Study Leave Guidance from 1 August 2021

 

Individual study leave funding is available to support the achievement of competences as defined by the specialty curricula. Trainees should ensure that curriculum requirements are relevant to their specialty and stage of training. Enhanced knowledge or career development activities are part of their PDP, as discussed with their Educational or Clinical Supervisor.

The Study Leave Guidance below and newly produced Course List provides the relevant information for Trainees when claiming study leave.

There is also an Annual Development Plan for each school, which references regional training courses planned for the next year for the Schools and the reference number should be used when/ if you claim any reimbursement for attending these courses.

Trainees should apply for study leave time and reimbursements through their employing Trust and work to the Trust policy except for the following specialties:

 Any queries regarding Study Leave should be directed to the Trainee’s Trust office in the first instance.

  

Guidance: Face to Face teaching and training from 1 August 2021

Regional teaching events will be expected to be conducted virtually wherever possible. It is appreciated that there is a need for some teaching and training that, due to its content, needs to be held face to face. Please note: facilitators / course organisers will need to complete the forms (Workplace Risk Assessment along with the F2F Teaching and Training Request Form) if applying for regional teaching, and these should be submitted to the Study Leave inbox. A reference number will be allocated by the HEE Study Leave Office which should be used in all correspondence in relation to the training and, in particular, on the Trust Monthly Return.

Local teaching within a Trust environment should be managed under the Trust Social Distancing and Risk policy.

The criteria by which regional face to face events should be judged are set out below:

The content is:

  • time critical (e.g. skills training required at this time in the trainee’s training programme)
  • directly linked to the curriculum of the trainee
  • required to be delivered face to face and cannot be delivered using other routes

If it is absolutely necessary to hold face to face teaching then:

  • Can appropriate social distancing be maintained?
  • Has a risk assessment been carried out by the organisers?
  • Is electronic access provided for those shielding/self-isolating and can sessions be recorded for those unable to attend?
  • Is appropriate PPE provided if the training required breaches social distancing rules? 

Please send the above documents and direct any queries through the StudyLeave.sw@hee.nhs.uk email address. 

 

Guidance: Attendance at Face to Face external events

Trainees are asked to consider the following when submitting a request to attend an external F2F teaching or training events: 

Primary criteria:

The content is:

  • not covered elsewhere in the Trainee’s training programme or by the Deanery
  • required to be delivered face to face and cannot be delivered using other routes (e.g. online / virtual)
  • time critical (e.g. skills training required at this time in the trainee’s training programme or can they leave it to a later date?)
  • directly linked to the curriculum of the trainee

 If it is absolutely necessary to attend an external course then:

  • Can the organisers confirm appropriate social distancing can be maintained?
  • Has a risk assessment been carried out by the organisers?

 

Guidance: Life Support Courses

Life support courses will be supported that are mandated within the specialty curricula and if the criteria cannot be met through the training programme, however, these should not be from a specific named provider unless this is the only option available.

Courses will be supported for trainees for the development of specific competencies, which can only be gained in this way, despite not being specifically mentioned within the curriculum. Please refer to the course list for your specialty for confirmation.

Advanced Life Support (ALS) courses will be supported where appropriate for specialty training. Trainees are asked, wherever possible to do these courses at the organisations in which they are placed, in order to take advantage of the lower ‘internal candidate’ fees.

Refresher courses for ALS / APLS / ATLS etc. are not covered by study leave funding and should be the responsibility of the Trust to support.

 

Guidance: PACES Courses Attendance.  

A single PACES course will be approved for trainees 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

UK PACES Prioritisation Criteria – 2021/3 | MRCPUK

4. they have ES support

5. TPDs will be asked to approve sign off until further notice and if further review is required approval should be submitted to the Head of School

 

Guidance: Exam Preparations / Revision courses

Most specialities carry out exam revision courses or run courses in preparation for examinations as part of their local and regional training programmes.  Requests for funding for external exam preparation/revision courses, therefore, are not funded.

When 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 trainee to attend (i.e. have access to) an examination preparation/revision course. Funding will be approved in these circumstances.

