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Advanced Clinical Practice (ACP) Credentials for Healthcare Professions


Developing and retaining the Advanced Practice workforce is a strategic priority for the NHS. The NHS Long-Term Plan recognises the potential of advanced level practitioners meeting short term and long-term workforce demands; whilst the NHS People Plan is heavily supportive of scaling up and delivering new roles and models of advanced level practice.

Health Education England (HEE) is leading this agenda by working collaboratively across the health and care system, to develop safe and effective advanced level practitioners which the system can learn to recognise and utilise within new models of care.

As part of this programme of work, HEE has commissioned Skills for Health to lead the development of Advanced Practice credentials, providing a consistent standard for multi professional advanced level practice in six specialties:

  • Primary Care Core Framework
  • Primary Care Dietetics
  • Primary Care Occupational Therapy
  • Community Rehabilitation
  • Pelvic Health
  • Community exercise-based approaches for people living with long-term conditions

Purpose and scope of the credentials

To create transferable, recognisable ongoing Advanced Practice education and training, there is a need to create, for each specialty, a standardised framework of learning outcomes and assessment methods, to be delivered by education providers working in partnership with service. Often, this will be as part of approved level 7 (Master’s level) learning but this may not be the only model of learning. Each credential articulates learning an individual is required to successfully complete in order to be recognised as an Advanced Practitioner in the speciality and beyond.

Achievement of credentials will be evidenced by a range of methods including qualifications or awards which are aligned to the credentials, evidence of prior learning and/or demonstration of current capability to carry out specific professional related activities. This combined clinical and academic delivery will better meet the needs of service, offering standardised and nationally transferable training routes for the workforce, recognisable to employers, employees and patients.

A key component of this work is the development by HEE of a Centre for Advancing Practice, which will accredit and oversight Advanced Practice programmes. Successful completion of a HEE accredited Advanced Practice programme will enable recognition as being educated to the national standard of advanced level of practice.

Development of the credentials

For each of the credentials, a steering group has provided guidance and specialist clinical expertise.  Membership of each steering group includes multi-professional and cross sector stakeholders (e.g. cross sector employers, educators, clinicians, professional bodies and Royal Colleges) to co-produce the phases of the work.  Representation from patients, carers and families with relevant lived experience has ensured the patient voice and co-production throughout the process.

Initial development included desk research and steering groups involvement to identify 21st Century workforce needs.  Based on this research the credentials have been developed to set out the knowledge, skills and behaviours required for the scope and level of practice with indicative assessment methods and grading descriptors.

Effective engagement and consultation with stakeholders underpins the development process, seeking to ensure the credentials meet the needs of both employers and education providers.

Based on the consultation process, a final draft of each credential will be developed, formatted to be consistent with the HEE ‘house style’ and linked to the emerging supervision, assessment, portfolio and educational requirements.

The expectation is for the credentials to be launched in late Spring 2022.  This timescale will be kept under review in light of the Covid 19 restrictions in order to ensure clinicians and other stakeholders are given time and opportunity to engage fully in the development process.

Further information


Registration of interest

To receive a notification when the final credentials are published, please ensure you have registered your interest, either as part of the consultation survey or by completing the form below.