Study Leave Guidance from
1 August 2023
Individual study leave funding is available to support the achievement of competences as defined by the specialty curricula. Postgraduate doctors in training (PG DiTs) should ensure that curriculum requirements are relevant to their specialty and stage of training to claim for time and funding. Enhanced knowledge or career development activities should be registered on their PDP in order to claim time and funding as appropriate and should be discussed with and approved by their Educational Supervisor. There is also career progression support which should also be included on their PDP to claim time and funding as appropriate.
The Study Leave Guidance below and newly produced Course List (updated 1 August 23) provides the relevant information for PG DiTs when claiming study leave.
Postgraduate doctors in training should apply for study leave time and reimbursements through their employing Trust and work to the Trust policy for claims.
Exceptions until further notice are the following specialties. Please check with your postgraduate medical education office and discuss with the medical education manager.
Any queries PG DiTs have regarding Study Leave should be directed to the Postgraduate Medical Education Team at their Trust.
There is also a School’s Annual Development Plan which references regional training courses planned for the next academic year; the reference number should be used when/ if requesting time and claiming any reimbursement for attending these courses. Please see below.
Study Leave Documents
- Annual Development Plans
- Course List
- Funding Request Form
- Overseas Study Leave Application Form
- Severn Psychiatry doctor in training Study Leave Expenses Reimbursement Guidance
- Study Leave Application Flowchart Process
Study Leave Guidance
- Educational Supervisor
- Postgraduate doctors
- Head of School and Training Programme Director
- The Postgraduate Medical Education Team
This Guidance sets out the reviewed study leave arrangements for all postgraduate medical doctors in training who come under the remit of the Workforce, Training and Education Directorate for NHS England Southwest. Throughout this document referred to as NHSE SW.
It applies from the 1 August 2023 for all eligible postgraduate doctors in training and supersedes any other Guidance.
The August 2022 Guidance applies for all applications submitted up to the 31 July 2023.
The principles for Study Leave apply across all specialties. However, the processes for Foundation, Primary Care and Psychiatry PG DiTs in the Severn area are managed differently. Please refer to the NHS England SW website for more detailed information relating to these specialties.
Any changes to local and/or national policy or practice will be amended through this Guidance and updated accordingly.
NHSE South West – Workforce, Training and Education Directorate is committed to:
- ensure every postgraduate doctor in training has the opportunity to gain the competences relevant to their level of training as defined in each curriculum. This means that the NHSE SW Study Leave Team will direct funding towards curriculum delivery as a priority;
- improve quality and access to study leave and curriculum support;
- work in collaboration with our Trusts, educators and PG DiTs;
- ensure equity of access to relevant education and development opportunities required by curricula;
- support delivery of courses and learning opportunities which are explicitly required by the relevant curriculum;
- provide support, in line with the Guidance, for other reasonable education and development opportunities, relevant at the time of a PG DiTs training programme and which have been considered significant as part of a PG DiTs personal development plan (PDP);
- ensure a course list, provided by the School and specialty, to enable PG DiTs to manage their study leave appropriately;
- requests for study leave where the course fees cost in excess of £1000 should be discussed in advance with the PG DiTs TPD. They will also require NHS England SW approval.
NB This does not include overseas courses, postgraduate courses or higher qualifications – please refer to these subject areas separately in the document
It is important that postgraduate doctors in training:
- refer to the provided course lists by their specialty to access funds;
- take responsibility to ensure that training opportunities are accessed at the relevant time in their training and when it is most appropriate to the needs of the training programme;
- attend courses virtually or based in the South West wherever possible in order to make best use of funds;
- should discuss their curricula and personal study leave requirements with their Educational Supervisor and/or Training Programme Director at the start of each placement and at each educational review to ensure requirements are relevant.
Public Sector Equality Duty
We will review this Guidance annually and following any changes to national policy as they occur to ensure that this Guidance will not have an adverse impact on any postgraduate doctor in training groups.
- The study leave budget has been held centrally with NHSE SW since 1 April 2018.
- There is a finite budget for each region to support the fundamental principle of study leave. I.e. The main use of the study leave budget is for educational purposes to gain the competences defined in each curriculum.
Examples of funding arrangements include:
- Regional Study days;
- Other regionally-commissioned internal courses which meet curriculum requirements, such as the Professional and Generic Skills courses (travel costs only and in some instances overnight accommodation);
- Courses which are explicitly required by the relevant curriculum and on the course list;
- Courses which are a cost-effective way of delivering parts of the relevant curriculum;
- Life support courses (e.g. ALS, ATLS, APLS) when these are curriculum requirements. (See Course List)
- Other training, which is not required by the curriculum, but has been agreed in the PG DiTs PDP and is on the course list (PG DiTs may be required to contribute towards these courses);
- Other individual training needs which support career progression and have been agreed in the PG DiTs PDP and are on the course list (PG DiTs may be required to contribute towards these courses). Please refer to the application flowchart to ensure timeframes for applications are adhered to.
- Any mandatory/statutory training courses, should be funded locally by the employing Trust.
- Refresher life support courses that are employment requirements and not curriculum requirements should be supported by the Trust.
The ADP for each school provides an overview of any planned regional teaching and each event is given a related reference number. The reference number should be used when/ if postgraduate doctors in training claim any related expenses (i.e. travel) for attending these courses. Applications for study leave are with the Trusts.