 

Guidance: Online Revision/Question Bank

In view of the extenuating circumstances related to COVID-19 the Deanery (HEE southwest) has also agreed to fund ONE online revision course, per programme, to the value of £400 for trainees approaching CCT in the academic year 2021. 

e.g Dr Doe, a psychiatry trainee, would like to download the SPMM question bank in order to study for the paper B exam. Dr Doe can claim up to £400 for online access to the question bank.  Dr Doe also wishes to attend another online revision course for the paper A exam:  this will need to be self-funded UNLESS there is a direct recommendation made by the PSW Team, HoS or ARCP Panel following a meeting/consultation.           

However, when 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 trainee to attend (i.e. - have access to) an examination preparation/revision course. Funding will be approved in these circumstances.

                                                                             

Guidance: Leadership and Management Courses

HEE provide trainees with an opportunity to attend Leadership and Development courses throughout their training and do not fund these courses individually or as part of a School regional teaching programme.

 

Guidance: Train the Trainer Courses and Teaching Courses

HEE provide trainees with an opportunity to attend Educational Supervision courses in the latter part of their training and apply for PG Cert Clinical Education courses through the Bursary application at different points in their training. 

 

Study Leave Guidance

 

Introduction

Principles of Study Leave

Public Sector Equality Duty 

Funding arrangements from 1st August 2021

Excluded Expenses

General Study Leave Information

Funding for Courses

Funding Approval

Postgraduate and Higher Courses, Leadership and Train the Trainer Courses

Roles and Responsibilities. 

Principles for Overseas Study Leave

Overseas Study Leave Application and Approval Process

Appeals process 

Time for Study Leave

Overnight Accommodation

Other Expenses 

GP Trainees - General Principles and Process

Foundation

MRCPsych and Psychiatry Higher Trainees 

MRCPsych and Psychiatry Higher Trainees – Severn Postgraduate Medical Education Team

MRCPsych

MRCPsych and Psychiatry Higher Trainees - Peninsula

Appendices

 

Introduction

This Guidance sets out the reviewed study leave arrangements for all postgraduate medical trainees who come under the remit of Health Education England, Southwest (HEE SW).

It applies from the 1st August 2021 for ALL eligible trainees – current and new in training and supersedes any other policy or guidance.

Any course attended and paid by the Trainee prior to 1 August 2021 will be reimbursed subject to the claim being submitted within 3 months of having attended the course and with the appropriate receipts / certificate of attendance.

Please note:  No extenuating circumstances will be accepted for submissions which do not comply with the policy.

The principles for Study Leave apply across all specialties. However, the processes for Foundation, GP Trainees and Psychiatry Trainees in the Severn area are managed differently. Please refer to the Postgraduate Medical Education Team 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.

Back to top of page

Principles of Study Leave

The Postgraduate Medical Education (PGME) Team is committed to: 

  • ensure every trainee has the opportunity to gain the competences relevant to their level of training as defined in each curriculum. This means that the PGME Study Leave Team South West 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 trainees; 
  • 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 trainee’s training programme  and which have been considered significant as part of trainees’ personal development plan (PDP); 
  • ensure a course list, provided by the School and specialty, to enable trainees to manage their study leave appropriately; 
  • requests for study leave which cost in excess of £600 and are not required by the curriculum should be discussed in advance with the trainee’s TPD.  (This doesn’t include overseas courses, postgraduate courses or higher qualifications). Trainees may be required to contribute towards the cost of these courses (e.g. CATEGORY 2 and CATEGORY 3). 

Please Note: The Head of School or delegated representative will have responsibility for final sign off for such a commitment and must be assured it is pertinent to the needs of the trainee at the trainee’s point in training.

 It is important that Trainees: 

  • 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 based in the South West wherever possible in order to make best use of funds; 
  • should discuss their curricular 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. 

 Back to top of page

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 trainee groups.

 Back to top of page

Funding arrangements from 1st August 2021  

• The study leave budget has been held centrally within the Post Graduate Medical Education Team Southwest since 1 April 2018.

• The main use of the study leave budget is for educational development courses to gain 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 trainee’s PDP and is on the course list (Trainees may be required to contribute towards these courses);

• Other individual training needs which support career progression and have been agreed in the trainee’s PDP and are on the course list (Trainees may be required to contribute towards these courses);

• Please refer to the application flowchart to ensure timeframes for applications are adhered to. 

