Frequently asked questions

It is hoped that these will provide trainees with conclusive answers to recurring questions, improve transparency, and also act as a signpost to other relevant information available on the primary care Severn Deanery and RCGP websites.

1. What are the exact requirements for my e-portfolio as a LTFTT, I can’t work out my ARCP dates, who can I check these with?   

We understand that this often causes confusion, but it will really help if you make one of your training priorities organisation & planning ahead.  It often feels as though LTFT trainees have to do much more, but not really. ES reviews need to be held every 6 months from the start of training, with an ARCP every 12 months no matter how part-time. In addition, an ESR followed by a “gateway” ARCP is also required to authorise transition between ST ST1/2 and ST2/3 & ST3/qualification. If you’re LTFT, have taken time out of programme, or out of sync for any other reason eg. scholar post then your ARCP at the gateway from one training year to the next won’t usually coincide with your annual or calendar ARCP which always happens at the same time every year. Please contact the deanery to check your dates:

Be proactive and seek out the exact minimums for Work Place Based Assessments (WPBA) on the RCGP website so that you are always prepared & know well in advance what’s required of you: It’s dreadful to find that you haven’t completed everything & the deadline is looming. Don’t forget that you need to allow plenty of time for your ES to look at your evidence too- they won’t want to be logging onto your e-portfolio at 2am the night before screening!

2. It’s unclear how my week should be divided up so that it’s fair for me as a LTFT trainee, the practice doesn’t seem to know, and I’m getting lots of mixed messages.

The recent on-line publication of the working week guidelines has been really helpful, it explains that from August 2015 the deanery has adopted the standard BMA interpretation of the GPST working week, it gives sample timetables for a LTFTT working at 60% FTE; both for when attending HDRC and when not (ie. when you have completed a full ST Training year’s worth of HDRC, but still have working time in that ST year).  It is a useful start for you and your practice and provides clarity so that all trainees, working full time or less that full time, have a reference document to work from.

3. I am not happy with my placement allocation because my posts have changed since I came back from maternity leave. 

Posts are usually allocated by the patch/programme administrator and Training programme director (TPD) with input from the Associate Postgraduate Dean (APD). We look at the training needs of all STs who need placing to make sure that everyone is offered a training programme which complies with the RCGP guidance. If you change to LTFT training you leave your originally allocated rotations, and when you return we slot you back into whichever posts are available at the time. The RCGP stipulates what your training programme must include in order to qualify for CCT.  See this link for details: 

After reading this guidance, if you still feel your placement isn’t inappropriate, you can speak to your local admin manager or TPD lead, however please bear in mind that post availability is usually extremely limited.

4. I have previously worked in this speciality in my foundation training so I don’t want to do it again in my GPST training.

Posts are usually allocated with a ‘best fit’ arrangement, so that everyone’s training needs taken into account equally. Patches keep records of previous GP training posts and personal preferences they have been informed of, however we are unable to access or take into account every previous post for every trainee from foundation or other specialty training.

5. Why can’t I find out where my next post is going to be, like my run-through peers. It feels so unfair, as I need as much notice as possible about my next job/days to be worked in order to arrange childcare. 

In an ideal world we would like to let everyone know where they were going to be placed well in advance. Unfortunately if posts are allocated too early they then often have to be changed at a later date, (because of other trainees entering or leaving the current training programme) and this causes even greater unhappiness & uncertainty. We appreciate that late notification can be difficult, so we usually give trainees at least 12 week’s notice of allocation as per the joint code of contract between HEE/NHS employers & the BMA.  Please note however that trainees’ date of return from mat. leave requires a minimum of only 8 weeks notice.

6. I have found a friend who is happy to swap their rotation with mine, why can’t we do this? It would mean that both of us had better rotations, more suited to our needs- surely there can’t be any problem with this arrangement?

It may seem like a simple solution to swap a rotation with another trainee but we have to consider all trainees, and make the process fair. It would not be equitable to offer a post to one trainee without extending this offer to all those currently in training. 

7. Can you place LTFT trainees in rotations ahead of full time trainees applying for GPST training as surely there is more variety in the rotations available?

