Impact of Coronavirus On Study Leave for Doctors in Training

Dear Colleague

As we prepare for the impact of COVID 19 a number of queries have come to us with regards to HEE’s approach to study leave. Please be advised that the position is as follows:

Impact of Coronavirus On Study Leave for Doctors in Training

Trainees should endeavour to obtain a refund for any pre-booked expenses. If they unable to do so we will honour the claim, but they should provide evidence when they submit their claim that the expense was non-refundable.

All requests for study leave time not taken during the outbreak will be properly considered by the employers and Postgraduate deans and will be subject to the need to maintain NHS services, and training requirements for completion of programmes.

We are asking all parties to be flexible both during and after this difficult time.

HEE will be developing a set of FAQs to help manage the queries that are arising.

If there are unresolved queries please contact us via SW Study Leave address for our Postgraduate Dean to review. 

 


 

Study Leave Guidance (updated February 2020)

1) Introduction

2) National Guidance and Policies

3) Principles of Study Leave

4) Public Sector Equality Duty

5) Funding Arrangements from 1st May 2020

6) Excluded Expenses

7) Individual Study Leave Requests

8) Funding for Courses

9) In line with National Principles

10) Funding Approval

11) Postgraduate and Higher Courses

12) Roles and Responsibilities 

13) Principles for Overseas Study Leave 

14) Overseas Study Leave Application and Approval Process

15) Appeals Process for Overseas Applications

16) Time for Study Leave

17) Overnight Accommodation

18) Other Expenses

19) Out of Programme

20) ACF and ACL

21) GP Trainees - General Principles and Process

22) Foundation 

23) MRCPsych and Psychiatry Higher Trainees

24) Appendices

Introduction

This Guidance sets out the 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 May 2020.

The principles for Study Leave apply across all specialties however the processes for Foundation and GP Trainees are managed differently.  Please refer to the Deanery 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.

Any claims which have been approved through the Trust Study Leave process prior to the 1 May 2020 will be supported for payment.  Trainees must, however, submit their claims no later than 3 months after the event, in line with NHS terms and conditions for staff expenses.

National Guidance and Policies

There are several national documents relating to study leave arrangements for trainees, which have been taken into consideration during the writing of this Guidance. These include: 

  • The Junior Doctors’ Terms and Conditions of Service, March 2017  

  • The Gold Guide

  • The Foundation Programme Reference Guide   

  • Enhancing Junior Doctors’ Working Lives

  • The Deanery’s document, “Enhancing Junior Doctors’ Working Lives, includes a commitment from the Deanery to ensure that every trainee has the opportunity to gain the competences relevant to their level of training as defined in each curriculum. This means that the Deanery Southwest will direct funding towards curriculum delivery as a priority.

Principles of Study Leave

In order to improve quality and access to study leave and curriculum support, the Deanery Southwest is committed to working in collaboration with our Trusts, educators and trainees to comply with the following principles: To -

  • provide clarity about the process to support study leave, recognising there is a finite amount of funding available;
  • 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 a trainees’ personal development plan (PDP);
  • ensure attendance at all locally delivered training events is monitored;
  • evaluate the quality of the training courses delivered to ensure it is of an appropriate standard and meets trainees’ needs;
  • ensure training should be commissioned from NHS providers based in the Southwest wherever possible;
  • In order to balance our aim to support and offer fair and equitable assistance to our junior doctors, HEE Southwest has asked the Heads of Schools to review any requests for any course or event which cost in excess of £300 (not including expenses) which are not Category 1 and not directly required for the curriculum.  Trainees should also discuss this in advance with their Training Programme Director.   (This doesn’t include overseas courses, postgraduate courses or higher qualifications);
  • This is not intended to restrict access to study leave and financial support. The aim is to ensure that funding is being used appropriately and proportionately. It is recognised that some specialties will require a greater proportion of the budget than others, and some curriculum stages will require a greater proportion of funding than others; your Head of School will take these into account when reviewing your request

Please Note: The Training Programme Director or Head of School has final sign off for such a commitment and they must be assured it is pertinent to the needs of the trainee at that point in training.  It is therefore important to have as much detail available when seeking approval.