• Please Note: 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.

 Back to top of page

Excluded Expenses 

  • Enrolment on to training programme and payment for portfolio access; 
  • ALS and other life support courses, which are not curriculum requirements (please refer to the course list
  • Refresher ALS and other life support courses 
  • Statutory and mandatory training required by employers; 
  • Other employer-related leave;
  • Courses for specialty examinations during Foundation Programme; 
  • Interview Leave of any type; 
  • Courses set up or attended in preparation for a consultant post; 
  • Multiple revision courses unless 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 trainee to attend; 
  • Travel, accommodation and subsistence relating to the above exclusions;
  • 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; 
  • Royal college membership fees/ E-portfolio fees; 
  • Travel and accommodation outside of the UK (unless approved by the Postgraduate Dean or delegated representative as part of an application for an overseas course / conference); 
  • ARCP attendance and associated expenses; 
  • Taxi fares; (only in exceptional circumstances – i.e. the health and safety of a trainee is compromised);

Trainees 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. Trainees will be reimbursed at the most economical rate of travel.

Travel arrangements whilst overseas and subsistence are not reimbursed.

Back to top of page

General Study Leave Information 

  • It is the responsibility of the Trust to ensure that study leave claims are managed according to the Guidance. 
  • Study Leave should only be approved once Trainees have completed all statutory and mandatory training. 
  • Requests for study leave time and reimbursement should be made to the trainee’s employing Trust following the Trust local application process (excluding Overseas Study Leave); 
  • General inquiries, except for Overseas Claims, from trainees that come directly to the Postgraduate Medical Education Study Leave team will be re-directed to the employing Trust office to respond; 
  • Trainees 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 trainees 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 trainee should ensure this does not make the trainee breach their contract requirements on hours worked or European Working Time Directive (EWTD). If study leave time is not allocated to the activity the Post Graduate Medical Education Team will be unable to reimburse the Trainee.  
  • Trainees should refer to the course list for approved/acceptable courses to attend. 
  • Payments for individual study leave requests will be made to trainees through their payroll process by the employing Trust following attendance at the course. (Exceptions to this are GP trainees in the Peninsula and Psychiatry Trainees in Severn). 
  • If a trainee is unable to attend an event because of ill health and is unable to recover some or all of any advance costs, the trainee 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 trainee 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; 
  • Trainees 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 trainees 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 Trainees with adequate time to submit a claim; 
  • Any claims submitted AFTER the deadline will not be reimbursed.

 Back to top of page

Funding for Courses

Your Specialty Head of School and/or education faculty will have provided HEE SW with a list of courses suitable to attend. The list is an aid to trainees in identifying the most appropriate time to attend courses during their programme.

Study Leave Course List

Courses are classified in 3 categories: 

  • (Cat 1) Required within the curriculum and unable to achieve competences through their training programme or regional teaching.  These courses will usually be fully funded. 

Courses over £600 require HoS or TPD sign off; courses over £1000 will be by exception and require HEE sign-off. 

This does not include Postgraduate Certificate, Diploma, other Postgraduate courses or any other higher level course – (See Postgraduate and Higher Courses for further information) or courses which support training to become a trainer or individual leadership courses; 

  • (Cat 2) Enhanced knowledge – not recognised as a requirement for the trainee’s curriculum, however activities will help the trainee 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; 

Trainees will be asked to contribute 25% of the cost towards the event, courses over £1000 will be by exception and require HEE sign-off.

  • (Cat 3) Career Progression - these courses should only be required at the latter stage of training. These courses should only be approved for funding if the trainee has achieved their core curriculum competencies for their stage of training.  

Trainees will be asked to contribute 50% of the cost towards the event, courses over £1000 will be by exception and require HEE sign-off.

  • Retrospective applications in all 3 Categories will not be reimbursed under any circumstances.

