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.

There is no budgetary limit, however study leave must be used to meet curriculum requirements. All study leave requests are to be discussed with your supervisors. 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.

Trainees are advised to plan their study leave at the regular review meetings with their educational supervisor. Ideally an outline plan should be produced for the whole 3-year programme with each course planned at least 6 months in advance. These discussions should be reflected in the trainee’s PDP. This will facilitate release from service commitment and ensure best use of the allowance. The educational supervisor should record this in the e-portfolio either in the review documentation or as an “educators note”

Up to 5 days of Study Leave per year may be taken for private study. This should be for specific work, e.g. exam preparation and agreed with the educational supervisor.

GP Trainees who are progressing satisfactorily 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.

Travel and subsistence can be reimbursed in accordance with the current regulations. It should however be noted that subsistence will not be paid unless there is an overnight stay involved in the course (not before or after), which is not within the overall course fees. Overnight accommodation will only be reimbursed if the course is a significant distance from the home address (usually more than 50 miles) and if the course spans two or more days. If accommodation or mileage is to be claimed, it MUST be estimated on the form before passing for authorisation. The only exception to this is that HEE will fund an overnight stay prior to sitting the CSA examination if it is not practical to travel on the day of the assessment (e.g. for a morning sitting).

Study leave payments are not intended for costs incurred in taking examinations, e-portfolio costs, affiliation to or membership of the RCGP or registration for certification so none of these will be reimbursed.  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. 

LTFT trainees are entitled to pro rata study leave time.

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

The programme APD can decline funding requests if they feel that a more cost-effective alternative exists.


During GP Specialty training study leave should be used at 3 levels, in order of importance: 


Level I

a)    Attendance at the GP specialty training programme structured teaching. Whilst in ST1 and ST2 hospital posts, release to stay in close touch with the training practice and complete the Educational Supervisor Review; (a maximum of five days of study leave per 6-month post).

b)    Appropriate life support training certified to meet MRCGP examination requirements (to achieve BLS)

c)    One Level 3 safeguarding during training

Applications for these will be automatically approved.


Level II

These are courses which will supplement areas of the GP curriculum that may be difficult to access.


Level III

These are courses which are additional and aspirational courses that go beyond the GP curriculum e.g. to aid the development of particular interests. These will be reviewed by the programme team and approval is at their discretion. If supported, these courses will only be funded up to maximum of 50% of the cost of the course.


Approved course list 


Automatic approval for all trainees



Structured Education Programme

Mandatory release, no funding implications

Severn Faculty RCGP CSA and AKT preparation course

One course attendance per trainee

Courses provided by local Educational Provider Organisations through block-booking


BLS training 

One attendance per trainee in ST3

Child protection training 

One course attendance per trainee. Trainees should ensure that they have completed a Level 3 course by the end of ST3.

GP Update Day e.g. NB Medical / Red Whale

One of each type of course during training for those in ST2 or ST3 (check with patch to confirm)


Courses NOT approved for funding, although time off might be authorised

CSA or AKT revision or study courses provided by any other provider (apart from the Fourteenfish AKT package which is available to trainees from the SL budget).

Events outside the Severn region unless authorised by a APD/TPD


Study Leave Application Process


Trainees wishing to apply for Study Leave need to discuss and agree their training/learning needs with their Educational Supervisor. Once discussed these needs are then to be entered as an educator note on e-portfolio or recorded in the trainee’s Personal Development plan (PDP). The Study leave time is to be agreed with the Rota Co-ordinator and Clinical Supervisor (for ST1 & 2) in their post.

Once leave has been approved by the Educational Supervisor, Clinical Supervisor & Rota Coordinator, the Trainee must enter the training course and estimated study leave expenses onto Intrepid at least two weeks before the date of the course commencing, entering the named people (Educational Supervisor, Clinical Supervisor & Rota Coordinator) they have spoken to for approval. Study leave will only be approved by the Patch administrator with these necessary authorisations. Study leave will not be approved by the patch administrator if there are GP teaching sessions taking place on this particular day or if there is an equivalent course available locally, unless there are exceptional circumstances. 

Once the training has been undertaken and in order to be reimbursed of the allowed expenditure, trainees should submit the Study leave Expenses claim form to the Patch Administration teams via intrepid with receipts, completed feedback form and a certificate of attendance within 3 months of the training taking place.  Claims submitted after the 3 months have elapsed will not be paid.

If a trainee has not been reimbursed after 4 weeks of submitting a claim they should contact the patch administrator.

Study leave application forms should be used for any course a trainee needs or may wish to attend (N.B. not required for the in-house structured teaching programme).  The forms are for the authorisation of financial reimbursement – the time off must be negotiated with the relevant people before submitting the form for approval.

Application forms should be downloaded from the website.


Principles of study leave and contracted educational sessions in GP posts for GP specialty training

There have been differing interpretations of study leave guidance and its application for trainees working in practice. This has partly arisen because the standard junior doctor contract includes 12 hours of education time but does not specify how this links with study leave. The principles below are intended to clarify the situation. See also;

These principles should also be applied to hospital and other posts with the difference that trainees in hospital posts have 4 hours educational time within their contract.

  • Attendance at the local structured teaching programme is part of contractual arrangements and therefore mandatory. Failure to attend without notifying the programme director and without good reason is therefore a disciplinary matter.
  • The local GP structured teaching programme is part of study leave and therefore time is deducted from each trainee’s allowance.
  • If the local structured teaching programme is not running in a particular week, that session would usually revert to being a practiced-based education session. If the trainee instead requests to take time out of the practice for education, that is counted as Study Leave and would need to be approved in the usual way.
  • Trainers are expected to timetable the structured teaching programme as part of the 12 hours education time within the 2016 Junior Doctor Contract so trainees do not miss clinical time to attend.
  • Other study leave granted is for the time a course takes place. Trainees are therefore released from whatever activity was programmed for that time, whether it is clinical or educational.
  • Trainees should therefore not normally be expected to swap timetabled sessions to allow release for approved study leave within the 30 days annual allowance.
  • 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
  • The activities that normally take place within the contracted educational sessions include formal tutorials and assessments, recording learning on the e-portfolio, personal study, practice or other education meetings, peer group learning and educationally useful projects such as audit, protocols or other management tasks. In some circumstances there may be some clinical activity with significant educational input e.g. observed surgeries with feedback from the trainer. 

Time in Lieu

Time in lieu will be allowed if the course is undertaken outside of the normal working week, for example a course undertaken on a Saturday would allow the GPST to take time in lieu from their educational time in the working week. For LTFT trainees, attending a course on a non-working day would result in time in lieu being taken from educational time in their normal working times. 




 Simon Newton 

Head of GP School 

December 2018