Funding Arrangements
Training Placements (Slot-Share - Part Time in a Full Time post - Supernumerary)
Temporary Appointments (LAT / FTSTA / FY2 Stand-Alone Posts)
Working Hours
Out of Hours Work
Study Leave
Period of Grace
Inter-Organisational Transfer
Application Process
Appeals Process (Eligibility for appeal - Registering an appeal - Process following an appeal being registered: The appeal panel - How the appeal is carried out - Decision of appeal)



Less than full time training (previously termed flexible training) is the means by which trainees undertake their training when they are unable to work and train full time for “well-founded” reasons. The NHS is committed to flexible working arrangements across the health economy and less than full time training is a method by which trainees can utilise the less than full time training scheme to balance their work and personal lives, as well as assisting those trainees who are in poor health or those who have a disability.


The purpose of this policy is to clarify how the less than full time training scheme works, who is eligible to apply and the arrangements necessary to secure approval. The scheme is also intended to make a meaningful contribution to the principles of equality and diversity, particularly in relation to working parents and trainees with a disability.

The policy also aims to demonstrate that Health Education South West recognises the demographic trends in the medical workforce and we are therefore committed to promoting and supporting access to less than full time training opportunities for eligible applicants.


This policy applies to all practitioners holding substantive contracts whose training is both educationally approved by Peninsula Postgraduate Medical Education and General Medical Council (GMC) and applies to the following grades:-

  • Foundation Year 1 Trainees
  • Foundation Year 2 Trainees
  • Core Trainees (CT1 – CT3)
  • Specialist Training Registrars (ST1 upwards)
  • Specialist Registrars (including LATs)
  • Academic Clinical Fellows (ACF)
  • Academic Clinical Lecturers (ACL)
  • Fixed Term Specialty Training Appointments (FTSTA)

Practitioners appointed to a programme that over-arches with the Severn Postgraduate Medical Education and is administered by a single organisation should refer to the Lead organisation less than full time policy. The table below details the Lead organisation for over-arching programmes:-


Peninsula Severn 
ST3+ General Surgery ST3+ Cardiothoracic Surgery
ST3+ Plastic Survery All levels Neurosurgery
ST3+ Respiratory Medicine ST3+ Renal Medicine
ST3+ Urology All levels Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
    All levels Public Health Medicine
    ST3+ Occupational Medicine



All trainees, both men and women are eligible to apply for less than full time working. Those wishing to do so must show that training on a full time basis would not be practical for them for well-founded individual reasons.

The only requirement to be permitted to train less than full time is a well founded individual reason. Reasons for needing to train on a less than full time basis are put into two main categories for the purpose of assessing eligibility. However, these categories are not exhaustive.

Category 1

Category 1A

Those doctors in training with:

  • Disability or ill health (this may include those on in-vitro fertility programmes);

Category 1B

  • Responsibility for caring for children;
  • Responsibility for caring for ill/disabled partner, relative or other dependant.

Category 2

Those doctors in training with:

  • Unique opportunities for their own personal/professional development, e.g. training for national/international sporting events, or short-term extraordinary responsibility e.g. a national committee.
  • Religious commitment - involving training for a particular religious role which requires a specific amount of time commitment.
  • Non-medical professional development such as management courses, law courses, fine arts courses or diploma in complementary therapies.

Category 1 applicants will have priority and Peninsula Postgraduate Medical Education will support all category 1 applicants.

Access to category 2 is dependent on individual circumstances and the availability of funding.

Other well-founded reasons will be considered for less than full time training but will be prioritised for the Postgraduate Dean (or nominated deputy) and will be dependent on the capacity of the programme and available resources.

Subject to eligibility, trainees may train less than full time from the outset or transfer from full time to less than full time (and back again if required).

Where a trainee no longer wishes or is no longer eligible to work on a less than full time basis they will return to full time training when an appropriate placement becomes available. Until that time the trainee will continue to work on a less than full time basis.

Any trainee wishing to work less than full time must have obtained a post in open competition. Unless advertised to the contrary, all competitively appointed posts are offered on a full time basis. If a trainee wishes to work less than full time they must notify the relevant Manager of their intentions at their earliest opportunity.

Anyone training less than full time will not normally be permitted to undertake any other paid or unpaid work.

Funding Arrangements

Heather Education South West funds the educational component of the basic salary and banding arrangements are the responsibility of the employer. These funding arrangements are intended to avoid financial disincentives for employers. The availability of less than full time training is ultimately dependent on available funding from both the LETB and the employers; however, where possible, appropriate measures will be taken to facilitate access.

Where a trainee is supernumerary the LETB will provide the educational component of the basic salary up to a maximum of F6 (0.6 of the full time basic salary based on the formula used for full time trainees). The out of hours supplement will be provided by the employing Trust.

Where two trainees’ slot-share the LETB will provide funding for the additional component of the basic salary, see example below:

  • Where two trainees slot-share in a full time post at F6 (0.6 of the full time basic salary) the Deanery will fund the additional 0.2 element of the basic salary. The out of hours supplement for both trainees will be provided by the employing Trust.