  • It is important that Trainees:
  • together with their educational supervisors take responsibility to ensure that additional training opportunities are accessed at a time in their training when it is most appropriate to the needs of the training programme;
  • should attend courses based in the Southwest wherever possible;
  • should discuss their curricular and personal study leave requirements with their Educational Supervisor and/or Training Programme Director at the beginning of each placement and at each educational review in order to ensure requirements are relevant;
  • have a responsibility to attend all relevant local teaching sessions and to prepare carefully for examinations. Failure to do so may call into question their commitment to training and jeopardise any future study leave application for paid courses;
  • are expected to share their learning and provide feedback if requested from any courses, conferences or other events that they have attended.

Public Sector Equality Duty

  • On 5 April 2011, the Public Sector Equality Duty came into force. The equality duty was created under the Equality Act 2010. The equality duty was developed in order to harmonise a number of pre-existing pieces of equality legislation and to extend protection across what the Act described as “protected characteristics”. Protected characteristics is the term used to describe groups that may be discriminated against because they possess one or more of these characteristics.  The Act identified nine protected characteristics and these are age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation;
  • 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, especially those with protected characteristics.

Funding Arrangements from 1st May 2020

  • Since April 2018, the study leave budget has been held centrally with the Deanery Southwest.
  • The main uses 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;
  • External courses which are explicitly required by the relevant curriculum;
  • External 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. (Appendix 1);
  • Other reasonable training needs required to meet the curriculum and has been agreed in trainee’s individual PDPs;
  • Other training which is not required by the curriculum but have been agreed in the trainee’s PDP and significantly enhance the trainee’s progression to the next stage of their training;
  • Other individual training needs which support career progression and have been agreed in the trainee’s PDP;
  • Please refer to the application flowchart to ensure timeframes for applications are adhered to. (Appendix 2)
  • Please Note: Any mandatory/statutory training courses, including life support courses that are employment requirements and not curriculum requirements should be funded locally by the employing Trust.

Excluded Expenses

  • Enrolment on to training programme and payment for portfolio access;
  • ALS and other life support courses which are not curriculum requirements;
  • Statutory and mandatory training required by employers;
  • Other employer-related leave;
  • Professional examination fees at any point of training;
  • Courses for specialty examinations during Foundation Programme;
  • Interview Leave of any type;
  • Travel, accommodation and subsistence relating to the above exclusions;
  • Retrospective applications;
  • 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 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;

Please note: Expenses for overseas travel include travel to the point of exit from the UK.

This does not include car parking costs. Trainees will be reimbursed at the most economical rate of travel. Travel arrangements whilst overseas and subsistence are not reimbursed.

We would expect travel to be the most economical route possible and 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 the event.

Individual Study Leave Requests

  • 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;
  • The Deanery will monitor and evaluate the range of funded educational activity undertaken to ensure that it is fit for purpose and is providing quality and value for money;
  • Requests for study leave should be made to the trainee’s employing Trust following the Trust local application process (excluding Overseas Study Leave);
  • The Deanery will not accept any general inquiries from trainees which come directly to them; these will be re-directed to the employing Trust office.   (This does not include Overseas Requests);
  • Study leave funding will be distributed as fairly and as effectively as possible;
  • 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 the trainee does not allocate study leave time to the activity the Deanery will not reimburse the claim. 
  • Trainees are unable to be reimbursed for any courses attended if they are taking or have taken annual leave days;
  • Allocation of funding will be managed fairly and flexibly by HEE;
  • It is expected that trainees will use their discretion, in accordance with their obligation to demonstrate professional integrity, when applying for a course or conference and also ensure that they apply at a time in their training when it is most appropriate to the needs of the training programme;
  • Where a course or equivalent course is available locally or regionally, funding will only be approved in truly exceptional circumstances to undertake the course elsewhere;
  • Payments for individual study leave requests will be made to trainees by the employing Trust following attendance at the course. Trainees may be asked to justify any excessive claims by their employing organisation or the Deanery;
  • Reimbursement cannot be made for courses that are booked but not attended;
  • 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 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;
  • 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 Deanery will not reimburse the costs. If study leave time was granted by their employer, the trainee should ask their employer to reimburse the costs;
  • Trainees should provide proof of attendance and other receipts for external courses to the Trust when applying for reimbursement;

