Introduction
Monitoring Compliance
Scope of the Policy
Eligibility and Exclusions
Principles of Study Leave
Entitlement
Management of Study Leave Budget
Application for and Approval of Study Leave
Appeals


 

Introduction

The purpose of this policy is to ensure that The General Medical Council’s (GMC) Generic Standards for Specialty including GP Training (2009, revised 2010) are met. They require that:

  • Trainees must be made aware how to apply for study leave and be guided as to appropriate courses and funding.
  • Trainees must be able to take study leave up to the maximum permitted in their terms and conditions of service.
  • The process for applying for study leave must be fair and transparent, and information about a LETB-level appeals process must be readily available.

Monitoring Compliance

To ensure that this policy is fit for purpose it will be reviewed on a three year cycle or sooner if appropriate.

When the policy is reviewed, the monitoring compliance form will be used to assess the impact and appropriateness of this policy using Key Performance Indicators.

Scope of the Policy

The policy applies to all doctors in training posts in Peninsula Postgraduate Medical Education.

Eligibility and Exclusions

Trainees who are eligible for Study Leave are as follows:-

  • Foundation Year 2 (F2)*
  • Specialist including General Practice Trainees
  • Fixed Term Specialty Training Appointments (FTSTA)
  • Locum Appointment for Training (LAT)
  • Academic Clinical Fellow / Academic Clinical Lecturer posts

The following trainees are not entitled to Study Leave:

  • Foundation Year 1 (F1)*
  • Locum Appointment for Service (LAS)

*Some study leave may be transferred from F2 to F1 as described in the Time section

Study Leave for trainees on out of programme (OOP) or F2 Abroad will not be supported financially as the funding will be required for the trainee filling the post vacated.

Trainees appointed to programmes that rotate to Trusts outside of the Peninsula region (Devon and Cornwall) should refer to the Study Leave policy for the Trust / LETB they are physically located.

Principles of Study Leave

Study leave should:

  • enhance clinical, education and training
  • be planned as far in advance as possible, as an integral part of the education and training process
  • provide education and training not easily acquired in the clinical setting or locally, e.g. acquisition of a theoretical knowledge base such as basic sciences, statistics, etc.
  • support the delivery of curriculum outcomes
  • be equitable across the local education providers

Entitlement

Time

Doctors in training are entitled to a maximum of 30 study leave days in a year from the date of the start of their appointment. This entitlement will apply but be adjusted pro-rata for trainees in LAT, FTSTA and less than full-time (LFT) posts.

Foundation doctors on two-year programmes may use some of their F2 study leave entitlement for tasters and career planning in F1 as described in the Foundation School study leave guidelines.

Study leave is allowable for the purpose of sitting an examination for a higher qualification where it is necessary for advancement within a structured training programme. Usually only two such attempts are permitted and it may be necessary for annual leave to be taken for subsequent attempts.

Although not necessary for advancement, F2s are permitted to take study leave to sit an examination but not for revision, attendance at preparatory courses etc.

Leave for private study is allowed for all doctors in training beyond F2 but is limited to a maximum of 5 working days within a month of an examination and counts against the annual study leave entitlement.

Other paid employment must not be taken during any period of study leave: infringement of this rule is a disciplinary offence.

Part of the study leave allowance may be used by a training programme for the provision of generic teaching, tasters and career management training. The proportion of leave allocated for this purpose may vary by training programme and should be stated in the relevant trust or School’s study leave guidelines.

Financial support

With the exception of F1s, doctors in training attract a study leave budget determined by the LETB according to the annual budget it receives.

The study leave budget will apply but be adjusted pro-rata for trainees in LAT and FTSTA posts.

There is no study leave budget for LAS posts.

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

At the discretion of the officer responsible for the study leave budget, a trainee’s funding entitlements may be aggregated across their training period in order to support a course of study that costs more than the “annual” budget for a trainee.

Trainees on maternity leave continue to be entitled to take study leave and expenses, within their allowance, during their maternity leave. If a trainee wishes to be paid for study leave then they will need to use a ‘Keeping in Touch’ day, with agreement from their employer and within their allowance (please speak to your employer for further information). Study leave is a matter of personal preference for the trainee. Application and approval for study leave must be in accordance with the study leave guidelines.

Any particular limits on the financial allocation of the study leave budget e.g., the amount top-sliced to provide regional or generic teaching, must be specified in the study guidelines for individual trusts or Schools.

Fees to sit an examination for a higher qualification are not reimbursable through the study leave allowance; however trainees may claim expenses incurred in attending the examination.

Management of the Study Leave Budget

The study leave budget will be managed by the GP School for GP trainees and by the Directors of Medical Education (DME), or their nominated officer, for all other trainees. Any decisions to change the arrangements for the management of the study leave budget will be made by the Dean’s Education Group.

