For Doctors in Training and Specialty Registrars in Public Health

Preface

Intrepid Link

The purpose of this Policy document is to provide an overview of the collaboration of the management of Study Leave by Severn Postgraduate Medical Education and the employing Trusts.

Study leave is normally managed by the Trusts where the trainee is based. However for Severn Postgraduate Medical Education will continue to manage individual Study Leave for trainees within Foundation, Psychiatry, Public Health and General Practice. Please refer to the General Practice (GP), Psychiatry, Public Health or Foundation school’s home page for further information.

Trusts have also agreed that a proportion of study leave funds will be managed by Severn PGME in order to deliver enhanced regional teaching programmes. This varies by specialty and grade. Details can be provided by School Managers.

Please note that due to the utilisation of the Online Study Leave portal and the management of Study Leave moving to Trusts, your annual study leave allocation both monetary and days will be spread out equally between the Trusts based on time and place in post. The only exception to this is for trainees within Public Health, please refer to the school’s webpage. .

The following policy provides an overview of the purpose of Study Leave and rules of application that is supported by both the individual Trusts and Severn Postgraduate Medical Education.

Prof Selena Gray, Deputy Postgraduate Dean
July 2015


 

Definition
Aims
Stakeholder
Eligibility and Purpose of Study Leave
Rules and Agreement (Examination, Private Study, Authorisation Criteria)
Funding and Allocation of Days (Allocation of Days, Budget and Expenses)
Applying (Application period)
Equal Opportunities
Concerns involving Study Leave
Feedback

Definition

Study Leave, as defined in this Policy, covers both time taken and costs incurred in undertaking approved Study Leave.

In terms of the types of activities Study Leave covers, these include: internal training courses, external training courses, private study time, e-learning and time for examinations.

Aims

Study Leave aims to:

  • Enhance clinical education, training and learning.
  • Be incorporated as an integral part of the education and training process.
  • Provide education and training not easily acquired in the clinical setting e.g. the acquisition of a theoretical knowledge base.
  • Support the delivery of curriculum targets.
  • Be considered as part of the appraisal process between the trainee and their Educational Supervisor.

Stakeholders

Within the Study leave process there are a number a key stakeholders, all who have a responsibility within the process. These include:

  • Trainees
  • Health Education England and Health Education Southwest
  • Severn Postgraduate Medical Education
  • Specialty and Foundation Schools
  • Trust and Local Education Providers

See link on top right of screen to Key Stakeholders Overview.

Eligibility and Purpose of Study Leave

  • Using Modernising Medical Careers categories, those Trainees who are eligible for Study Leave are as follows:

    • Foundation Programme (F2 only). - Trainees should attend a dedicated, structured core educational programme, as described in the "Curriculum for the Foundation Years in Postgraduate Education and Training". The sessions are to be held in protected time during the normal working day and must be bleep free. Foundation Year 2 doctors must be released for attendance.
    • Specialty Trainees (including the Public Health Training Programme and the GP Training Programme except for those in general practice placements).
    • Locum Appointments for Training (LAT).
    • Academic Clinical Fellows/Academic Clinical Lecturer posts.
    • Trainees in their "grace period" post CCT.
    • Military trainees in a Severn placement are permitted to receive access to the same education and training opportunities as their civilian colleagues. Therefore, funding will be provided for training taken during this placement period and time off to attend will be granted. All such courses/training would need relevant approval and should be processed as per the Study Leave guidelines on the Severn Postgraduate Medical Education website.

Plus all trainees within these categories who are working flexibly or on Maternity Leave.

  • These items/areas are not eligible for Study Leave:

    • Learning and skills development required for clinical governance purposes, for example, induction and mandatory training this is provided by the Trust.
    • Doctors who are employed on a Locum Appointments for Service (LAS) contractual basis.
    • Teaching time, audits, risk management and clinical governance activities within the trainee's Trust are not classed as Study Leave (regional teaching is considered Study Leave).
    • Out of Programme trainees.

Study Leave Rules and Agreement

 

Required

Not allowed

Approved Study Leave must be relevant to the trainee's educational needs, appropriate to their experience and supportive to the training programme for which the trainee is enrolled and their planned career path.

Taking other paid employment during any period of Study Leave will be considered a disciplinary offence.

Trainees must have completed all Trust mandatory training, including induction, prior to requesting Study Leave time or funds.

Trainees should not register or pay for any course or examination prior to obtaining approval for it. Repayments in these circumstances are by no means guaranteed.

Wherever possible trainees should attend courses near to their training base and within their Severn Postgraduate Medical Education before requesting external courses.

Examination fees will not be reimbursed.

