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Trainee Information

Time Out of Foundation Programme

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Time Out of Foundation Programme (TOFP) 

Taking Time Out of Foundation Programme is governed by the Foundation Reference Guide and is maintained by the UKFPO (UK Foundation Programme Office).

Occasionally it may be necessary for a Foundation trainee to take out of their two-year Foundation Programme for a number of reasons including

  • Gaining clinical experience outside of the Foundation Programme
  • Undertaking a period of research
  • Taking a planned career break

Foundation trainees who want to take time out should firstly discuss this with their Educational Supervisor and Foundation Programme Director. Time out is usually only granted between the end of FY1 and beginning of FY2 for a period of 12 months to avoid foundation trainees becoming out of phase. Anyone wishing to apply should complete the request form and submitted it to the Foundation School Manager, who will link with the relevant Associate Dean for Foundation.
Further information can be found in the Foundation Reference Guide 2016:

Taking time Out Of Programme (OOP)

6.96 Foundation doctors who want to take time Out Of Programme (OOP) should first discuss this with their educational supervisor.

6.97 The duration of time out of the foundation programme will usually be 12 months to avoid foundation doctors becoming out of phase with the foundation programme. Foundation schools will typically only approve OOP at the end of F1 so that the time out is taken between the end of F1 and the beginning of F2. Time out during F1 or F2 placements will only be considered in exceptional circumstances.

6.98 Foundation doctors may ask to take time out of the foundation programme for a number of reasons, including:

  • gaining clinical experience outside of the foundation programme
  • undertaking a period of research or
  • a planned career break.

6.99 Foundation doctors who take time out of UK National Health Service employment as part of the OOP process should check what effect this time away will have on their salary, sickness and maternity entitlements, and pension arrangements.

6.100 Foundation doctors who take time out of the foundation programme are advised to consult the GMC website about options for GMC registration and the implications for revalidation. A discussion with the named educational supervisor, FTPD/T or FSD is also advisable.

6.101 F1 doctors should be aware that the GMC has made an important change to the way doctors can use their provisional registration. From 1 April 2015, the length of time doctors are allowed to hold provisional registration is limited to a maximum of three years and 30 days.

6.102 Foundation doctors who take time out of the foundation programme during F1 to undertake training outside the UK will require a Certificate of Experience from their medical school confirming they have successfully completed the requirements of F1 in order to apply for full GMC registration. No other evidence will be accepted. If the foundation doctor cannot provide the Certificate of Experience they are not eligible for full registration and will be limited to applying for provisional registration on their return to the UK. Further guidance can be found on the GMC website.

6.103 If, after discussion, a doctor decides to go ahead with their request to take time out of the foundation programme, they should complete an OOP request form and send it to the FSD (an OOP form for the foundation programme is published on the UKFPO website although HEE/NES/NIMDTA/Wales Deanery/foundation schools may have their own forms). The request will be reviewed in line with the relevant foundation school’s procedures.

6.104 The FSD will need to receive such requests by the end of the sixth month of the F1 year unless there are exceptional circumstances.

6.105 The FSD may set an upper limit on the number of foundation doctors who will be permitted to take time out of the foundation programme, as there are a limited number of F2 places.

6.106 If the FSD agrees to time out of the foundation programme, the foundation doctor will be able to return to their foundation school at the end of the agreed period but not necessarily to the same LEP or rotation as originally allocated.

6.107 If a foundation doctor’s request for time out of the foundation programme has been agreed but their plans change, the foundation school will try to arrange an appropriate training opportunity for the doctor at short notice but the school cannot guarantee to do so.

6.108 It is the foundation doctor’s responsibility to tell their FSD six months before the start date of their F2 year that they plan to return to the foundation programme in accordance with an agreed process. If the foundation doctor does not contact the FSD as agreed, the foundation school is no longer required to hold a F2 rotation and the foundation doctor would need to apply for a vacant F2 appointment in open competition.

6.109 Foundation doctors may appeal against the decision of the FSD not to grant time out of the foundation programme. The foundation school will publish and manage an appeals process. Foundation doctors may normally appeal against the decision on the grounds that the process was not applied with appropriate diligence or due care or that there is evidence of prejudice, bias or conflict of interest in the handling of the application. The appeal should be heard by a panel comprising at least three people, none of whom were involved in the original decision.