Those responsible for managing the study leave budget must ensure that individual study leave decisions are recorded on the Intrepid information management system and report on applications approved/not approved, reasons for non-approval, budget spent, whether approved study leave was actually taken and reasons for approved study leave not being taken.

Application for and Approval of Study Leave

All applications must be submitted on the appropriate form available from the postgraduate education centres and trust intranet and, for GP trainees only, the Peninsula Postgraduate Medical Education website.

Forms should be submitted at least 6 weeks before the leave is required. Retrospective applications will not be considered. The decision to approve, which includes the degree of financial support, rests with the DME who is advised as appropriate by College Tutors, Programme Directors and Specialty Training Committees or Schools.

The following will apply:

  • The proposed use of study leave must be relevant to the individual's educational needs, and appropriate to his or her experience, and the costs must be reasonable.
  • Refusal of study leave should be exceptional. The trainee should inform the DME of any study leave applied for that is refused, together with the reason for the refusal
  • Before any study leave is approved the trainee must have an agreed Personal Development Plan, usually developed at the first appraisal with their educational supervisor.
  • Study leave within the overall allowance may be granted for purposes which include both clinical and generic courses (e.g. management, teaching), other forms of study, research, "specific" teaching, visiting clinics of special interest (including attachment to GP Practices) and attending relevant professional conferences. The use of study leave must be to aid the trainee meeting the relevant curriculum outcomes.
  • Study leave outside the UK, Northern Ireland and Eire will be funded only for Specialist Registrars, and then only in exceptional circumstances, for example, when an SpR/StR is presenting personally a report on research in which they have been principal investigator.

When an appropriate course is available in the Peninsula, approval for attendance at similar courses elsewhere will not be supported by travel or accommodation funding. This is because the local health community is already underwriting the costs of a number of such courses and the study leave budget would be eroded unnecessarily.

Appeals

Grounds for appeal

Any applicant who considers that his or her request for study leave or expenses is refused unreasonably has the right of appeal.

Trainees who wish to appeal against a decision relating to study leave should do so initially through the local Trust appeals procedure to which the local application was made (usually via the DME and/or Medical Education Manager in the first instance).

Trainees should bear in mind that study leave is discretionary and authorising bodies are allowed to turn down applications if it is felt that it is not in the interests of the trainee concerned, or the NHS, or that maintenance of the service is compromised.

In cases where there has been a prima facie breach of the Terms and Conditions of Service or the matter has not been settled to the applicant’s satisfaction by the local Trust appeals procedure, the applicant has the right to make an appeal to Peninsula Postgraduate Medical Education.

Before beginning the full appeals process, the trainees and DME (or nominated officer) must first jointly attempt to resolve the issues of concern informally in discussion with Peninsula Postgraduate Medical Education and, if desired, the trainee’s union representative. If, after due consideration, the matter can be resolved without recourse to the appeals procedure, then this agreement should be confirmed in writing. If agreement cannot be reached, the trainee will then have recourse to the formal appeals process.

Registering an Appeal

The trainee should submit their appeal, in writing, using a copy of the Notification of Appeal Form F. It is the trainees’ responsibility to ensure the completed form is submitted to South West Peninsula Postgraduate Medical Education; therefore it is advisable that proof of postage is obtained at the time of sending.

In addition, the trainee should attach a Statement of Case to the Notification of Appeal. This should include:

  • The grounds/reason for the appeal
  • A simple list of events, in date order.
  • Copies of all relevant correspondence and written evidence
  • Evidence that the trainee has been through the local Trust’s appeals procedure

The Notification should be sent to the appropriate person below, within 10 working days of the local Trust appeal decision being confirmed to the trainee. The relevant appropriate person will be responsible for establishing a panel and gathering relevant paperwork.

Foundation Georgia Jones
Head of Foundation School - Georgia Jones
General Practice - Dr Julia Oxenbury
Dean of Postgraduate GP Education Dr Julia Oxenbury
Specialty Training Dr Jeremy Langton
Associate Dean Dr Jeremy Langton

The Trust representative(s), who made the initial decision regarding the study leave application will also be required to provide a Statement of Case.

Appeal Panel

An independent appeals panel will review all documentation submitted within 15 working days of notification of appeal.

The appeals panel will comprise the following members:

  • One representative from Peninsula Postgraduate Medical Education (normally the Dean or nominated deputy).
  • One DME from a Trust different to the one from where the appeal originated.
  • One doctor in training nominated by the BMA.

Decision of the Appeal

The decision of the panel, and the reasons for making that decision, will be confirmed in writing within five working days of the appeal panel decision.

The decision of the panel is final.