A trainee seeking Study Leave funding for training will be expected to have shown commitment and participated in other educational opportunities within their training programme prior to their first application.

Trainees should not normally take Study Leave in the first two weeks of the start of any new appointment in a Trust or rotation.

Requests should be submitted with Educational Supervisor’s permission, at least six weeks before the proposed Study Leave event through the Study Leave portal.

Retrospective applications for Study Leave will only be considered in exceptional circumstances.

Trainees must follow the process of approval as detailed in the standard GP, Psychiatry, Public Health and Foundation School documentation, and that which can be found at Trust level.

 

Trainees must ensure that an entry is inputted onto the Study Leave portal, for each course, or episode of leave.

 

Trainees must obtain authorisation from the relevant person in charge of rotas/arrange for a member of their team to cover Study Leave absences, including any on-call hours.

 

Trainees must provide a course description including content, previous course evaluation (if available) and overall costing with their application.

 

Study Leave for overseas courses or conferences will only be approved by the Head of the relevant School in exceptional circumstances.

 

Trainees should ensure that any courses are deemed appropriate and relevant by the educational Supervisors, prior to committing to a course.  A list of mandatory and desirable courses will be provided on the specialty school websites.

 

When requested, Feedback forms to be completed and returned within 7 days of completing the course.

 

Study Leave time should be taken evenly throughout the year and not taken in one placement.

 

Except for Foundation, all Study Leave application must be submitted online.

 

 

Examinations and Further Training

Examination fees will not be reimbursed.

Study leave will not normally be granted to attend the same course more than once or an examination more than twice, except with specific prior agreement from the trainee's Educational Supervisor and Academic Supervisor for Public Health StRs. If you do fail an exam you should immediately discuss your plan to prepare for resitting and study leave priorities for the forthcoming year with your supervisor.

NB Exceptions for Specialty Trainees only:

Study Leave can be used for the attendance at courses to assist with preparation for examinations, private study prior to examinations and for attendance at the examinations themselves.

For Specialty Trainees it can also be used for the attendance at specialty association meetings as a delegate or presenter.

Private Study Leave

Private Study Leave for home-based revision will not be automatically granted. Its aims and objectives should be discussed and agreed between the trainee and their Educational Supervisor and should serve a specific, defined purpose. Private study should only be granted if this does not disrupt the provision of service to patients. Private Study Leave should last no more than one working week at any one time.

NB Second Year Foundation trainees only:

Second year Foundation trainees should not be provided with private Study Leave to undertake preparation for examinations.

Authorisation Criteria

Study Leave will not automatically be granted – trainees must:

  • Gain authorisation in advance for both time-off and associated financial support.
  • Agree and develop a Personal Development Plan with their Educational Supervisor before any Study Leave is approved.
  • Ensure that appropriate approval has been obtained prior to taking Study Leave. NB: Unofficial absence from duty is regarded by the Trust as a breach of contract and may lead to disciplinary action.

Authorisation of Study Leave will be based on satisfaction of all of the following five criteria being met:

  1. Availability - that the trainee can be released from their normal place of work to attend the requested Study Leave activity.
  2. Relevance - Approved Study Leave must be relevant to the trainee's educational needs, appropriate to their experience and supportive to the training programme for which the trainee is enrolled and their planned career path.
  3. Eligibility - that the trainee has sufficient remaining Study Leave days to cover the requested activity.
  4. Funding - that the trainee has sufficient unallocated funding, within the defined limits, to cover the costs of the activity or the trainee has agreed to self-fund and has indicated this on the application form.
  5. Learning Agreement/Personal Development Plan - that an approved learning agreement or equivalent has been submitted to support the requested activity. Hard copies of learning agreements (or PDPs) recorded in the e-Portfolio should be provided to the relevant Educational Supervisor.

Funding and Allocation of Days

Allocation of Days per Trainee

Second Year Foundation Trainees only: each Foundation Year 2 doctor is entitled up to a maximum of 30 days annual study leave. Fifteen days should be used within the Local Education Provider and 15 can be used for regional study days outside the Local Education Provider. Up to 10 days of Study Leave may be used for taster experiences. The remainder may be used for the provision of the generic teaching programme. Trainees are expected to attend 70% of training opportunities, where provided.

Specialty trainees: are entitled to up to a maximum of 30 days Study Leave per year. The year's allocation is calculated from the date of commencement of an appointment or rotation, which normally includes 15 days per annum for in-house educational activities and 15 days for individual study leave.

Study leave allowance for GP ST1/2 trainees: 60 sessions per academic year (30 days equivalent - 15 internal and 15 external).

Trainees who are less than full-time working will be allocated study leave (days) on a pro-rata basis. However, a full study leave budget is available for flexible trainees, to enable them to undertake mandatory courses, which are available to a full-time trainee in the same Specialty.