Funding requests for other regional training events
Occasionally postgraduate doctors in training would like to deliver extra regional training events and these may be supported. Postgraduate doctors in training should discuss their plans with their Training Programme Director and/or Head of School.
Applications for funding should be sent to NHSE SW study leave team.
We are unable to fund the following:
- Enrolment on to training programme and payment for portfolio access;
- Statutory and mandatory training required by employers;
- Other employer-related leave;
- Courses for specialty examinations during the Foundation Programme;
- Interview Leave of any type eg consultant posts
- Courses set up or attended in preparation for a consultant post;
- More than 2 revision courses if not provided by the School and if there is a clearly defined exceptional need - such as a recommendation from the Professional Support and Well-Being team at the Deanery, (PSW SW), or the ARCP Panel/Head of School has recommended a postgraduate doctor to attend. Please see Exam Preparations / Revision courses (including Question Banks);
- Travel, accommodation and subsistence relating to employer related requirement;
- Professional examination fees at any point of training – e.g. FRCP exams.
- Retrospective applications (irrespective of circumstances);
- Fees for courses that are booked and not attended;
- Fees for courses not approved;
- Postgraduate courses e.g. Masters (see Postgraduate courses)
- Royal college membership fees/ E-portfolio fees;
- Open access journal publications
- Printing costs (posters for conferences)
- Course materials and books
- Travel and accommodation outside of the UK (please see Overseas Application process)
- ARCP attendance and associated expenses;
- Taxi fares; (only in exceptional circumstances – i.e. the health and safety of a postgraduate doctor is compromised);
Postgraduate doctors in training will be reimbursed at the most economical rate of travel. First Class or business class fares will not be supported. Early booking for travel and accommodation should be undertaken wherever possible to minimise the cost associated with attending an event.
Expenses for overseas travel include travel to the point of exit from the UK; it does not include car parking costs nor taxi fares. Postgraduate doctors in training will be reimbursed at the most economical rate of travel.
Travel arrangements whilst overseas and subsistence are not reimbursed.
- specified written
- When current ALS certification is required by the postgraduate doctor in training’s Local Education Provider (LEP)/employer but ALS certification or possessing adult life support capabilities is not a curriculum requirement, (for example, when GP doctors in training are in acute medical placements), the LEP should be responsible for funding ALS and the time spent undertaking the course should not come out of the individual’s Study Leave time allowance.
- A blended learning approach should generally be used for initial training minimising the amount of face-to-face training and assessment to save on faculty time and costs. Postgraduate doctors in training should be given Study Leave time for both the online and face-to-face elements of the course. The amount that NHS England SW will reimburse course providers for initial training is usually capped at £350 per delegate if not specified as a curriculum requirement.
- Top up training/recertification should be delivered through short refresher courses. The amount that NHS England SW will reimburse course providers for one day refresher courses and half day refresher courses is usually capped at £275 and £175 per delegate respectively if not specified as a curriculum requirement. Recertification if required by the curriculum will be funded fully.
- This cap does not apply to ATLS/APLS and other recognised life support courses, which will be supported fully if they are specified as a curriculum requirement.
Postgraduate doctors in training should attend online or regional courses as a first point of need.
Postgraduate doctors in training must have TPD sign-off to attend a PACES course. TPDs will be asked to consider the relevance of attending an external face to face PACES course before signing approval. If further review is required approval should be submitted to the Head of School.
A single PACES course will be approved and reimbursed where appropriate for postgraduate doctors in training if:
1. this is part of their PDP as appropriate for their stage of training
2. they cannot get the necessary experience within their usual work and training programme
3. they have a place in the upcoming exam or a good chance of being prioritised for a place, based on the MRCPUK criteria
4. they have ES support
This will be supported inline with the "Exam preparation/Revision Courses (including Question Banks)" guidance as below.
Please note this means that subject to the criteria mentioned in the "Exam Preparation/Revision Courses (including Question Banks)" guidance being met a single PACES course will reimbursed up to the value of £600 only. The difference will be met by the PG DiT.
Most specialities carry out exam revision courses or run courses in preparation for examinations as part of their local and regional training programmes. Where these courses are available, postgraduate doctors in training are also supported to attend one additional revision course up to £600 per programme. If a revision course is over £600, the difference should be met by the PG DiT.
Where a revision course is not run as part of the training programme, PG DiTs can access one external revision course and one additional online revision course up to the value of £600 (course fees) each per programme.
When there is a clearly defined exceptional need, an additional revision course will be funded per programme - such as a recommendation from the Professional Support and Well-Being team at the Deanery, (PSW SW), or the Dean/ Deputy Dean, or Head of School has recommended a postgraduate doctor in training to attend an examination preparation/revision course to support exceptional circumstances, funding will be approved.
NHS England SW provide postgraduate doctors in training with an opportunity to attend Leadership and Development courses throughout their training, therefore,
NHS England SW supports and offers the opportunity to attend the NHS England SW Keele Clinical and management course. Postgraduate doctors in training are advised to book onto the NHS England SW Keele course. .
Please find a list of further NHS England SW leadership and management courses and information on how to apply here.
NHS England SW provide postgraduate doctors in training with an opportunity to attend Peer Mentoring and Mentoring courses throughout their training and do not fund these courses individually or as part of a School regional teaching programme. Further information on mentoring can be found here.