 Back to top of page

Funding Approval 

  • For activities that cost more than £600 (excluding overseas requests), the Training Programme Director or Head of School will need to approve irrespective that it is on the course list.  It is the responsibility of the Training Programme Director or Head of School to ensure that a trainee is attending an appropriate course and that it is value for money in attending; 
  • All courses requested must be in the trainee PDP, however they should also be on the course list; 
  • Funding will also be supported by HEE Team in line with the 3 categories noted in the Head of School Annual Development Plan and/or on the course list. 
  • Many specialties provide preparation for examinations as part of their local and regional training programmes e.g. CASC courses for the MRCPsych programme. Where this is the case, it should not be necessary for trainees to attend external examination preparation courses. 

These will, therefore, only be funded when there is a clearly defined exceptional need, such as a recommendation from the Professional Support and Well-Being team HEE South West (PSW SW), or the ARCP Panel/Head of School has recommended a trainee to attend an external examination preparation course; 

  • Trainees will not be funded to attend interviews for consultant posts; 
  • Regional training days should not incur a cost against the study leave budget for trainees. However, Trainees may apply for travel expenses to be reimbursed in accordance with this Guidance. 
  • Study leave should not be used to prepare for specialty examinations during foundation training;

 Back to top of page

Postgraduate and Higher Courses, Leadership and Train the Trainer Courses 

  • Applications for any postgraduate academic qualifications which are listed as an option as part of the specialty/sub specialty curriculum (e.g. Postgraduate Certificates, Diplomas and Masters) will not be accepted through the study leave application process.
  • The PGME Study Leave Team will continue to provide trainees 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.
  • Masters and PhD courses will not be funded under any circumstances.
  • Leadership courses run by independent providers will not be supported for funding.  There are opportunities for trainees to access a number of courses supported by the PGME Team which are either free or supported through the Bursary application process each year.  Applications will open in April/May and in some cases September each year and information will be posted on the website.

Back to top of page

Roles and Responsibilities  

Educational Supervisor  

  • 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 discuss personal development plans which are aligned to the trainee’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; 
  • Ensure courses/educational activities are approved at the right time in training; 
  • Verify the trainee has met the core curriculum requirements before approving study leave; 
  • Authorise study leave in timely manner as applicable; 
  • Not to approve retrospective requests for payments under any circumstances.  

Back to top of page

Trainee    

Trainees: 

  • should only apply for study leave when they have completed their mandatory training; 
  • 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 Trainee’s Rota Coordinator (or equivalent); 
  • Trainees 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 Trainee rotates to a different region the trainee will follow the study leave policy/guidance of that region.

Back to top of page 

Head of School and Training Programme Director   

  • To work collaboratively with Training Programme Directors and/or Educational Supervisors to assist with identifying their educational training programmes- both local and regional; 
  • It will be the responsibility of the Head of School to provide the Postgraduate Study Leave Team with their Annual Development Plan - Appendix 5 – and the Postgraduate Study Leave Team 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.  (Trainees should be able to gain access to the unique reference number on the Postgraduate Study Leave Team website 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 trainee to undertake the course elsewhere; 
  • To work collaboratively with the PGME Study Leave Team 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.

Back to top of page  

The Postgraduate Medical Education Team 

To make certain the Principles of Study Leave are managed by: 

  • ensuring probity of allocation, expenditure and approval is applied equitably and fairly; 
  • ensuring we meet the requirements as set out in this Guidance and evaluate data against curricula needs; 
  • ensuring funds are allocated correctly and to support delivering quality educational activity that meets trainee 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.

Back to top of page 

 Local Education Provider Education Centre 

  • Each Local Education Provider Education Centre is expected to keep a clear and concise record of all study leave time taken by individual trainees. This must be submitted in a timely manner on a monthly basis to the HEE local office
  • All staff involved in the approval of study leave must ensure that they are familiar with and follow The PGME Team Southwest 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 doctor 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 trainees will have equitable access to study leave.
  • To work collaboratively and constructively with the PGME Team managing Study Leave.

 Back to top of page

Principles for Overseas Study Leave  

  • Overseas courses or conferences will only be approved in very exceptional circumstances;
  • Notwithstanding the aforementioned approval would be required by the Postgraduate Dean or delegated person at the Postgraduate Medical Education Team; 
  • One overseas conference/meeting, providing all other curriculum requirements are met, will be considered for each 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);
  • Trainees 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: 
    1. For conferences, when the applicant is the first author and sole presenter of a paper which has been accepted for a poster or presentation. This poster or presentation must be based on the trainee’s own research undertaken as part of a clinical training programme or an NIHR recognized academic clinical fellowship or clinical lectureship;                                                                                                                                                                                                   
    2. 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);                                                                                                                                                                 
    3. When the funding required is less than that of attending the cheapest equivalent activity in the UK it is the trainee’s 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.

