Study Leave During GP Specialty Training.


Study leave is intended to support trainees with release from timetabled work and financial support for courses to meet career aims and objectives. It should integrate with the individual education plan for each module of training and with the total training package. 

Study leave must be used to meet curriculum requirements. Leave to meet core curriculum requirements will take priority over discretionary non-curriculum requirements. 

Trainees should be free to attend educational events appropriate for their career destination of General Practice regardless of which specialty post they are pursuing at the time, provided essential service commitments are covered. 

Travel and subsistence can be reimbursed in accordance with the current regulations. Please click here for Health Education England's Travel and Subsistence policy.  

Study leave payments are not intended for costs incurred in taking examinations, ePortfolio costs, affiliation to or membership of the RCGP or registration for certification.  However, travel costs incurred to attend examinations may be applied for. Approval for attending courses outside of the region will not normally be granted if there is a similar course in the region.  

Trainees get 30 days study leave per annum and days of attendance at half day release are deducted from this. This is generally in the order of 15 days per year but the exact number and type of teaching sessions offered by each programme may vary. LTFT trainees are entitled to pro rata study leave time. 

Extension trainees should seek the opinion of their support Associate Postgraduate Dean (APD) regarding study leave approval.  

The programme TPD or APD can decline funding requests if they feel that a better alternative exists. 


Face to Face Events

We are supporting individual face to face study leave claims. The default is still to attend virtually where possible, but if a trainee wishes to attend a face to face event, they should gain approval in the usual way as per their study leave policy and consider the following 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?


Study leave for GP trainees – general principles 

  • GP Trainees are referred to the national principles for study leave and local processes 

  • All courses (excluding mandatory training and half day release course) for which funding is being sought should be on PDP and have ES approval. Funding approval can then be sought through the application process (see link below); it is expected that those applying for these courses will have met their core curriculum competencies for their stage of training. Postgraduate Certificate/Diploma/Masters level courses will not normally be approved  

  • GP trainees may wish to develop an interest in a particular specialty and undertake a limited amount of training to that effect, but they should ensure that this does not hinder their progress or detract from their study of the core GP Curriculum. At all times (with the sole exception of taking an exam or when so advised by a TPD), the regional teaching course provided by the local school should take precedence 

  • Attendance at the school’s regional teaching courses and educational supervision with their GP trainer are mandatory (ref GMC Promoting Excellence standard R3.12: Doctors in training must be able to take study leave appropriate to their curriculum or training programme, to the maximum time permitted in their terms and conditions of service) 

  • When in a GP placement trainees are expected to do 12 hours of education and 28 clinical hours per working week throughout their attachment. It is acceptable for this to be varied by mutual agreement between the trainer and trainee on condition that 

  • Study leave processes are followed and the above principles applied 

  • The overall balance of educational and clinical time remains 12 hours: 28 hours 

  • Maximum of 5 days/year private study permitted for exam preparation. 

  • Professional leave is leave in relation to professional work and can include activity such as job interviews for NHS, attendance at committee meetings, the Modular Supervisor Course (MoSC)  or EESC to help trainers, Educational Supervisor approvals, Quality Panels and other similar activities.  Time off for these purposes should be accommodated and a doctor should not be required to take annual or study leave.  Doctors should provide rota coordinators with as much notice as possible to effectively plan the roster.  It is recommended that no more than 5 days professional leave should be taken in the academic year given the impact it may have on progression.

  • Approval for time off for study leave must be sought and agreed by rota manager (for trainees in hospital placements) or Practice Manager within GP training practices.


ACF Trainees:   

In addition to academic GP trainees taking professional leave in their GP training placement to attend an academic conference or course,  they can apply to take study leave for one academic conference or course during their secondary care based hospital posts during the total time spent in ST1 and 2, if satisfactory progress in training is being made.


  • For ACFs in ST3/4, study leave is 50% across each of the 2 years - but not rigidly so. 

Their academic study leave in ST3/4 is signed off by their university supervisor, comes out of their 50% academic time and is funded separately. 

  • ST1/2 ACF trainees in a GP practice post may use professional leave (up to a maximum of 5 days per annum), subject to good clinical progression and approval of APD, as follows:  

  • For conferences such as the RCGP, SAPC, and the ACF conference 

  • For research methodology training  


There are three categories of courses: 

  • 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. These will be 100% funded
  • 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. These will be 100% funded
  • 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.  These will be 50% funded

All courses for which funding is being sought (excluding mandatory training and half day release course) should be on PDP and have ES approval and Category III also needs APD approval; it is expected that those applying for these courses will have met their core curriculum competencies for their stage of training.

Postgraduate Certificate/Diploma/Masters level courses will not normally be approved 

Category I Required with the Curriculum   
Examples of Category I Courses 

Attendance at Half Day Release 

No funding request necessary 

BLS/AED courses required for MRCGP


Safeguarding courses required for MRCGP-adult and child level 3  


Severn or Tamar faculty RCGP AKT and SCA preparation courses. 

1 of each course per trainee, funding already agreed  

IMG and /or SPEX support Programme 

study leave should always be approved if sufficient notice given and can be accommodated in dept./practice

General update courses

1 per trainee during training, usually in ST2/3

One day, single curriculum area, knowledge-based update courses

 2 per trainee per ST year 

Red Whale Unlimited GP update

1 per trainee during training 

Additional Exam Preparation Courses

For trainees who have had an unsuccessful attempt at AKT or RCA/CSA a one day course may be considered if recommended following discussions with ES/TPD & APD. These would be considered in a case-by-case basis by the Head of School

GP/Primary Care Conferences such as RCGP conference

Attendance for trainee presenting will be usually supported under Category 1

Other trainees may be considered at APD discretion, subject to demonstrating how this will meet their learning needs and how they will cascade their learning to their peers (eg presenting at HDR) They will be funded to attend once during their training under Category 3 (50% funding)

Category II Enhanced Knowledge
Examples of Category II Courses 


Basic level GP relevant course, without cost of equipment.

Severn/Peninsula RCGP or HEE Careers Fair

Category III Career Progression
 Skills based courses, for example: 

Minor surgery

Basic level GP appropriate course (excluding cryotherapy as not routinely provided in UK NHS General Practice)


£250 enrolment fee (online registration and exam) NO

c£350 clinical training (costs set locally) YES                              

£300-400 coil training YES

£250-350 implant training YES

£111 membership NO


Other examples of courses previously requested (not exhaustive, but as examples): 

Leadership development 


Next generation GP conference 


GP/ Primary Care Conferences such as RCGP 

Attendance for trainee presenting will be usually supported. 

Other trainees may be considered at APD discretion, subject to demonstrating how this will meet their learning needs and how they will cascade their learning to their peers (eg presenting at HDR) 

Non-GP Conferences, which are of relevance to Primary Care for example: 

  • SW diabetes conference 

  • Palliative care conference 

  • BMA medico-legal conference 

  • Public health conference 

  • Medical women’s federation conference 

1 in during the GP training programme subject to good clinical progression and approval of APD 


Examples of Courses not funded  
  • ALS & PLS (if required for trust posts, should be trust funded and in trust time) 

  • Integrative medicine 

  • smear takers code (elearning for health free course available) 

  • DRCOG/DCH revision course 

  • British Maternal and Foetal Medicine Annual Conference 

  • British Assoc of Psychopharmacology summer meeting

  • Train the Trainer