Please note: Trainees will be able to self-certify their attendance for regional teaching days. However, they will need to have a reference number of the course and submit this on their claim in order to be reimbursed.  The reference number will be issued to the Head of School as part of the funding for regional teaching allocation; it will be available on the Deanery website;

  • Receipts will be required for all claims;

Please Note: It will be viewed a probity issue should a trainee claim any costs for events they have not attended. This will be dealt with in accordance with the GMC and Trust policies;

  • 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 within 3 months of having attended a course and paid for it. This is in line with NHS Financial Regulations;
  • The timeframe should provide the Trainees with adequate time to submit their claim;
  • Any claims after the deadline will not be reimbursed.

Funding for Courses

Courses will be classified in 3 categories:

  • (1) Specific to the requirements of the Curriculum - (this does not include Postgraduate Certificate, Diploma, other Postgraduate courses or any other higher level course – (See Postgraduate and Higher Courses below); 

Funding should only be requested if the course is relevant to attend at their particular stage of training. (Full funding);

  • (2) Enhanced knowledge – Whilst not explicitly recognised as requirements for the trainee’s curriculum, such activities may 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.  (HEE will monitor approvals for this category

Please Note: These courses should only be approved for funding if the trainee has achieved their core curriculum competencies for their stage of training. (Trainees may be asked to contribute to pay towards the event e.g. applications for any postgraduate academic qualifications which are listed as an option to complete as part of the specialty/subspecialty curriculum);

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

Please Note: Those applying for career progression courses will require the Training Programme Director or Head of School sign off.   (Trainees may be asked to contribute to pay towards the event e.g. applications for any qualifications or course which are listed as an option to complete as part of the specialty/subspecialty curriculum).

  • Retrospective applications in all 3 Categories will not be reimbursed under any circumstances;
  • Applications will be monitored and Trainees may be asked to justify any claims considered excessive to the needs of the curriculum requirements;

Please Note: Category 2 and 3 courses should only be approved if the trainee has achieved their core curriculum competencies for their stage of training. 

In line with National Principles

Trainees:

  • should submit claims that have been identified as requirements of the trainee’s specialty curriculum and/or an ARCP decision to support the trainee to achieve CCT.  These courses should be provided locally wherever possible.  (This does not include any post graduate courses nor higher level courses);
  • should only apply for funding to attend courses if the relevant curriculum requirements cannot be achieved through experiential learning and/or their local and regional training programmes;
  • may be expected to provide a supporting statement for courses which are NOT a requirement for the curriculum, however, help the trainee to complete parts of the curriculum.  This statement should explain why competencies gained from such an activity cannot be achieved from local and/or regional programmes and what are the benefits to them.
  • Courses/events not identified as requirements of the trainee’s specialty curriculum will be classified as Category 2 (see above) and can be signed off by the Educational Supervisor provided the cost of the event (not including expenses) is less than £300;

Funding Approval

  • For activities that cost more than £300, which are not directly attributed to curriculum needs (excluding overseas requests), additional sign off will be required from the Training Programme Director or Head of School.  It is the responsibility of the Training Programme Director or Head of School to ensure that a trainee is attending an appropriate course, that it is value for money in attending and meets the needs of the trainee at that point in their training programme;
  • All courses requested must be in the trainee PDP, however, they should be aligned to the needs of the trainee in accordance with their training progamme;
  • 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 at the Deanery, (PSW SW), or the ARCP Panel/Head of School has recommended a trainee to attend an external examination preparation course;
  • Courses set up or attended in preparation of a consultant post will not be funded;
  • Trainees will not be funded to attend interviews for consultant posts;
  • Study leave should not be used to prepare for specialty examinations during foundation training;