Postgraduate doctors in training will be supported to attend one ‘train the trainer course’ during their training if this is approved by their Educational Supervisor, Head of School or Training Programme Director (and in some cases their Associate Dean). This will be fully reimbursed.
Educational Supervision courses from NHS England SW Faculty Development are available to attend in the latter part of training (during the final two years of training) at no cost to the postgraduate doctor. Please send expressions of interest to Faculty Development.
External Educational Supervision courses (specialty-specific) will be supported up to a maximum of £300- attendance in the final two years of training.
Postgraduate doctors in training can apply for a PG Cert Clinical Education course through the Bursary application at different points in their training, which is 50% funded and in most cases is at a reduced cost to the PG DiT. Further information on bursaries can be found here.
Postgraduate doctors in training wishing to apply for bursaries are advised to plan well ahead to ensure that they meet the application deadline. Applications will be advertised on the deanery websites.
NHS England SW will fund step-up courses as part of the regional teaching programme. These should be included on the annual development plan (ADP) as compiled by the TPD or HoS. NHS England SW are unable to fund step-up courses on an individual basis.
- It is the responsibility of the Trust to ensure that study leave claims are managed according to the Guidance.
- It is expected that study Leave should only be approved once postgraduate doctors in training have completed all statutory and mandatory training.
- Requests for study leave time and reimbursement should be made to the PG DiTs employing Trust following the Trust local application process (excluding Overseas Study Leave);
- General inquiries, except for Overseas Claims, from PG DiTs that come directly to the NHS England SW will be re-directed to the employing Trust office to respond;
- Postgraduate doctors in training are unable to be reimbursed for any courses attended if they are on annual leave days;
- Study leave days are taken as part of the PG DiTs working days. If it is necessary to take them on non-working days (e.g. weekend or rostered day off), then time in lieu days should be agreed with the Educational Supervisor at the time of agreeing the study leave, within a reasonable time frame from the activity. Both Educational Supervisor and the PG DiT should ensure this does not make the PG DiT breach their contract requirements on hours worked or European Working Time Directive (EWTD). If study leave time is not allocated to the activity the Trust will be unable to reimburse the PG DiT.
- Postgraduate doctors in training should refer to the course list for approved / acceptable courses to attend.
- Payments for individual study leave requests will be made to postgraduate doctors in training through their payroll process by the employing Trust following attendance at the course. (Exceptions to this are Primary Care PG DiTs in a practice setting and Psychiatry PG DiTs in Severn).
- If a postgraduate doctor in training is unable to attend an event because of ill health and is unable to recover some or all of any advance costs, the PG DiT should inform their trust administrator in accordance with the Trust policy. The Training Programme Director or Head of School will be required to determine the legitimacy of the reasons and make the final decision for payment. Payment should be made through the employing Trust and comments noted by the Trust administrator on the monthly report;
- If a postgraduate doctor in training is unable to attend an event or part of an event because they have been required to work by their employer, the cost will be met by the employer;
- Postgraduate doctors in training should provide proof of attendance and other receipts for external courses to the Trust when applying for reimbursement;
- Receipts will be required for all claims;
- Notwithstanding the requirements as set out above, PG DiTs must submit their expenses with adequate time for this to be processed by the Trust office. The expected timeframe would be at least 6- 8 weeks after the event and NO LATER than 3 months of having attended a course and having paid for it. This is in line with NHS Financial Regulations and NHS Terms and Conditions.
- The timeframe is required by all NHS employees and provides the PG DiT with adequate time to submit a claim;
- Any claims submitted AFTER the deadline will not be reimbursed.
The Specialty Head of School and/or education faculty will have provided NHS England SW with a list of courses suitable to attend. The list is an aid for postgraduate doctors in training to identify the most appropriate time to attend courses during their programme.
The course list will be updated annually (along with the Study Leave Guidance) - 1 August to 31 July.
Any curriculum changes which are subject to changed during the academic year will be added as an addendum to the website NOT the Course List or Study Leave Guidance. Study Leave Course List (updated August 23)
Important: Courses NOT on the course list will not be funded except for Category 3 courses (which are subject to specific criteria).
(Cat 1) Required within the curriculum and unable to achieve competences through their training programme or regional teaching.
o A course must be on the course list to be funded. These courses are fully funded.
o Any course over £1000, on the course list requires NHS England SW to approve prior to approval by the Trust. The request for approval should be sent to NHSE SW by the employing Trust ONLY
o Courses NOT on the course list at the start of the academic year will not be funded.
o The course list will be updated at the start of each academic year only.
Enhanced knowledge – not recognised as a requirement for the postgraduate doctor in training curriculum, however activities will help the PG DiT complete parts of the curriculum. It is expected that those applying for these courses will have met their core curriculum competencies for their stage of training.
o A course must be on the course list to be funded. These courses are fully funded.
o Any course over £1000, on the course list requires NHS England SW to approve prior to approval by the Trust. The request for approval should be sent to NHSE SW by the employing Trust ONLY
o Courses NOT on the course list at the start of the academic year will not be funded.
o The course list will be updated at the start of each academic year only.
Career Progression - these courses should only be required at the latter stage of training. These courses will only be approved for funding if the postgraduate doctor in training has achieved their core curriculum competencies for their stage of training and it is on their PDP.
o Postgraduate doctors in training will be asked to contribute 50% of the cost of the course;
o Courses not on the course list may be approved by the employing Trusts (if under £1000) subject to TPD approval and the course is on the Postgraduate doctors in training PDP.
o Subject to the appropriate criteria being met any course fees over £1000 will require NHSE SW approval. The request for approval should be sent to NHSE SW bythe employing Trust ONLY
There are some courses whereby categories do not apply and have separate funding arrangements as detailed in the study leave guidance. These courses are listed below with links to the related guidance.