 Back to top of page

Overseas Study Leave Application and Approval Process

  • 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 PGME Team 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, trainees 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 trainees will receive an email acknowledging receipt. This will be within 4 working days of receiving the application; 
  • Trainees 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 trainee’s responsibility to ensure the application is submitted to the correct email address and in time for it to be processed- studyleave.sw@hee.nhs.uk
  • 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 trainee and the employing Trust in order to facilitate a smooth process for reimbursement; 
  • It is important to ensure that trainees provide all the information required in order for the PGME Study Leave Team 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 trainee’s application and fail to meet the required timescale; 
  • Events where Trainee’s 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 trainee at the conference; 
  • Trainees cannot claim for any reimbursement to an overseas event if they are using annual leave; 
  • If a trainee meets the application criteria and their application receives approval, The PGME Team 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; 
  • Subsistence and travel whilst abroad must be met by the trainee;  
  • 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. 
  • Trainees 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 trainee without the reference number; 
  • Trainees should not send any claims for reimbursement to the PGME Team 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, the PGME Team will expect that body to contribute at least 50% of the costs; 
  • Overseas revision courses will not be approved; 
  • Any costs incurred by the trainee without having prior approval will be borne by the trainee; 
  • On the rare occasion that a trainee 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 trainee would have normally been expected to pay for registration or course costs. Trainees 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 trainee attendance at the international event. 
  • The PGME Team will not consider retrospective claims under any circumstances.

 Back to top of page

Appeals process 

  • If a trainee 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 which their application was considered by making a written submission to Health Education England, Southwest. Trainees should use the email address StudyLeave.sw@hee.nhs.uk with the subject title “Appeal for Study Leave”; 
  • This should include the reason/s for the complaint 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 will be acknowledged within 5 working days; 
  • Members of the PGME Senior Education Team or the members from the SW PGME 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 Trainee will receive a response within 10 working days from the acknowledged receipt of the complaint; 
  • The decision following the appeal is final.

 Back to top of page

Time for Study Leave 

  • Each trainee will have an annual entitlement of 30 days’ study leave, with the exception of Foundation Year 1 trainees, who have an annual entitlement of 15 days.  Please see the information on the website.  Doctors study leave will take the form of a regular scheduled teaching/training session as agreed locally.  
  • Study leave for doctors 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; 
  • The PGME Study Leave Team supports the use of time for private study leave (up to 5 days from their allocated study leave days) before exams 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. Trainees need to be mindful of any impact of their taking private study leave on colleagues sitting the same exams.  
  • Trainees attending local teaching should not have any need to submit an expense claim. 
  • For the purposes of allocating time for study leave, each trainee’s 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); 
  • Trainees 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) trainees will have a pro-rata entitlement; 
  • Unused study leave entitlement cannot be carried forward to the next leave year (unless on parental leave); 
  • Where a trainee takes parental leave, their entitlement to study leave continues. This may be taken during ‘keeping in touch’ days (maximum of 10); alternatively, it will accrue and should be taken at a later date; 
  • The entitlement to Study Leave ends once a trainee reaches CCT and trainees are not entitled to Study Leave during the Period of Grace. 

 Back to top of page

Overnight Accommodation

  • 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 round trip ‘door to door’);
  • Accommodation costs to be covered by the PGME Study Leave Team South West will be limited to the duration of the event plus one night, either before or after the event dates;
  • Overnight costs will be reimbursed up to a maximum limit of £120 including breakfast (outside of London) and £150 (in London) (bed and breakfast).

 Back to top of page

Other Expenses 

  • 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 the Postgraduate Medical Education Study Leave Team reserves 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 the Postgraduate Medical Education Study Leave Team on their monthly return, failure to do this will result in the Trust having to reimburse the trainee; 
  • 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 £0.28p per mile; 
  • 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. 