Postgraduate and Higher Courses

  • Applications for any postgraduate academic qualifications which are listed as an option to complete as part of the specialty/subspecialty curriculum (e.g. Postgraduate Certificates, Diplomas and Masters) will not be accepted through the study leave application process;

  • The Deanery 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 each year and information will be posted on the website;

  • Masters and PhD courses will not be funded under any circumstances.

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 relevant and appropriate courses/educational activities are supported to attain curriculum requirements;
  • Verify the trainee has met the core curriculum requirements before approving study leave;
  • Ensure the trainee has approval from the Training Programme Director or Head of School if the request is over £300 (which are not Category 1 and not directly required for the curriculum);
  • Authorise study leave in timely manner as applicable;
  • Not to approve retrospective requests for payments under any circumstances. 

Trainee

Trainees are reminded:

  • of their responsibility to attend all relevant local teaching sessions and to prepare carefully for examinations. Failure to do so may call into question their commitment to training and jeopardise any future study leave applications;
  • they should apply for study leave to support them at their particular point in training;
  • they 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;
  • they should only apply for study leave when they have completed their mandatory training;
  • where a course or equivalent course is available locally or regionally, funding will only be approved in truly exceptional circumstances to undertake the course elsewhere.
  • Trainees will meet the standards expected of them, in accordance with their obligation to demonstrate professional integrity when applying for a course, event or conference;
  • Trainees will be expected to adhere to the NHS Financial Regulatory Terms and Conditions when submitting a claim;
  • Trainees 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);
  • Trainees 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);
  • Trainees are expected to share their learning and provide feedback if requested from any courses, conferences or other events that they have attended.
  • Trainees should only apply for funding to attend courses if the relevant curriculum requirements cannot be achieved through experiential learning and/or their local and regional training programmes;
  • Trainees will be expected to provide a supporting statement for Training Programme Directors and/or Head of Schools for courses over £300 (which are not Category 1 and not directly required for the curriculum).  They will need to explain why competencies gained from an activity cannot be achieved from local and/or regional programmes and what will be their personal gain;
  • 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);
  • Trainees must seek approval for time off in advance and approval for the time must be given by the Trainee’s Rota Coordinator (or equivalent);
  • Trainees must apply for study leave using the local provider system;
  • Where a Trainee rotates to a different region the trainee will follow the study leave policy/guidance of that region;
  • For certain specialties it has been agreed that Trainees are able to self-certify attendance at Regional Teaching days only. If this is the case they will need to reference the Unique Course Reference number when applying for study leave time and if they wish to claim any reimbursements.  This information will be available on the Deanery website in due course;
  • 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;
  • Trainees should not submit any claims to the Deanery to deliver any local/regional teaching; this should be discussed with the Head of School and the process for approval will be managed as a funding request between the Head of School and the Deanery as part of the Annual Development/Training Plan.

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 Deanery with their Annual Development.  Each course will have a unique reference number . (Trainees should be able to gain access to the unique reference number on the Deanery 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 Category 2 and 3 activity to the Trainee that have been raised with the Educational Supervisor;
  • To scrutinise and approve study leave as appropriate to the needs of curriculum and the trainee’s need at that point in training;
  • Ensure 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 Deanery 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.

The Deanery Responsibilities

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 the delivery of quality educational activity that meets trainee and local needs;

  • working collaboratively with the 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.