- Leadership and Management Courses (including Professional and Generic skills)
- Revision Courses
- Train the Trainer, teaching, and educational supervisor courses
- Postgraduate and Higher Courses
- Life support Courses
It is the responsibility of the employing Trust to manage any requests for retrospective claims. NHS England SW are unable to support retrospective claims under any circumstances.
It is the responsibility of the Training Programme Director or Head of School to ensure that a postgraduate doctor is attending an appropriate course and if over £1000 it is value for money to attend.
It is the responsibility of the Postgraduate Doctors in Training to ensure they have:
- read and understood their Trust policy and process when requesting Study Leave time and claiming any reimbursements;
- read and understood the NHS England SW Study Leave Guidance
It is the responsibility of the Trust, as an employer, to ensure Postgraduate Doctors in Training have been inducted into the Trust and have been provided with the Trust Policy and process how to request study leave and claim their reimbursements.
It is the responsibility of NHS England SW to update Trusts and Postgraduate doctors in Training on any changes to the national principles for Study Leave.
- Course fees that cost more than £1000 require NHSE SW approval;
- Courses requested must be on the PG DiTs PDP. (Where required for the categories they should also be on the course list);
- Funding will be supported by NHS England SW for courses which are on the Annual Development Plan (ADP). (Please ensure the ADP reference number and detail of the course are included on the PG DiTs claim for expenses to the Trust study leave office;
- Regional training days should not incur a cost against the study leave budget for postgraduate doctors in training. However, postgraduate doctors in training may apply for travel expenses to be reimbursed in accordance with this Guidance.
- Postgraduate qualifications (PG Certificates and Diplomas) are no longer in curricula so would only be considered in exceptional circumstances and may be supported as a Category 3. Any such applications should be integral to the postgraduate doctor’s future career.
- Applications for any postgraduate academic qualifications which are listed as an option or as part of the specialty/sub specialty curriculum should have approval from NHS England SW prior to submitting a request for time and funding. Such an application may be supported as a Category 3.
- NHS England SW will continue to provide postgraduate doctors in training with an opportunity to access funding for postgraduate courses (excluding Masters courses) through the competitive Bursary application process each year. Applications will open in April/May and in some instances in September each year and information will be posted on the website here.
- Masters and PhD courses will not be funded under any circumstances.
- International Study Leave is not an entitlement and, in general, should usually only be contemplated by exception. International Study Leave should occur when the learning outcomes from the course/conference are not available in the UK (joint societies with a UK and Ireland remit for these purposes are considered as UK). Notwithstanding the aforementioned approval would be required by the Postgraduate Dean or delegated approver at the Postgraduate Medical Education Team;
- One overseas conference/meeting, providing all other curriculum requirements are met, will be considered for each postgraduate doctor in training for any one programme, which can be defined as Foundation, Core, Higher, or otherwise every three years (so as not to disadvantage doctors on a run-through programme);
- Postgraduate doctors in training will be expected to provide a clear and descriptive supporting statement explaining why competencies gained from an activity cannot be achieved from local and/or regional programmes, what will be their personal gain, as well as how it will enhance the needs of the wider NHS agenda;
- Funding for overseas study leave will only be considered if there is a documented discussion with the Educational Supervisor about the clear need of the course/conference to meet curriculum requirements, the course/conference provides a clearly stated curriculum outcome and one of the following criteria is met:
- For conferences, when the applicant is the first author and of a paper which has been accepted for a poster or presentation. This poster or presentation must be based on the Postgraduate Doctors in Training’s own research undertaken as part of a clinical training programme or an NIHR recognized academic clinical fellowship or clinical lectureship.
- For other courses or activities when there is no equivalent course or activity in the UK. (For example, an international conference for a very small specialty which does not have a UK conference);
- When the funding required is less than that of attending the cheapest equivalent activity in the UK it is the PG DiTs responsibility to provide evidence of this when applying for funding.
- For clarity with the exception of criterion 3, funding will be limited to one overseas activity per training programme or one overseas for any one programme, which can be defined as Foundation, Core, Higher, or otherwise every three years;
- It has been nationally agreed that joint UK and Irish Society meetings will not be counted as an overseas conference when they are held in Ireland.
- If service requirements prevent attendance at a UK based educational opportunity, an international alternative/equivalent could be considered.
- An overseas conference/meeting where the individual will attend remotely (not in person) will usually not be considered as International Study Leave. However, the suitability of the specific conference/meeting and remote attendance fee should be discussed between the PG DiT and their Educational Supervisor/equivalent and will be categorised as appropriate for the speciality course list. The TPD/equivalent should also be consulted to confirm the impact factor/quality of the specific international conference/meeting proposed.
- If an individual wishes to fund a period of International Study Leave by other means, the Educational Supervisor/equivalent should still ensure the activity aligns to the curriculum or PDP. This must be the case for any period of International Study Leave irrespective of how it is funded.