Trainees in Locum Appointments for Training (LATs) exceeding three months are entitled to Study Leave on a pro-rata basis.

The Study Leave budget can currently be used for ILS (Intermediate Life Support) or ALS (Advanced Life Support) training and PLS (Paediatric Life Support) for specialities *.

Budget and Expenses

Trainees need to be aware that the cost of courses can vary considerably and not all courses a learner wants to attend will be identified as a need or a feasible option within funding available.

Expenses incurred for Study Leave, which would be considered for payment are:

  • Approved registration and/or course fees.
  • travel expenses if no course is available locally, specifically: standard class train and coach fares, economy internal (UK) air fares.
  • See the "Terms and Conditions of Service Handbook" for information about subsistence allowances.

Approved expenses may only be reimbursed following attendance at the educational activity, with appropriate, original receipts and proof of attendance.

Mileage for cars, passengers and pedal cycles will be paid according to the rules in the "Terms and Conditions of Service Handbook".

In accordance with the Severn Postgraduate Medical Education’s Environmental Policy trainees should consider car-sharing when attending the same activity, as appropriate.

Study Leave will only be granted in exceptional circumstances for overseas courses or conferences. For all trainees except Foundation, GP, Public Health and Psychiatry, please refer to the Trust policy with regards to claiming. For Foundation, GP, Public Health and Psychiatry any claim for travel expenses will only be applicable within the UK borders and should always be the most economically viable mode of transport. Any claim for subsistence and accommodation should be discussed with the School Support Manager in advance of leaving the UK.

Exam fees are not reimbursed but travel and accommodation expenses incurred whilst taking an exam may be claimed.

Study leave expenses can only be claimed once the study leave has been attended .For all trainees except Foundation, GP, Public Health and Psychiatry all expenses should be claimed as per Trust’s process. For Foundation, GP, Public Health and Psychiatry, please follow the appropriate school’s process.

The exact amount of Study Leave allowance varies between specialties and is reflective of the cost of internal courses provided to maximise support during your training programme.

Applying

Application Period

  • Study Leave should be planned as far in advance as possible.
  • Requests should be submitted at least six weeks before the proposed Study Leave event.
  • Retrospective applications for Study Leave will be considered for authorisation in exceptional circumstances.
  • Trainees should not normally take Study Leave in the first two weeks of the start of any new appointment in a Trust or rotation.

Method of Application

  • For all except Foundation trainees, application and expenses claims must be made through the Severn Postgraduate Medical Education Online Study Leave Portal. Guidance can be accessed as here:

Please note that you will also need to adhere to Trust department process for Study leave.

Foundation trainees to adhere to paper based system.

Equal Opportunities

Maternity Leave

For all trainees except Foundation, GP and Psychiatry, please refer to the Trust policy regarding your maternity rights whilst on Study leave,

For Foundation, GP and Psychiatry trainees on maternity leave will continue to be entitled to take Study Leave and expenses, within their allowance, during their maternity leave period.

During the maternity leave period, trainees who wish to attend Study Leave activities e.g. training courses, may do so. However, this is a matter of personal preference for the trainee and there is no obligation for them to attend Study Leave activities during the maternity leave period.

Upon return to work after their maternity leave period ends, trainees can use their accrued Study Leave and expenses, applying through the normal approval process. However, we advise that discussions take place between a trainee and their Educational/Clinical Supervisor about balancing patient care/maintaining a clinical service with time taken to undertake Study Leave. This may require negotiation about the period within which such study leave must be taken. We recommend that Supervisors should take a flexible approach in relation to this issue and consider each case on its merits.

Less than Full time

Trainees who are less than full-time working will be allocated study leave (days) on a pro-rata basis. However, a full study leave budget is available for flexible trainees, to enable them to undertake mandatory courses, which are available to a full-time trainee in the same Specialty.

Concerns involving Study Leave

We aim to be as flexible as possible in the interpretation of this policy to allow trainees to obtain the most appropriate and effective Study Leave to support their training; albeit within the confines of service needs and budgetary restrictions.

Any trainee in the Severn Postgraduate Medical Education, who considers that their request for Study Leave or expenses is unreasonably refused, has the right of raise their concerns. For all trainees except Foundation, GP, Public Health and Psychiatry should refer to the Trust policy on this matter. For Foundation, GP and Psychiatry should raise their concerns to the Deputy Postgraduate Dean Professor Selena Gray.

Feedback

If you wish to provide us with feedback for the continuous improvement of the Policy, please respond to Dr Geoffrey Wright, Postgraduate Dean.

* excludes GP trainees.