Local Education Provider Education Centre Responsibilities

  • All staff involved in the approval of study leave must ensure that they are familiar with and follow the Deanery 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 an internal process that Study Leave funding is provided specifically to meet the requirements of the trainee’s curriculum not provided for courses that are required to fulfil the service commitment of the post (e.g. to meet the Trust’s clinical governance and CNST responsibilities); 
  • To collaborate with the Head of School and/or Training Programme Director (and in some cases with the Education Supervisor) to ensure the legitimacy of claims where there are possible discrepancies in the approval process;
  • Ensure through discussion with clinical leads and/or process that payment is made appropriately and in a timely manner;
  • Where a doctor working less than full time is required to undertake a specific training course required by the curriculum, which exceeds the pro rata entitlement to study leave, the employer will make arrangements for additional study leave to be taken, provided that this can be done while ensuring safe delivery of services;
  • 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 Deanery Study Leave Office .

Principles for Overseas Study Leave

  • Overseas courses or conferences will only be approved in very exceptional circumstances.  As a general rule attendance at any courses or conference should be taken as close to the base of the trainee as possible;

  • Where it may be a requirement of the curriculum the educational supervisor should ensure that course attendance is applicable to the trainee’s needs at the time of applying and that the core competencies have been achieved.  It is not usual for a trainee in their early stages of the curriculum to require attendance at an overseas conference.  Where there is doubt please refer to the Training Programme Director or Head of School for support and sign off;

  • Notwithstanding the aforementioned approval would be required by the Postgraduate Dean or delegated person at the Deanery; 

  • 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;

  • 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 and 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 claimed to attend an overseas activity 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.

Overseas Study Leave Application and Approval Process

  • Trainees should ensure any study leave is compatible with their agreed personalised development plan and they have had a documented discussion with the Educational Supervisor about the clear need of the course/conference to meet curriculum requirements.  The course/conference should also provide a clear stated curriculum outcome;
  • 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 Deanery 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; (Appendix 5)
  • 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 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 2 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- studyleave.sw@hee.nhs.uk;
  • A decision will be returned between 7-10 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 employing Trust in order to facilitate a smooth process for reimbursements;
  • It is important to ensure that trainees provide all the information required in order for the Deanery 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, however, a typed signature will not be accepted;
  • 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;
  • Any returned applications requiring further details will have a subject heading “Overseas Study Leave Returned for further info”.  The same response times will apply upon receipt to the Deanery;  
  • Events where Trainee’s require longer than 4 days attendance will need to be discussed with the Head of School prior to submitting the claim;
  • 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 Deanery will consider funding either the cost of the course/conference fees or the cost of economy travel and 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 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. Trusts are unable to reimburse a trainee without the reference number;
  • Trainees should not send any claims for reimbursement to the Deanery 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 Deanery expects 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 Deanery will not consider retrospective claims under any circumstances.

Appeals Process for Overseas Applications

  • 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 generic email address StudyLeave.sw@hee.nhs.uk with the subject title “Appeal for Overseas Request”;
  • This should include the reason/s for the appeal and any evidence to support it;
  • 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 2 working days;
  • Members of the Senior Education Team at the Deanery Southwest will review the evidence submitted and whether the process was followed fairly - as stated in the Deanery 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.

Time for Study Leave

  • Study leave is not an automatic entitlement for any trainee. Providers of medical education are, however, reminded of the basic principle that every trainee’s educational needs should, where possible, take precedence over purely service needs, as long as patient safety is not compromised. Study leave should, therefore, be well planned and spread throughout the trainee’s training programme. There is an expectation that training placements approved by the Deanery Southwest will have capacity to facilitate 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 Deanery 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 who are able to self-certify on regional teaching courses run by their specialty will need to include a course reference number on their expense claims - if they have any. Please see the website for the information;
  • 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; however, if the number of days taken in any one year exceeds their entitlement, some discretion should be used during the approval process;
  • 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. 

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 (ie, the distance to the event is greater than 100 miles ‘door to door’);

  • Accommodation costs to be covered by the Deanery 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).

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. Any claims received without proof and after the deadline will not be paid (unless self-certifying for attendance– see page 8 note);
  • Travel must be taken using the most cost-effective means possible and the Deanery 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 Deanery;
  • Reimbursement for alcoholic beverages will not be reimbursed under any circumstances;
  • Expenses for exams will not be reimbursed;
  • Expenses for travel to/from exams will not be reimbursed;
  • 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 value of £20 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 value of £5 to the Trust office.