- The application process includes application for funding and application for time. Application for time is through the employing NHS Trust in accordance with local Trust policy;
- Application for funding should be submitted to the NHSE SW Study Leave inbox with the full agenda/conference details attached (including costs); Costs for accommodation and travel should also be included. The email subject heading should read “Overseas REQUEST for Study Leave” and sent at least a minimum of 8 weeks prior to the event; (Overseas Application Form)
- Where there are different ranges of fees for the event and approval is given to attend, postgraduate doctors will only be reimbursed for the early bird fees. Membership fees which are included in the event fees will not be reimbursed.
- Upon receipt the application is logged and dated and postgraduate doctors in training will receive an email acknowledging receipt. This will be within 4 working days of receiving the application;
- Postgraduate doctors in training should not commit to the costs of international events until approval has been received. Study leave applications for overseas activity must be approved by the Southwest Postgraduate Dean or the nominated deputy BEFORE applying for reimbursement.
- It is the PG DiTs responsibility to ensure the application is submitted to the correct email addresses and in time for it to be processed by both the employing NHS England SW.
- A decision will be returned between 5 to 10 working days from the date of the acknowledged receipt email. If approved a copy of the outcome and reference number will be sent to the PG DiT and the employing Trust in order to facilitate a smooth process for reimbursement;
- It is important to ensure that PG DiTs provide all the information required in order for NHS England SW to make an informed decision. The application must be signed by the Educational Supervisor/Training Programme Director or Head of School – whichever is appropriate to the needs of the request. Confirmation from the sponsor’s email will be accepted if a signature is difficult to obtain stating they support the application under the terms of the overseas guidance requirements.
- Applications will be returned if there are any details missing or there is insufficient information. This may delay a postgraduate doctors’ application and fail to meet the required timescale;
- Events where PG DiTs require longer than 4 days attendance will need to be agreed by the HoS and in some cases funding may only be reimbursed according to the involvement of the postgraduate doctor at the conference;
- Postgraduate doctors in training cannot claim for any reimbursement to an overseas event if they are using annual leave;
- If a postgraduate doctor in training meets the application criteria and their application receives approval, NHS England SW will consider funding either the cost of the course/conference fees or the cost of economy travel and/or accommodation whichever is the lower amount;
- Requests for reimbursement of overnight accommodation costs will only be granted where it is not reasonable to travel on the day of the event or end of the event; the overnight rate should not exceed £120 per night. Subsistence expenses will not usually be re-imbursed by NHS England SW.
- Subsistence and travel whilst abroad must be met by the PG DiT;
- Travel to the airport in the UK will be reimbursed at the most economical rate – which may be the equivalent to standard rate train fares or coach. Airport car parking or taxi fares will not be reimbursed.
- Postgraduate doctors in training will be given a reference number for the application and this should be given to the Trust, along with any other documentation required by their Trust when submitting a claim. The Trust will include this on the monthly Study Leave return. Trusts are unable to reimburse a PG DiT without the reference number;
- Postgraduate doctors in training should not send any claims for reimbursement to NHS England SW as they are unable to process these;
- If an external body such as a Medical Royal College suggests a doctor in training attends an international conference, NHS England SW will expect that body to contribute at least 50% of the costs;
- Overseas revision courses will not be approved;
- Any costs incurred by the postgraduate doctor in training without having prior approval will be borne by the PG DiT.
- On the rare occasion that a postgraduate doctor in training can attend an international event that has no associated registration or course costs, the amount of support towards travel and accommodation will be limited to the amount that the postgraduate doctor would have normally been expected to pay for registration or course costs. PG DiTs will be expected to provide evidence of the normal event or registration costs to support their claim. If this evidence cannot be provided there will be a limit of £120 (equivalent of one overnight stay) to support PG DiTs attendance at the international event.
- It is the responsibility of the employing Trust to manage any requests for retrospective claims. NHS England SW are unable to support retrospective claims under any circumstances.
An appeal should only be submitted if a postgraduate doctor in training believes the process has not been followed fairly and consistently.
An appeal should not be submitted if the postgraduate doctor considers the outcome unfair although this may be affected if the process is deemed to be incorrect.
- If a postgraduate doctor in training has reason to believe that their study leave application was processed unfairly or incorrectly, they are able to request a review of the process by making a written submission to NHS England SW. Postgraduate doctors in training should use the email address firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject title “Appeal Process for Study Leave”;
- This should include the reason/s for the appeal of the process and any evidence to support their appeal;
- All written submissions must be sent with the original application form and outcome received. This should be made within 10 working days of being notified of the outcome;
- Receipt of the appeal will be acknowledged within 5 working days;
- Members of the NHS England SW Workforce, Transformation & Education Senior Team or the members from the SW Study Leave Oversight Group will review the evidence submitted and whether the process was followed fairly - as stated in the Southwest Study Leave Guidance. They will, as a result of this review, consider whether the outcome was fairly and equitably reached;
- The Postgraduate doctor in training will receive a response within 10 working days from the acknowledged receipt of the complaint;
The decision from the senior panel following the appeal is final.
- Each postgraduate doctor in training will have an annual entitlement of 30 days’ study leave, with the exception of Foundation Year 1, who have an annual entitlement of 15 days. Core Psychiatry study leave is encompassed in the MRCPsych requirements so may have circa 10 days or less to attend other courses. PG DiTs should refer to the information below. Postgraduate doctors in training study leave will take the form of a regular scheduled teaching/training session as agreed locally.
