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 level II and III courses (see below) 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 PESC or EESC to help trainers, Educational Supervisor approvals and other similar activities.  Time off 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.


ACF Trainees:   

  • 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 levels of courses: 

Level I :to meet specific requirements of the curriculum.  

Automatically approved and always funded. 


Level II :to complete parts of the curriculum which may be difficult to access.  

If approved will be fully funded 


Level III : Aspirational courses related to career progression. 

Approval by APD may be for time only, full or partial funding 



Level I to meet specific requirements of the curriculum: automatically approved and always funded   


Examples of Level 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 RCA/CSA preparation courses.  

1 of each course per trainee, funding already agreed   


In ST3 - in addition to the free minutes that are offered for familiarisation and the minutes that are included as part of exam booking at trainees expense, we will refund up to an additional 800 minutes from study leave budgets. 


IMG and /or SPEX support Programme  

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

Severn/Peninsula RCGP or HEE Careers fairs 



In Severn courses provided by local Educational Provider Organisations (such as GGPET) through block-booking 

Subject to local education provider organisation funding arrangements. 



Level II Enhanced Knowledge: to complete parts of the curriculum which may be difficult to access. If approved will be fully funded. 

Whilst generally addressed during training opportunities within the GP training scheme, these activities may help the trainee complete parts of the curriculum which may be difficult to access. 

It is expected that those applying for these courses will have met their core curriculum competencies for their stage of training. 


Examples of Level II Courses 

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  

RCGP conference 

AiT reps or if presenting a session or poster 

Additional Exam preparation courses 


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


Level III Career Progression: aspirational courses may be approved for funding, for example to aid the development of special interests. APD approval is required in addition to level II conditions of ES approval and in PDP. 

 Skills based courses, for example: 

Minor surgery 

Basic level GP appropriate course 


Basic level GP relevant course, without cost of equipment. 


£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