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 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.  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”.

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;
  • As Academic Clinical Lecturers are usually employed by a University they will need to contact the Deanery generic email address studyleave.sw@hee.nhs.uk  BEFORE any study leave is supported or reimbursed. Please use the subject heading “ACL Study Leave”.

GP Trainees - General Principles and Process

GP Trainees should refer to the following links:

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

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:
  • Peninsula Foundation School

  • Severn PGME Foundation School

MRCPsych and Psychiatry Higher Trainees

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

General

  • South West Postgraduate Medical and Dental Education (PGMDE) is committed to providing high quality medical training across the Avon, Devon Partnership Trust, Cornwall Partnership Trust, Gloucester, Livewell South West, Somerset and Wiltshire;
  • All core trainees will undertake the MRCPsych course, which runs over 3 years taking a modular format to cover the Royal College Syllabus;
  • The course covers the curriculum requirements required to achieve CCT, therefore there should be no additional need to apply for study leave to help trainees achieve CCT.  However, other courses may be considered on a case by case basis and in line with the requirements set out in this Study Leave Guidance February 2020;
  • MRCPsych courses are paid for at source and trainees are not required to contribute any costs;
  • All Core Trainees are expected to attend the Core Psychiatry Training Course (MRCPsych);
  • CT1—3 trainees will be expected to attend at least 70 – 75% of the course teaching, with a minimum attendance of 50% of each module;
  • Non-attendance must be recorded with the course administrator in advance, and a certificate of attendance of each teaching session will need to be provided at your ARCP to evidence attendance;
  • All Core Trainees have access to psychotherapy training (no more than 2 sessions per week and at a cost of no more than £70.00 per session), including attendance at a Balint Group;
  • All Trainees’ timetables are designed to allow them guaranteed access to the Core Psychiatry Training Course (MRCPsych);
  • There is training available in the CASC (Clinical Assessment of Skills and Competencies) component of the MRCPsych membership exam. In each post Trainees are encouraged to take part in multi-disciplinary clinical audit and will receive support from their Educational Supervisor to do so;
  • The Core Trainees are expected to develop their own skills as medical teachers and the local academic programmes will allow them opportunities to develop these skills with support. The curriculum requirements are achieved from attending this course, and therefore there should be no additional (required) courses that should be applied for to help achieve CCT.

MRCPsych and Psychiatry Higher Trainees – Severn Deanery

Applying, approval and payments

  • The principles for study leave apply to all trainees, however in the case of trainees in the Severn Deanery the process to apply is different;
  • Currently the process for administering study leave approval and payments for Severn Deanery Trainees is through the Deanery Local Office.  From 1 April 2020 Trainees will be required to complete an application form (Appendix 6) for study leave;
  • Requests for study leave via Intrepid will no longer be processed without an application form (Appendix 6) and any relevant accompanying documents;
  • The Deanery will monitor and evaluate the range of funded educational activity undertaken to ensure that it is fit for purpose and is providing quality and value for money;
  • The Deanery reserves the right to reimburse travel at the most cost-effective rate if submissions are excessive;  
  • Requests for study leave which cost in excess of £300 (which are not Category 1 and not directly required for the curriculum) should also be discussed in advance with the trainee’s Training Programme Director.   (Please refer to the information in this Guidance re overseas courses, postgraduate courses or higher qualifications);
  • The use of Intrepid for study leave approval remains the same – please refer to guidance given in respect of this;

Please Note: The Training Programme Director or Head of School 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 that point in training.

MRCPsych and Psychiatry Higher Trainees – Peninsula Deanery

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;

 

Appendices

Appendix 1                              Life Support courses funded

Appendix 2                              Flowchart

Appendix 5                              Overseas Study Leave Application

Appendix 6                              MRCphysc and Psychiatry Application Form – Severn Deanery