 Back to top of page

Out of Programme 

  • Trainees 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. 
  • Trainees 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 trainees on OOPT will only be approved and funded where there is clear evidence linking the application to the specific curriculum requirement for the trainee’s individual specialty; 
  • The employing Trust will be responsible for the OOPT trainee and all claims should be made to them.  Their course attendance should be captured on the Postgraduate Medical Education Team return.  If issues are encountered the study leave teams will work across the Deaneries to resolve so trainees should contact them directly in these rare instances. 

Please send queries to studyleave.sw@hee.nhs.uk with a subject heading “OOPT payment query”

 Back to top of page

ACF and ACL 

  • 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 trainees; 
  • Academic Clinical Lecturers are employed by a University they will need to contact the Postgraduate Medical Education Study Leave Team’s generic email address StudyLeave.sw@hee.nhs.uk  BEFORE any study leave is supported or reimbursed. Please use the subject heading “ACL Study Leave”

 Back to top of page

GP Trainees - General Principles and Process

GP Trainees should refer to the following links:

Peninsula: HEESW Study Leave Guidance

Severn: HESW GP Study Leave Guidance

  • Trainees claiming for Overseas courses should follow the same process as mentioned in this Guidance. 

 Back to top of page

Foundation  

  • The legal requirements for study leave in the Foundation Programme (FP) are complex, as the arrangements for F1 and F2 trainees 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:

Back to top of page

MRCPsych and Psychiatry Higher Trainees 

  • The principles as noted in this Guidance apply to all Psychiatry Specialty trainees. 

 Back to top of page

MRCPsych and Psychiatry Higher Trainees – Severn Postgraduate Medical Education Team 

Applying, approval and payments

  • Currently the process for administering study leave approval and payments for Severn Postgraduate Medical Education Team Trainees is through the Postgraduate Medical Education Study Leave Team Local Office arrangements 
  • There is a fundamental issue with the Intrepid software and unfortunately the engineers are no further forward with finding a solution for us. There has been significant investment on the part of HEE to upgrade the study leave application process, in a product called “Accent Leave Manager”, and this will be rolled out as soon as possible. We do not have an exact date, however, it hopeful it will be available in the next 3 to 4 months.

  • In the meantime we have to work with the Intrepid software we have and implement a work around. We recognise your frustrations with the system, which are equally felt by HEE, and until we are able to roll out Accent Leave Manager we have put in place such a work around that will involve all parties supporting it. It is not an ideal solution but does not create any duplication and will ensure your requests for study leave time, and payments are accurately processed, and in a timely way.

  • The Study Leave Guidance sheet (Appendix 7) has been adapted to support a more robust process and eliminate any gaps when submitting claims for reimbursement, which we understand is a primary issue.

  • We will continue to review the integrity of this process to ensure it is providing both you and HEE with what is needed in order to process the study leave claims and payments whilst we wait for a permanent solution. 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 Intrepid, 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 Intrepid (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 Intrepid without this information and your request will be rejected and will incur a delay for approval. 

  • When you process your claim for payment, we will send an email confirmation of receipt within 5 days (this doesn’t happen currently). If you do not receive this please contact us SevPsychiatry.sw@hee.nhs.uk Subject Heading:  Issue with submitting claim for payment. If, however, you experience any issues when submitting your claim for payment please contact us immediately. SevPsychiatry.sw@hee.nhs.uk. 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 HEE will monitor the system and check the expected course dates; If HEE have not received a request from you for payment within 4 weeks of having attended the event, HEE 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. 

 Back to top of page

MRCPsych 

General 

  • 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 trainees’ curriculum needs. 

 Back to top of page

MRCPsych and Psychiatry Higher Trainees - Peninsula 

Applying, approval and payments 

  • Core and Higher Trainees will continue to submit their application to their employing NHS trust in accordance with local instructions and policy.

 Back to top of page

Appendices

Appendix 1                        Course List  

Appendix 2                        Study Leave Application Flowchart

Appendix 3                        Face to Face Teaching Request Form and Guidance

Appendix 4                        Face to Face Risk Assessment

Appendix 5                        ADP Course Reference List

Appendix 6                        Overseas Study Leave Application

Appendix 7                        Severn Psychiatry Trainee Study Leave Expenses Reimbursement Guidance

Back to top of page