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Return to Training

Trainees may wish to take time out of training for reasons including Parental / Maternity Leave, Out of Programme Research (OOPR), Out of Programme for Career Break (OOPC) and planned sick leave (e.g. major surgery)

The West Midlands are keen to ensure that trainees are clinically confident and fully supported when returning to clinical practice and do so with the Supported Return to Training program(SuppoRTT). This enables trainees to document any plans to stay up to date with training whilst away from practice and also identify any anticipated support required upon their return.

See the FAQs below for some further information on the process, which includes the relevant forms that should be completed. Important links and documents are also at the bottom of the page. 

In addition, further information can be found on the HEE WM SuppoRTT web pages

If you are returning during/ post the COVID pandemic, please see our web page on this topic where there are lots of further links on the processes and support available

  • What is OOP?
    OOP is a term that relates to trainees wishing to undertake a range of activities that are outside of their training program.
  • What are the different types of OOP?
    There are a range of circumstances as to why individuals may want to undertake an OOP; to gain training or clinical experience, to undertake research or to take a career break. These distinct OOP pathways are referred to as: Out of Programme Experience (OOPE) Out of Programme Training (OOPT) Out of Programme Career Break (OOPC) Out of Programme Research (OOPR) A description of each of the pathways can be found below. For further details see OOP guidance document (link below).
  • What are the reasons to take an OOP?
    1. To gain Clinical Experience OOPE’s relate to trainees applying for an out of programme clinical experience which does not fall under OOPT and generally does not contribute towards their CCT. OOPE will normally be for a period of 1 year in total. This will be less common than OOPT and may be for experience outside of the curriculum. 2. To gain Training Experience OOPT’s relate to trainees applying for an out of programme training experience. This could include a secondment to another training scheme abroad. OOPT will normally be for a period of 1 year in total. 3. To take a Career Break OOPC’s relate to trainees who for personal reasons, request time out from their training programme. This may relate to illness, family caring responsibilities or other personal reasons. Normal approval lasts up to 1-2 years however may be longer in exceptional circumstances. Trainees must relinquish their National Training Number (NTN) if they take more than a 2 year break. It is the trainees’ responsibility to maintain licensing / revalidation as appropriate at the time. 4. To undertake Research OOPR’s relates to trainees applying to undertake research as part of their training experience. Research projects may last up to 3 years and can contribute up to 1 year towards the trainees CCT. Research should usually be towards a higher degree.
  • When can I take an OOP?
    Time out of programme will not normally be agreed until a trainee has been in a training programme for at least a year and will not normally be allowed in the final year of training other than in exceptional circumstances.
  • How long can I take an OOP for?
    3 years out of clinical programme will normally be the maximum time allowed out of programme. Extensions to this will only be allowed in exceptional circumstances and will need further written approval from the Postgraduate Dean
  • How do I apply for an OOP?
    Before application, trainees must discuss their plans with their Educational Supervisor and/or Training Programme Director (TPD). This discussion will form the basis for ensuring that the OOP is suitable and that the proposed post will meet the educational needs of the trainee. Health Education West Midlands requires OOP Application Forms and supporting documentation to be submitted at least 6 months in advance of the proposed OOP start date. Applications that do not meet this deadline will be rejected.
  • What is the application process?
    Application process: Fill in application form (see PDF below) Gain signatures from Educational Supervisor Training Programme Director ST1-3 Clare Onyon ( ST4-8 Matt Cawsey ( Head of School Alex Philpott ( Signed application forms to be sent to : Note that the application form states you need an RCPCH approval form, however this is no longer needed for paediatric applications.
  • What happens when I have completed the OOP?
    Trainees will need to liaise closely with their Training Programme Director (TPD) so that their re-entry into the clinical programme can be facilitated. At least 6 months’ notice must be given of the date the trainee intends to return to the clinical programme
  • Do I have an ARCP whilst on OOP?
    Trainees must complete and submit an annual out of programme report highlighting progress made each year that they are on OOP for consideration by the Annual Review of Competency Progression (ARCP) panel. This report will need to be accompanied by an assessment report of the trainees’ progress which is to be completed by the Educational Supervisor. If trainees do not submit both reports, this may affect the outcome of the ARCP. For further information please see HEWM OOP guide (PDF below) and guidance from RCPCH (link below)
  • When returning to work, what is the procedure?"
    Trainees going OOP should maintain contact with their respective TPD. They should complete the Pre-leave Return to Practice documentation with their Educational Supervisor prior to going OOP, and a copy should be emailed to their TPD. This should include their date of return as well as any changes to work pattern (e.g. LTFT).​ Trainees need to meet with their prospective Educational Supervisor at least 2 weeks before the start of the Post to discuss their required support and work schedule upon return. These plans need to be documented in the Pre-Return to Practice document available on the deanery's website and a copy emailed to their respective TPD. All trainees returning from an absence of 3 months or more are offered a Return to Practice Simulation Day before March and September changeover dates. These are organised by Dr Annabel Copeman and Dr Matt Nash, TPDs for Simulation. For trainees returning out of sync with the changeover dates, individualised support including possible simulation-based scenario training should be discussed with the prospective Ed Supervisor at the Return to Practice meeting.
  • When returning to work do we need to inform the Deanery in advance that we are coming back?
    Yes. Since the rotations are now to be decided on a 12-monthly rather than 6 monthly basis, the earlier the trainees let their TPD know the better. They would be included in the annual round of Preference Forms (usually sent out late March/early April) and should indicate their preferred geographic sector/posts for their return.
  • What are the main tips for those OOP?
    Trainees on OOP do have an ARCP and an appropriate outcome (8) awarded at the ARCP. Trainees going OOPE/OOPR need to provide a detailed Report on their achievements and progress of their research project and/or objectives agreed for the OOPE. Their Supervisor for the OOPR/OOPR also needs to provide a Report (ideally completed using the Trainer's Report template in Kaizen). These documents are not necessary for those going OOPC. Trainees going OOPT (which is rare in paediatrics) need to provide the evidence exactly in the same way as trainees in programme using Kaizen. They should use the ARCP Checklist to document their completion of ARCP requirements. All trainees on OOP (OOPC/OOPE/OOPR/OOPT) need to complete an Enhanced Form R for their annual Revalidation. Trainees on OOP will not be included in the GMC Trainees Survey and JEST Survey and therefore are not required to complete these surveys. Trainees on OOP need to ensure that they remain up to date with Life Support and Safeguarding requirements.



Dr Sailesh Sankar - SuppoRTT Associate Dean

Doreen Davis - Professional Support and Wellbeing Manager

Sam Turley - Return to Training Officer 

Ceri Chadwick - SuppoRTT Clinical Fellow


To contact us please email  or call 0121 695 2402

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