Training Placements

Less than full time training may be undertaken in one of three ways listed below:

  • Slot-Sharing
    • Slot-sharing works on the basis that two trainees occupy one full time post and manage the out of hours work between them.
    • Each trainee may work up to F6 (60% whole time equivalent). The LETB will provide surplus funding as an incentive to the employer to support the less than full time training placement.
    • Slot-share trainees must agree their working pattern with their Educational Supervisor to ensure educational and service needs are met. Flexibility will be required where specific working days are required by either or both parties. Typically slot-sharers will work separate days of the week with overlap on one day or more.
    • Opportunities for slot-sharing must be explored before any alternative arrangements are considered. Any trainee supernumerary or part time in a full time slot will be required to slot-share should the opportunity arise.
  • Part Time in a Full Time Slot
    • A trainee occupies an established full time post but works reduced hours.
    • As an established post no additional funding will be provided from the Deanery, however the employer may utilise any surplus funds to backfill any service gap.
    • A trainee may work up to F9 when part time in a full time slot, however, should there be a requirement to slot-share the trainee will be required to reduce their working hours to facilitate this. Trainees will be given three months notice of this change.
    • The trainee will have to complete the same approval paperwork even though there is no financial implication to the employing Trust.
  • Supernumerary
    • Supernumerary posts are those that are in addition to the usual complement of training posts in an employing Trust.
    • This option may only be considered where the GMC maximum training capacity for the programme is not exceeded and there is no detrimental effect on other trainees within the training programme.
    • Supernumerary placements will only be considered where slot-share arrangements or having a part time trainee in a full time slot is not practical. Examples would be those in ill health and those with dependants who suddenly need increased care.
    • The LETB will provide the educational component of the salary up to F6 (60% whole time equivalent). Any additional hours and banding supplement will be agreed and paid for by the employing Trust.

Temporary Appointments (LAT/FTSTA/FY2 Stand-Alone Posts)

Trainees appointed in open competition to a fixed term training post of 12 months or less will be eligible to apply for less than full time training.

The duration of the appointment will NOT be extended to allow a less than full time trainee to complete the whole time equivalent of the post advertised. For example, a trainee appointed into a 12 month LAT post working 60% whole time equivalent will not have their contract extended to 20 months to enable them to complete 12 months whole time equivalent in that specialty.

Where working less than full time will not allow the trainee to complete three months whole time equivalent in that specialty, that time may not be recognised towards CCT / CESR applications. The trainee should discuss this with the relevant Royal College and / or GMC.

It is unlikely that temporary appointments will be eligible to take up the post in a supernumerary capacity.


Trainees will normally be expected to move between posts within rotations on the same basis as a full time trainee in the same specialty, to ensure they receive a coherent programme of training that is educationally comparable with full time trainees.

Trainees on a programme that rotate through different specialties, such as the Foundation Training Programme, Core Medical Training, General Practice and Core Surgical Training may find their rotations change to enable opportunities to slot-share.

Trainees working less than full time may also find that their completion date for training may not correspond with August.

Working Hours

Less than full time training is counted exactly the same as full time work in all respects. The table below will assist in calculating the less than full time training required to meet the full time equivalent quota for training.


  6 Months 12 Months18 Months24 Months30 Months 36 Months 
 F5 (50% WTE) 20 hrs or more & less than 24 hrs 12 Months 24 Months 36 Months 48 Months 60 Months 72 Months 
 F6 (60% WTE) 24 hrs or more & less than 28 hrs 10 Months 20 Months 30 Months 40 Months  50 Months  60 Months 
 F7 (70% WTE) 28 hrs or more & less than 32 hrs 9 Months 17 Months  26 Months  34 Months  43 Months  51 Months 
 F8 (80% WTE) 32 hrs or more & less than 36 hrs 9 Months 15 Months  23 Months  30 Months  38 Months  45 Months 
 F9 (90% WTE) 36 hrs or more & less than 40 hrs 7 Months 13 Months  20 Months  27 Months  33 Months  40 Months 


For example, a trainee on a three year full time training programme working 60% whole time equivalent will take 60 months (five years) to complete, subject to satisfactory progression.

The table above should be used as a guide only. The duration of training for less than full time trainees will be determined in consultation with the Training Programme Director / Head of Foundation School.

In line with the GMC position statement on less than full time training (October 2011), trainees will be required to undertake no less than 50% full time training.

  • Only where a trainee experiences exceptional difficulties may the Postgraduate Dean reduce the time requirement further. The absolute minimum is 20% of full time training with the expectation that trainees should not take a placement at this level for more than 12 months.
  • For further information refer to the ‘GMC position statement on less than full time training – October 2011’ available on the website.

Out of Hours Work

Day time working, on-call and out of hours duties will be undertaken on a pro-rata basis to that worked by full time trainees in the same grade and specialty.

The only exceptions to this are circumstances for flexible training which make this impossible, provided that legal and educational requirements are met.


Base pay is determined by the actual hours of work undertaken by the less than full time trainee. As with full time trainees, a supplement is payable to reflect the level and frequency of out-of-hours work and is calculated as a proportion of the basic salary determined by the hours worked.