- Study leave for postgraduate doctors in training at Foundation Year 2 and above will include periods of regular scheduled teaching/training sessions, and may also, with approval from the Educational Supervisor and Service Manager, include: -
- Undertaking an approved external course;
- Periods of sitting (or preparing for) an examination for a higher qualification where it is a requirement of the curriculum.
- Regional teaching and training days are included in the 30 days allowance, and the time off will need to be applied for prior to attendance.
- NHS England SW supports the use of time for private study leave (up to 5 days from their allocated study leave days) to support exam revision but only where this fits in with the policies and service requirements of the department in which they will be employed at the time of the study leave. Postgraduate doctors in training need to be mindful of any impact of their taking private study leave on colleagues sitting the same exams.
- Postgraduate doctors in training attending local teaching should not submit an expense claim.
- For the purposes of allocating time for study leave, each PG DiTs study leave year runs from the changeover date of their programme to the changeover date in the following year (e.g. for programmes with nationally agreed start dates in August, the leave year is from the first Wednesday in August until the last Tuesday in August the following year).
- Postgraduate doctors in training who start or complete their training part way through the study leave year will have a pro-rata entitlement until the end of their programme’s leave year.
- Less Than Full-time (LTFT) PG DiTs will have a pro-rata entitlement.
- Unused study leave entitlement cannot be carried forward to the next leave year
- Where a PG DiT takes parental leave, their entitlement to study leave continues. This may be taken during ‘keeping in touch’ days if it is relevant and appropriate to support CCT (maximum of 10). Alternatively, it will accrue and should be taken at a later date; however, the accrual of study leave will depend on the requirements of the curriculum for the individual’s stage of training and to ensure the needs of service delivery can be safely met.
- The entitlement to Study Leave ends once a PG DiT reaches CCT. Postgraduate doctors in training are not entitled to Study Leave during the Period of Grace.
- Requests for reimbursement of overnight accommodation costs will only be granted where it is not reasonable to travel on the day of the event (for example, the distance to the event is greater than 100 miles and round trip from their place of work).
- Accommodation costs to be covered by NHS England SW will be limited to the duration of the event. One night, either before or on the night of the last day of the event can be funded if travel to the is in excess of the 100 miles round trip e.g. the course runs from February 1st to 4th February can either claim for 31 January to 3rd February OR 1st February to the 4th February.
- Overnight costs will be reimbursed up to a maximum limit of £120 including breakfast (outside of London) and £150 (in London) (bed and breakfast).
- Postgraduate doctors in training can claim up to £20 per night if staying with friends or family.
- Every claim form must be submitted with proof of expenditure and submitted within 6-8 weeks, and absolutely no later than 3 months, of the expenditure and/or attendance after the event date if the event is later than the date of payment. Any claims received without proof and after the deadline will not be reimbursed;
- Travel must be taken using the most cost-effective means possible and NHS England SW reserve the right to reimburse travel at the most cost-effective rate if submissions are excessive;
- It is the responsibility of the Trust to monitor and challenge these expenses prior to submitting them to NHS England SW on their monthly Study Leave return, failure to do this will result in the Trust having to reimburse the postgraduate doctor in training;
- Reimbursement for alcoholic beverages will not be reimbursed under any circumstances;
- Flights within the UK may be considered if this is the most cost-effective option, however pre-approval from the Head of School must be obtained;
- Mileage shall be reimbursed at £0.30p per mile in accordance with National Policy i.e. calculated from work base to educational event and not from home to educational event.
- Evening meal allowance (more than ten hours away from base and return after 7:00 pm) UP TO £15.00 on any ONE receipt – the expectation is that one receipt supports one meal - please do not submit multiple receipts to the value of £15 to the Trust office;
- Evening meal allowance per 24 hour period is UP TO £20.00 on any ONE receipt - please do not submit multiple receipts to the Trust – the expectation is that one receipt supports one evening meal;
- Lunch allowance (more than five hours away from base, including the lunchtime period between 12:00 pm to 2:00pm) UP TO £5.00 on any one receipt - the expectation is that one receipt supports one meal - please do not submit multiple receipts to the Trust office.
- Exam fees are not funded. Travel to the exam, accommodation and subsistence can usually be claimed from the study leave budget in accordance with the above guidance.
- Postgraduate doctors in training on Out of Programme Experience (OOPE), Out of Programme Research (OOPR), Out of Programme Career Break (OOPC) or Out of Programme Pause (OOPP) are not entitled to study leave for the period they are out of programme.
- In general PG DiTs are not entitled to Study Leave per se UNLESS it support their training and contributes to their CCT. They can use their KIT days for this and need to ensure they liaise with the their medical HR team as well as their PGME centre so their requests are processed.
- Postgraduate doctors in training during times of prolonged leave such as sick leave are not eligible for Study Leave.
- It may be appropriate for PG DiTs to access Supported Return To Training (‘SuppoRTT’) funding/opportunities in preparation for returning from OOP/prolonged leave. Please contact your trust suppoRTT champion for further information.
- Postgraduate doctors in training on Out of Programme Training (OOPT) are normally only entitled to study leave for this period if they are occupying a training post on a training programme;
- Applications for individuals on OOPT will only be approved and funded where there is clear evidence linking the application to the specific curriculum requirement (category 1 courses only). Where uncertain, this will be at the discretion of the ‘base’ Postgraduate Dean or delegated Responsible Officer(s).
