerated training course in 2016 and following a positive evaluation report by the Office for Public Management is now being rolled out more widely.


We welcome applicants from a range of clinical backgrounds including :-

  • Nurses / Clinical Nurse Specialists  - Endoscopy / GI Radiology / GI Surgery  Gastroenterology
  • Therapeutic / Diagnostic Radiographers
  • Operating Department Practitioners
  • Specialist Screening Practitioners
  • Nurse practitioners  / Clinical Nurse Specialists in cancer

If you are interested in applying for the accelerated training programme or putting forward a candidate from your Trust, please email diagnosticsprogramme@hee.nhs.uk.


The training programme

The accelerated training programme takes seven months and comprises:

  • clinical in house practical skills training to achieve JAG certification (suggested minimum of two dedicated endoscopy training sessions per week) requiring at least 200 procedures.
  • regular meetings with local mentor and clinical supervisor
  • attendance at  study days at a university, leading to academic accreditation
  • completion of academic assignment (currently 4,000 word case study)
  • completion of JAG certification in either diagnostic upper GI (OGD) or flexible sigmoidoscopy
  • completion of the competency portfolio signed off by clinical supervisor
  • completion of SLATE e-learning package
  • attendance at JAG Basic Skills course (2-3 days)

To enable trainees to train within the accelerated timeframe, employing organisations are expected to provide considerable local support, including clinical supervision, good access to clinical lists to enable trainees to complete the necessary 200 clinical procedures, and sufficient release from other responsibilities to support trainees to focus on the programme requirements.    


Q: What expectations are there of trainees? 

A: The course is post-registration, intended for staff who are suitably qualified and experienced. The programme involves study days at a university, on-line training, clinical training at the trainee’s employing trust (200 clinical procedures minimum), mandatory basic skills training and completion of the competence portfolio. The expectation is that trainees will complete all the training in seven months.

Q: What extra support will be put in place for trainees (e.g. for someone with dyslexia or other needs)?

A: We expect any needs of individual students to be raised as part of the selection process so that any necessary adjustments can be discussed.

Q: What grade would the trainee be expected to perform once the candidate has completed the accelerated training programme?

A: This is a trust/local decision as there is no national banding for this role. Most trainees who commence the training are usually at band 6 but can include bands 5 and 7. Their role and banding after training is a matter for discussion within the trainee’s employing trust.  

Q: Is there a commitment on the host organisation to guarantee an endoscopist role at the end of the programme?

A: This will be a local/trust level decision but HEE’s strong expectation is that trainees will work in a role for which the programme has prepared them.  

Q: Will salary support be provided to clinical areas from which successful applicants are chosen for the duration of training?

A: The trainee’s organisation is expected to provide the salary for trainees during the training programme along with the costs of any backfill.

Q: Is there any flexibility on attending study days in case they collide with any pre-booked annual leave?

A: Full attendance is required during the period of the programme, and the trainers will be looking for 100% attendance. There are eight academic study days which will not be repeated, and it is essential that students attend these and all other related training in order to complete the programme.

HEE plans to hold three cohorts of training per year in 2017 and 2018. If pre-planned annual leave clashes with any course dates, deferment to the next cohort is advised.

Q: Will the trainees be contracted to the trust or to HEE?

A: The individual remains fully contracted to the employing organisation. They are only accessing a training course provided by HEE.

Q: What expectations are there on the employing trust? 

A:   The employing trust will need to support the prospective trainee’s application to join the programme. The trainee will be expected to have practical support from both their manager and clinical endoscopy lead for the duration of the training programme. The employing trust will be expected to enable trainees to undertake at least two clinical lists each week to meet the required number (200 clinical procedures in seven months) and support them in other training opportunities, including on-line training, study days, basic skills training and competence development as set out in the competence portfolio

Q: Is there any flexibility on the application deadline while we identify suitable individuals to apply for the training?

A: Application deadlines will not be extended but late applications will be kept in reserve in case there is a shortage of applicants and for future cohorts.

Q: Is there a maximum number of candidates per organisation?

A:  While no limit will be set, trusts must be able to fully support all trainees including guaranteeing access to sufficient training lists - typically two per week. Where trusts do put forward several applicants at any time, the course organisers may wish to discuss with the trust the feasibility of having multiple trainees in the same cohort, or whether some trainees should defer to later cohorts. 

Q: What is included in the seven month programme? 

A: The training programme is an accelerated programme for clinical endoscopists who are new in post or about to start in a training post. The programme is designed to run concurrently with in-house training lists in the employing trust supervised by an in-house clinical supervisor. The programme also comprises eight taught days making up the academic element, a JAG basic skills course (two days), completion of the competency portfolio, SLATE on-line learning tool and the usual JETS requirements for all trainee endoscopists. 

Q: What is the SLATE lesion recognition course?

A: SLATE is an e-learning resource designed to develop skills in lesion recognition, assessment and reporting. There are separate courses for UGI and LGI diagnostic endoscopy. Each comprise of six levels starting from basic concepts and principles and building to more complex or rarer scenarios. They are formative in design, but based around assessment tests. These materials are being developed in conjunction with JAG and currently are undergoing evaluation with multi-professional user groups.

Q: What JAG resources will be used during the programme?

A: All trainees will be booked on a JAG approved basic skills course (either flexible sigmoidoscopy or Upper GI (OGD)). Also trainees are required to record endoscopic procedures and related training activity through www.jets.nhs.uk.

Q: Seven months seems a very short time to train an endoscopist

A: This programme is designed as an intensive, accelerated course. The programme was piloted in 2016 prior to being rolled out as a seven month programme in 2017. The application and selection process are rigorous in order to ensure that applicants are suited to the programme’s challenging learning and professional requirements.  The programme has been developed with JAG and academic institutions, and has been independently evaluated

Q: Can trainees change between academic levels once started?

A: No, once you have started the course you cannot change the level.

Q: Is there a forum where trainees can talk together away from the study days?

A: Yes. Trainee forums will be provided by the relevant university or by Health Education England.  

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