Basic pay and out-of-hours supplement queries should be directed to the employing Trust, usually via the Medical Staffing department.

For further information on pay please read the document ‘Doctors in flexible training – Equitable pay for flexible medical training’ available on the website.

Study Leave

Less than full time trainees are allocated study leave pro-rata to their full time counterparts.

Funding for less than full time trainees will be aggregated over the whole time of the programme and held in an Individual Learning Account (Intrepid) to ensure less than full time trainees receive the equivalent allocation as their full time counterparts.

Less than full time trainees are expected to make appropriate personal arrangements to access fixed training days when they are not rostered to work. This will require flexibility on part of the trainee to ensure they have access to all of the educational components of the training programme equivalent to their full time counterparts.

Less than full time trainees should refer to the Study Leave guidelines available on the website for further information on the allocation and application process.

Period of Grace

The purpose of the period of grace is to provide Specialty trainees (excluding those in General Practice) time to secure a Consultant or other post following attainment of their CCT / CESR.

The maximum duration of the period of grace is 6 months whether the trainee is full time or less than full time.

Inter-Organisational Transfer

Trainees accepted into the Peninsula Postgraduate Medical Education programme via an inter-deanery transfer who are already working less than full time will not have to re-establish eligibility; provided they have evidence of their eligibility to work less than full time from their originating organisation.

Trainees wishing to transfer to Peninsula Postgraduate Medical Education on a less than full time basis must follow the application process delineated in the guide. No trainee will be able to commence less than full time training until the application is approved.

Application Process

Refer to the less than full time application guide available on the website.

Appeals Process

An appeal is an opportunity to question a decision, or complain about treatment which a trainee considers to be unfair. An appeal will allow all parties to have the case heard before an independent panel, and a decision to be reached on the facts that have been presented.

Eligibility for Appeal

  • Trainees refused access to the less than full time training scheme are eligible to appeal.
  • The appeals process should not be used for:
    • Issues with the employing Trust relating to salary calculation or banding
    • Provision of out-of-hours in excess of those (if any) required for educational approval
    • Employers’ refusal to employ a flexible trainee on costs grounds

Registering an Appeal

Appeals should be submitted using the ‘Notification of Appeal’ available from the website.

The Notification of Appeal form must be sent to the Postgraduate Dean within 30 working days of the decision about which you are appealing being made.

A copy of the Notification of Appeal should also be sent to the relevant Foundation, Specialty or General Practice Manager detailed below:-

Process Following an Appeal Being Registered

The trainee will be invited to attend an appeal hearing to be held within 40 working days of the submission of the appeal.

An appeal hearing date will be set within one month of lodging the appeal, which will be confirmed in writing.

The trainee will be required to provide a Statement of Case which will need to be provided to the Postgraduate Dean at least 10 working days before the hearing.

The relevant Executive Lead will also be required to provide a statement of case to the Postgraduate Dean at least 10 working days before the hearing.

Both parties will be given copies of each other’s statement of case at least five working days before the hearing.

The statement of case will allow the Postgraduate Dean to study all written material in advance of the hearing and should include the following:

  • The reason for appeal
  • A simple list of events in date order
  • Copies of all correspondence and written evidence
  • Details of any witnesses used

The Appeal Panel

The appeal will be heard by an independent appeals panel.

The appeals panel will comprise as follows:

  • Postgraduate Dean (or nominated deputy) who will chair the appeal
  • One representative from the current NHS Employer nominated by the Chief Executive
  • One doctor in training nominated by the BMA
  • One independent external assessor
  • One representative nominated by the appellant

A person other than a panel member will keep a record of the proceedings. This will not be a verbatim record.

The trainee may be represented by a representative of their professional organisation or trade union. The representative may also be a work colleague, friend or any other person, other than someone acting in the capacity of a legally qualified practitioner.

The panel members will not have been involved in the original decision that gave rise to the appeal.

How the Appeal is Carried Out

The appeal will be a meeting between the panel, the relevant Executive Lead and the trainee.

The trainee, or representative, will be given the opportunity to put forward the reason for appeal.

The relevant Executive Lead will be given the opportunity to explain why the decision was made.

Any evidence additional to that included in the statement of case may be presented at this time provided both sides and the panel have been given a minimum of 5 working days to consider it fully.

Each side will have the opportunity to question the other on issues of fact.

At any time during the appeal a request can be made by either party for an opportunity to meet privately with representatives to consider any matter which may help in clarifying or resolving the appeal.

Decision of Appeal

The decision of the panel, and the reasons for making that decision, will normally be announced at the end of the appeal; this decision will be confirmed in writing within 10 working days. If, for any reason, a decision cannot be made at that time, a further date may be arranged to hear any further evidence pertaining to the appeal

If the decision is not forthcoming on the day, it will be made known to both parties within a further 10 working days unless a further date is to be arranged. If so, the need to arrange a further date will be made known within 10 working days and the further hearing will take place within 40 working days of the first hearing.

In any event, the decision of the panel in final.

The trainee may seek advice of their union representative at any stage during this procedure.