Study Leave

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Full details of the new Foundation study leave funding for London and Kent, Surrey & Sussex Foundation Doctors is now available here and for download at the top of the page. Revised April 2018.

The study leave review has been brought about by the “Improving Junior doctor lives” project as part of the new contract deal and the subsequent move by HEE to centralise the operational management of study leave.

The UKFPO does not have specific requirements and milestones unlike many of the speciality schools. However, the philosophy of study leave is based on the broad principles of achieving curriculum competencies at the end of the two-year programme and supporting further professional development in their long-term careers.

The guidance from the 2016 UKFPO reference guide is summarised below:

  1. Study leave will normally be granted flexibly and tailored to individual needs, in accordance with the requirements of the curriculum.
  2. Study leave for Foundation Year 1 doctors (maximum 15 days) will take the form of a regular scheduled teaching/training session as agreed locally; also, FY1 doctors can use up to 5 days of study leave for tasters to inform future career decision making.
  3. Study leave for Foundation Year 2 doctors (maximum 30 days) will include periods of regular scheduled teaching/training sessions delivered locally and for many no additional support will be needed. Study leave may also, with approval from the Foundation Programme Training Director and service manager.

The three Foundation Schools in London and the South East have agreed a common approach for implementation. Requests for such leave shall be viewed positively in most circumstances, but with a view to ensuring that the needs of service delivery can be safely met.

The guidance below is not meant be too prescriptive as it is recognised that these doctors are in an early stage of their medical careers and many are undecided about their medium-to-long-term professional development and career aspirations.

  1.  Study leave will be divided into three main categories: curriculum mandated, optional and aspirational.
  2.  Courses are listed on the PGMDE portal  https://lasepgmdesupport.hee.nhs.uk/support/home#8
  3. FDs must have completed, or provide evidence of plans to complete, mandated courses before other study leave can be approved Most of the topics in the optional category are currently, and will continue to be, delivered within local teaching programmes.  It may be appropriate for individual FDs to access specific courses within the local geography of LaSE that cover these topics if they are not delivered locally.
  4. Tasters, as a mechanism to inform professional development should be encouraged, ideally to be taken towards the end of F1 (the study leave can be borrowed from F2).
  5. It may be appropriate to undertake a single approved external course that aids decision making and contributes towards career development. Relevant courses should be those that are on the study leave lists relevant to the specialties aligned to career intentions.
  6. Study leave should be allowed for periods of sitting an examination.
  7. The delivery of Statutory and Mandatory training remains the responsibility of the Trust. This also applies to courses that are mandated i.e. essential for the FD to perform their role in particular specialities, e.g. radiology courses for FDs in A and E.
  8. The administration and approval of study leave remains the responsibility of the Trust. Foundation TPDs will be responsible for the approval in line with Trust policies. Only aspirational courses, which will be minimal, should be directed to the Foundation School Directors.  Optional and Mandatory courses are agreed locally by Foundation Training Programme Directors.
  9. Academic trainees should be attending local academic study days.