- The employing Trust will be responsible for the OOPT PG DiT and all claims should be made to them. Their course attendance should be captured on the NHS England SW Study Leave return. If issues are encountered the study leave teams will work across the Deaneries to resolve so PG DiTs should contact them directly in these rare instances. Please send queries to email@example.com with a subject heading “OOPT payment query”
- Academic Clinical Fellows and Academic Clinical Lecturers are entitled to study leave on a pro-rata basis, in line with their clinical work allocation;
- Academic Clinical Fellows follow the same procedure for study leave as other postgraduate doctors in training;
- Academic Clinical Lecturers are employed by a University and will need to email NHS England’s SW Study Leave Team (firstname.lastname@example.org) BEFORE any study leave is supported or reimbursed. Please use the subject heading “ACL Study Leave”
- Academic Clinical Fellow and ACL should apply for STUDY LEAVE TIME from their employing organisation and in accordance with their policy.
- To claim for STUDY LEAVE FUNDING the ACF/ACL will need to apply to NHSE South West attaching their Trust / or employer application form requesting study leave time with the details of the course etc
- The principles for reimbursement apply for ACF and ACL as required for all Postgraduate Doctors in Training.
- To ensure they enact the Guidance in line with the requirements and liaise with the Training Programme Director and Head of School to ensure there is clarity in the decision-making and approval process;
- To familiarise themselves with the course list for their speciality
- To discuss personal development plans which are aligned to the postgraduate doctor’s needs at that time in their training; ensure all mandatory training should be completed prior to any approval for study leave and career progression activity should only be approved if the core competencies are being met satisfactorily;
- To ensure courses/educational activities are approved at the right time in training;
- To verify the postgraduate doctor has met the core curriculum requirements before approving study leave;
- To authorise study leave in timely manner as applicable;
- Not to approve retrospective requests for time nor payments under any circumstances
Postgraduate doctors in training:
- should only apply for study leave when they have completed their mandatory training;
- should familiarise themselves with the course list for their speciality
- should gain TPD or HoS approval of any courses not on the course list or over £1000 (course fees only).
- should prioritise their application for study leave in line with their needs at the point of training and consider the integrity of the requests for training which are not aligned to their curriculum requirements;
- must meet the standards expected of them, in accordance with their obligation to demonstrate professional integrity, when applying for a course, event or conference;
- will be expected to adhere to the NHS Financial Regulatory Terms and Conditions when submitting a claim;
- must be aware of local policies, where some units require a notice period of at least 8 weeks prior to applying for a course (e.g. overseas requests);
- should ensure they apply for local approval of study leave in good time after discussion with, and the approval of, their Educational Supervisor (or Training Programme Director or Head of School where applicable);
- must apply for study leave using the local provider system;
- must seek approval for time off in advance and approval for the time must be approved by the postgraduate doctor’s Rota Coordinator (or equivalent);
- Postgraduate doctors should provide proof of attendance in line with the Trust policy for other courses for which they are claiming study leave time and/or costs.
- All applications for study leave approval must be made in advance to the employing Trust with the exception of requests for overseas courses/conferences – (See Overseas in this Guidance);
- Where a postgraduate doctor in training rotates to a different region, they will follow the study leave policy/guidance of that region.
- To work collaboratively with Training Programme Directors and/or Educational Supervisors to assist with identifying their educational training programmes- both local and regional;
- To provide support to update the course list for their speciality on an annual basis;
- It will be the responsibility of the Head of School to provide NHS England SW with their Annual Development Plan and NHS England SW will confirm to the Heads of School the funding allocated to support these courses. Each course will have a unique reference number and must be included against the expenditure on the monthly return. (Postgraduate doctors in training should be able to gain access to the unique reference number on the NHS England SW website for regional teaching days if they wish to self-certify attendance and claim any expenses related to that event);
- To offer advice, clarification and approval for study leave if required;
- Assess where a course or equivalent is available locally or regionally, funding should only be approved in truly exceptional circumstances for a postgraduate doctor to undertake the course elsewhere;
- To work collaboratively with NHS England SW to ensure that study leave funding is managed with integrity, according to the principles of this Guidance, ensuring equity and fairness is applied in the process.
To make certain the Principles of Study Leave are managed by:
- ensuring probity of allocation, expenditure and approval is applied equitably and fairly;
- ensuring they provide to NHS England SW the information required as set out in this Guidance;
- ensuring funds are allocated correctly and to support delivering quality educational activity that meets postgraduate doctors in training and local needs;
- working collaboratively with the Study Leave Oversight Group members and Trusts to ensure a mutually fair, transparent and equitable process is in place;
- working collaboratively with the Heads of School (and/or Training Programme Directors);
- ensuring the Study Leave process is fit for purpose.
- Each Local Education Provider Education Centre is expected to keep a clear and concise record of all study leave time taken by individual postgraduate doctors in training. This must be submitted in a timely manner on a monthly basis to NHS England SW;
- All staff involved in the approval of study leave must ensure that they are familiar with and follow NHS England SW Study Leave Guidance. This is essential if we are to ensure that study leave funding is allocated in a fair, equitable and consistent way;
- Ensure through discussion with clinical leads and/or process that payment is made appropriately and in a timely manner;
- Where a postgraduate doctor in training takes maternity leave the Trust will ensure that their entitlement to study leave continues; this may be taken during ‘keeping in touch’ (KIT) days or will otherwise accrue to be taken at a later date;
- The Trust will ensure that LTFT and academic postgraduate doctors in training will have equitable access to study leave.
