Overseas Study Leave

Overseas 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). The DHSC has made requirements clear in the tariff publication for 19/20.

One international/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.


The following principles have been agreed :

Attendance at courses/conferences should be taken as close to the base of the trainee as possible.

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)

For approved international study leave applications, HEE will consider funding either the full cost of the course/conference fees or the full cost of economy travel and accommodation whichever is the lower amount. For accommodation, in alignment with the agreed maximum rate for study budget claims within the UK, the overnight rate should not exceed £120 per night (with London being the exception of £150 per night) Subsistence expenses will not usually be reimbursed by HEE.

As part of the approvals process, requests to attend overseas study courses/conferences will only be considered in very exceptional circumstances. Such circumstances include:

  • for the presentation of significant research findings from within an NIHR recognised academic clinical fellowship or clinical lectureship
  • for the presentation of research undertaken as part of a clinical training programme
  • where the training course is not available in the UK
  • where the course or activity is part of the college curriculum or guidelines on required training
  • where the course is set out as a mandatory requirement of college training to reach the required qualification to practice

For overseas study leave requests where the individual will be presenting, such applications should take priority.

The course/conference must provide a clearly stated curriculum outcome and there must be a documented discussion with the Educational Supervisor about the clear need of the course/conference to meet curriculum requirements.

Applications for overseas courses or conferences must be sent to the Deanery in the first instance Study Leave Application Overseas Events (please see application guidance below)

A full programme should be provided. A report covering the entirety of the leave may be requested from the doctor in training after attendance. 

Any contribution to funding of such leave will need the prior written approval of the HEE local Postgraduate Dean.

If further periods of overseas study leave are required this will be considered on a case by case basis by the Postgraduate Dean, and budget allowing.

If a doctor in training wishes to fund a period of overseas study leave by other means, the Educational Supervisor should still ensure the activity aligns to the curriculum or personal development plan. This must be the case for any period of overseas Study Leave irrespective of how it is funded.

Study Leave for An Overseas Course / Conference Guidance


Overseas courses or conferences will only be considered in very exceptional circumstances and should be approved PRIOR to booking by the Postgraduate Dean or his  Deanery delegated person.  Any costs incurred by the trainee without having approval will be borne by the trainee if the request is declined.


Trainee Responsibility

  • Please note the application process includes application for funding, application for time; application for funding is through the Deanery; application for time is through the employing NHS trust in accordance with local trust policy. Trainees must gain approval for fudning BEFORE applying for time
  • Make sure any study leave is compatible with your agreed personalised development plan and approval sought PRIOR to attending the event
  • Claims should be sent at least 8 weeks in advance of the event AND a copy of the course and/or agenda of the event must be attached with the application form.  The form must be signed (a typed name is NOT adequate) by the applicant and also by the TPD/HoS or DME.  An email FROM the sponsor’s email will be accepted if a signature is difficult to obtain.  Failure to provide the course agenda or conference details may delay a decision or result in the requests not being approved
  • Forward the Form to the Deanery generic SEVStudyLeave.SW@hee.nhs.uk or  PENStudyLeave.SW@hee.nhs.uk with a subject heading Overseas REQUEST for Study Leave
  • The Deanery will acknowledge your application within 48 hours (2 working days) of your request. Approval will take longer and will be repsonded to within 7 working days from the date of acknowledgement
  • If your application is approved, you will be provided with a reference number and they should use this in any communication with the Deanery for overseas claims. 
  • Trainees should apply for study leave time through their Trust – they will need the reference number in order to claim for any reimbursements from the Deanery
  • Trainees should not send any claims for reimbursement to the Deanery as these will not be processed.
  • If applications are not completed correctly or they are not submitted within the required deadlines this may affect the ongoing process and delay an answer. 
  • Reimbursements will be given for accommodation, travel and/ or course/conference fees.  Subsistence must be met by the trainee.  Travel to the airport in the UK may be reimbursed and car parking will be considered.
  • Courses or payments made in advance of approval will not be reimbursed.  We are unable to approve applications retrospectively nor reimburse payments retrospectivel
  • Approval to attend the event will be based on:  
    • Whether the service can be met if a trainee is absent on study leave;
    • how the course is of significant benefit to the trainee and the service in which they work daily;
    • how the course is appropriately linked to support the Curriculum requirements;

and if:

    • it is within the trainee’s Personal Development Plan.
  • If approved book your course/activity and pay if required. Please claim via your employing NHS Trust, quoting the reference number that was provided on your approved application. You will be required to provide receipts.
  • After the event please ensure copies of receipts are submitted to the Deanery generic email address SEVStudyLeave.SW@hee.nhs.uk or  PENStudyLeave.SW@hee.nhs.uk  with a subject heading Overseas Claim. Please include the application reference number in all communications.
  • All receipts should have a registered VAT number. 
  • A copy of the booking form for flights including costs will be accepted; a receipt from the hotel will be accepted with an itemised account on expenditure; personal credit card receipts of payment will not be accepted.
  • All claims must be submitted within 3 months of having attended the educational event.  We will be unable to reimburse the Trust for any claims after this timeframe in accordance with our financial instructions.