We are unable to place LTFT trainees in rotations ahead of full-time trainees.  Our policy, along with other LETBs, is to offer rotations to trainees according to how well they have performed at GP selection i.e. the highest performing candidates get first choice of rotations.  We would argue that it is unfair to offer the most popular rotations to those candidates who plan to work LTFT, which is overwhelmingly because these candidates have chosen to start their families during GP training.  However, we are sympathetic to the needs of LTFT trainees and we are actively looking at ways to try and create more flexibility in the rotations we have available.


8. Could you consider including a LTFT Trainee Representative in the post allocation process to make it more transparent, so it feels fairer to LTFTTs?

We have considered involving trainees in post allocation meetings, but as we have a duty of confidentiality to all trainees, it wouldn’t be possible without coming up against the data protection act.  Placement options are dependent on the training requirements of other trainees, and at times their personal/confidential information.

There is a dedicated LTFT Trainee Representative to the Severn GPST Committee and they can act as a line of communication between faculty staff and trainees. Please do feel free to contact them via your local team admin manager/TPD LTFT rep.

9. A colleague was told in a 4 month post that unless she had zero sick leave and completed her e-portfolio weekly the post “wouldn’t count”.  

GP training is competency based so it is crucial that LTFT trainees show evidence of learning across a range of competences relating to that specialty in order for the post to count towards training. Evidence of formal WPBAs (minimum numbers are pro rata) and a CSR, as well as log entries on learning and clinical encounters, are required. Don't forget that the GMC time out of training policy states that absences must not exceed 14 days over one ST year, (or 1 week in any post) pro-rata. Any absence taken in excess of this must be made up in full but not necessarily in the specialty or post where the absence occurred.

10. Are 4 month placements educationally suitable for LTFT trainees?

If we take away 4 month posts for all LTFT GPSTs this would leave a much more limited choice of posts, and don’t forget that full time GPSTs might feel that conversely they had fewer 6 month posts available to them. The advantage of 4 month posts is that they offer trainees a wider variety of specialities, which we see as very positive for a generalist training scheme. If you feel that you would like longer in a speciality following a 4 month placement, it may be possible to allocate you another placement within the same department at a later stage in you training- please let you local programme know if this is the case.

11. As I’m out of sync with full time trainees are there fewer opportunities to do scholar jobs? 

GP training follows a standard 3 year programme, and therefore application & selection dates for certain activities are also arranged accordingly. LTFT GPSTs are not barred from application to the scholar programme, in fact we have quite a few scholars are LTFT GPSTs.  Sorry to say the same thing again…….but it’s important to be really organised and do some forward planning. Make sure you’re aware of the application dates even if they do not fall exactly line with your training - you are able to apply!

 12.What is the “flexible working policy”?

As your employer, Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust  values its staff for their contribution and commitment to the NHS, irrespective of their working hours or work pattern. The Trust recognises that effective practices to promote work/life balance will benefit the organisation and its employees and supports managers and staff in taking joint responsibility for the challenging demands of providing a 24/7 service. Flexible working allows employees to balance their working commitments with home and family commitments and outside interests. This Flexible Working policy outlines the framework for managing flexible working issues in a fair and consistent way. It provides advice for managers and employees on the range of options available. Employees with flexible working arrangements will have access to standard terms and conditions of employment on an equal or pro-rata basis, unless different treatment can be justified for operational reasons.  Further information can be found here: if you can’t find the answers anywhere there, you can contact Richard Giles, Lead Employer, Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust:


13. What is the effect on annual leave and study leave if I change to LTFT training?

 Employees contracted to work on a Less Than Full Time (LTFT) basis are entitled to a pro-rata amount of study leave, annual leave & bank holiday entitlement based on their respective full time equivalent


14.Can I take study leave on a day that I do not work and then claim a day in lieu on a day I do work instead?

If course attendance is required by the School and no other dates are available then yes. In all other circumstances the course would have to be re-booked on an alternative date, or taken in the trainee's own time.

Useful contacts

Dr Geoffrey Wright
Associate Postgraduate Dean, Less Than Full Time (LTFT) Training