Primary Care Postgraduate doctors should refer to the following links:
- Postgraduate doctors in training claiming for Overseas courses should follow the same process as mentioned in this Guidance.
- The legal requirements for study leave in the Foundation Programme (FP) are complex, as the arrangements for F1 and F2 doctors differ;
- The principle of study leave within the Foundation Programme (FP) is that professional leave or study leave should normally only be granted for the purposes of supporting the FP curriculum. For full guidance please refer to the Foundation webpage:
- Peninsula Foundation School
- Severn PGME Foundation School
Good Practice Guidance:
- In principle faculty should take a blended approach to regional/out of base teaching unless it is a practical event;
- The decision to run a course face-to-face is devolved to the programme leads. These events should happen as much as possible in a Trust or other NHS premises and appropriate health and safety measures according to the Trust/ Organisation policy should be in place;
- Drs in training should be given the option to attend virtually if there is no practical element to the course and/or there is no need for them to attend face-to-face;
- If a face-to-face event is planned, it is off NHS premises and NHS England SW are funding the event, it should have been noted and agreed on the Annual Development Plan (ADP) a reference number will have been assigned for that event and needs to be included on any application made by the postgraduate doctor in training. (Please liaise with your local MEM for assistance with this);
- If you wish to run any courses on NHS England SW premises please liaise with your Education Programme Manager as these will need to be booked with sufficient notice;
- A Funding Request form will be required for any courses not on the ADP. It will require NHS England SW to agree funding before it can be organised and delivered;
- If a postgraduate doctor in training wishes to run a face-to-face teaching event which is unplanned and not on the ADP please ensure the Head of School/ Training Programme Director or Educational Supervisor supports this request and any appropriate health and safety measures have been taken; if funding is required a Funding Request Form will need to be completed and submitted to the study leave inbox prior to running the event;
- It is the responsibility of the faculty member approving the course delivery to ensure the details for running an event are applied and sent to NHS England SW as appropriate as described above;
- If required all necessary paperwork should be completed to demonstrate health and safety requirements have been adhered to, any funding has been agreed and an appropriate reference number has been provided to the organisers.
- Please ensure the reference number is included on any claim made by the postgraduate doctor in training and detail of the course are discussed with the Trust Medical Education Manager for them to be able to reimburse individuals and claim back funds from NHSE SW.
- The principles as noted in this Guidance apply to all Psychiatry Specialty postgraduate doctors in training.
MRCPsych and Psychiatry Higher Postgraduate doctors in training– Severn Postgraduate Medical Education Team
- Currently the process for administering study leave approval and payments for Severn postgraduate doctors in training is through the Postgraduate Medical Education Study Leave Team Local Office arrangements
- Study Leave is managed through an online system called ‘Accent Leave Manager’; previously this was Intrepid.
- The Study Leave Guidance sheet (Appendix 6) has been adapted to support a more robust process and eliminate any gaps when submitting claims for reimbursement.
- We will continue to review the integrity of this process to ensure it is providing both you and NHSE SW with what is needed in order to process the study leave claims and payments. We are also discussing the possibilities of the Trusts managing study leave in the near future and will keep you posted.
- The Guidance Sheet (both in narrative form and in flowchart form) should be comprehensive and provide a step by step guide to the process. The following highlights the main changes in the process followed currently:
- There is no longer a need to submit a separate application form to that which is requested on Accent, signed by your educational supervisor. However, by applying for study leave time and to attend an event we will assume you have had approval from your ES and that it is a necessary course required at your specific point in training.
- By not completing an application form we will need to know what category of event it is and will ask you to indicate if the course is CATEGORY 1, 2 or 3.
NB: This information should be added when you fill in the “Course Name” on Accent Leave Manager (for example ‘Psychiatry Conference – Category 1’). Information on the categories 1/2/3 can be found here. (In brief Cat 1 is a mandatory requirement of the curriculum to achieve CCT, Cat 2 is a course to support enhanced knowledge (not required to achieve CCT) and Cat 3 is a course which would support career progression (not required to achieve CCT). This is important information we require for audit purposes. Regretfully we will be unable to accept your request on Accent without this information and your request will be rejected and will incur a delay for approval.
- When we process your claim for payment, we will send an email confirmation of receipt within 5 days. If you do not receive this please contact us email@example.com Subject Heading: Issue with submitting claim for payment. If, however, you experience any issues when submitting your claim for payment please contact us immediately. firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject Heading: Issue with submitting claim for payment. We can then look into it and take steps to resolve the issue.
- As a fail safe to the point above NHSE SW will monitor the system and check the expected course dates; If NHSE SW have not received a request from you for payment within 4 weeks of having attended the event, NHSE SW will contact you. This will not only close the potential gap and delay in reimbursing you, it also ensures that if you are experiencing any difficulties we are aware sooner and it helps to ensure that the payment request is received within the 3 months deadline.
- The curriculum requirements for MRCPsych are achieved from attending this course, therefore there should be no additional (required) courses that should be applied for to help achieve CCT. However, from time to time other courses may be considered if they are on the course list and essential to the postgraduate doctor in trainings curriculum needs.
MRCPsych and Psychiatry Higher Postgraduate doctors - Peninsula
Applying, approval and payments
- Core and Higher Postgraduate doctors in training will continue to submit their application to their employing NHS trust in accordance with local instructions and policy.
Course List (updated August 2023)