GP Specialty Training FAQs
Am I entitled to relocation expenses when I first move to the South West?
Yes you are but this must be claimed within three months of moving to the area and the total costs reimbursed cannot exceed £8000. For more information and to apply please contact your Lead Employer.
How many days of annual leave do I get as a trainee?
Annual leave is a minimum of 27 days (not including bank holidays). This will rise to 32 days with 5 years of completed NHS service.
I am a trainee working 60% Less Than Full Time (LTFT); how many bank holidays can I take?
There are 8 bank holidays per year, if you work part time at 60% you are entitled to 7 x 60% = 4.8 bank holidays. If they do not coincide with your contracted hours you can take this time off in lieu.
How many patients should I see a day and how long are the appointments?
The length of consultations and number of patients seen per surgery should be flexible and depend on previous experience of the trainee. The number of patients seen per surgery should be gradually increased as the registrar becomes more competent. You should aim to get to 10 minutes consultation times as soon as you can. Ideally, within the first six months in general practice. We suggest you get as much experience as you can by seeing an average of 90-100 patients per week. Start doing this as soon as you feel ‘comfortable’, but remember that putting it off for too long increases you chances of failing the CSA.
Do I get time in lieu for OOH sessions?
When you choose your OOH sessions you will need to allow enough time to effectively manage your practice work commitments. If you wish to take a compensatory rest period which involved cancelling a clinical session this must be done in conjunction with your host practice manager and adhering to your practices normal policies and timescales for cancelling a clinical session. Attendance at the teaching programme is compulsory and absence must be agreed with your TPD. You have a duty to ensure patient safety is not put at risk due to fatigue so careful planning of your OOH sessions must be done in conjunction with your educational supervisor.
How many sessions/hours of OOH are required?
One session a month of 6 hours in any GP training practice posts, therefore, once training has finished a GPST needs to have completed 18 sessions each consisting of 6 hours. Trainees who undertake an extension will be required to do an additional one session per month. Less than full time trainees have the duration of their training to do the required sessions, they do not have to complete one a month but the standard 18 as mentioned above.
Can I get paid for doing OOH?
No, payment is within your GP registrar salary.
What is extended hours and does this count as out of hours?
Your practice may offer extended opening hours before 8am, after 6:30pm or Saturday mornings. This can be part of your agreed 40 hour working contract, and your day would need to be adjusted accordingly. You cannot count it as out of hours experience.
How many out of hours sessions working less than full time do trainees need to complete?
In the ST3 year you have to complete 12 out of hours sessions, therefore, if you are working 60% you have the full 20 months of your ST3 year to complete the necessary sessions.
Can I do locum work as a GPST?
Technically you can but you must be available for your employed working hours, and get enough rest to practice medicine safely. Before agreeing with any outside employment you need to check with the terms and conditions of your employment contract, and it would be wise to agree the work with your employer. As a doctor you are only qualified to work in a hospital locum capacity. You cannot work in general practice in any other capacity other than a GP registrar, and cannot be a locum. You should also discuss this with your Training Programme Director and Educational Supervisor. Please also ensure that your medical indemnity covers such work.
What should trainees do when the VTS day is not running?
The VTS teaching session on Wednesday is classed as study leave, so when it is not running the trainee should be working in the practice as part of their agreed contracted hours. An alternative is to use the time created as formal study leave and explore an aspect of general practice. It is also possible to use the time created as in lieu in order to experience Saturday morning extended hours. Many trainees form learning sets and usefully continue to work towards MRCGP. There is no rule and practices will differ but remember this is working time and we have to justify what we are paying for to the public.
Can I take a year off to travel?
General practice training is the shortest of all specialties at just three years. If you want to work abroad then it is possible to do this before or after you start the GP programme. Although it is possible to apply for the Out of Programme experience we have quite strict criteria and only agree to a few applications each year. Applicants are required to give 6 months’ notice of OOP experience and have to have completed one year of their training programme. Information regarding the OOP policy can be found here.
How do I claim for travel?
Trainees’ entitlement to excess mileage is administered by the Lead Employer. In determining trainees’ entitlement for excess mileage trainees should refer to Section 17 of the Terms and Conditions of Service Handbook accessible via the link below.
To avoid any ambiguity the base for all GP trainees is their principle place of work; during a hospital placement the Trust will be their base and when they rotate to a practice this will necessitate a compulsory change of base and as such they will be eligible to claim excess mileage payable at the reserve rate.
You cannot claim travel expenses for planned educational days or Annual Review of Competence Progression panels. You may claim travel for courses that you attend for study leave. All the details of how to claim study leave expenses, together with the appropriate form are on our website via this link.
Can I have the night off from work the day before an ARCP?
This is an issue to discuss with your placement. Only a minority of trainees are asked to meet the panel and it should not be a surprise. The only reason for not working the night before would be if you were not fit for work. It would be worth notifying the panel chair or administrator if there is an issue with your 11 hour rest period so you are only called in the afternoon or in exceptional cases the panel could be delayed.
Can I get help with childcare?
Childcare Vouchers are an employee benefit available to all eligible working parents whose employers run the scheme. Childcare Vouchers benefit both basic and high rate tax payers and can be used to pay for all types of registered childcare, including holiday clubs, school clubs, child-minders, nannies etc. By joining the scheme, working parents are entitled to exchange a portion of their gross salary for the vouchers. By joining the scheme your pay is except from Tax and National Insurance Contributions, which means you can make savings of over £1000 per parent per year on your scheme. For further information please contact your Lead Employer.
How many hours of work per week there in a GP training practice placement, and what is the balance of clinical activity?
This is up to your employer as agreed in your contract. Your contract is for 40 hours a week and this consists of 28 hours of clinical activity and 12 hours education.
Do I have to do extended hours or Saturday mornings?
You are preparing for a career in general practice and as such need experience in all aspects of the job including extended hours. Your working hours need to be agreed with your trainer and compliant with the 48 hour working time directive. If you practice does not do extended hours your trainer might be willing to facilitate an extended hours experience in another practice.
If I have had time off due to sickness/jury service/maternity leave/paternity leave do I need to make the time up?
If a trainee has missed more than 14 calendar days per 12 months (August to August) then additional training time will be required to make up the necessary three years of experience as required by the RCGP, if you are taking any of the leave listed above you need to inform your Lead Employer as soon as possible and complete the correct forms where necessary.
Please see Absence from Training - Key Points
I am working 60% less than full time. How often should I attend the VTS?
Attendance should be pro rata full time.
Can I transfer to another area for my training?
Information on transferring to another area can be found here.
Can I claim for exam preparation courses?
You can claim for preparation courses but not for the cost of the exam itself. Study leave guidance for GP trainees is found here
Can I take the AKT/CSA if released from training?
The AKT and CSA components of the MRCGP should be taken and passed during the three year training programme. Further attempts will be allowed during periods of extended training that have been authorised. At the discretion of the RCGP and South West Peninsula, and in exceptional circumstances only, one attempt at the AKT and CSA will normally be permitted in the six month period immediately following exit from training without receiving a CCT. The limit of attempts for both CSA and AKT is four, those who have obtained a pass after they have exited training will not be eligible for a CCT and must apply instead for a Certificate of Eligibility for GP Registration (CEGPR) under Article 11 of the Order.
Are the expenses associated with RCGP AiT registration and GMC registration fees are reimbursable?
No, but they are classed as ‘professional expenses’ and are tax allowable.
What is the minimum percentage I can work?
We recommend 60% from a training perspective but 50% can be granted in certain circumstances.
I am working 60% less than full time, how many hours a week should be spent on clinical activities and education?
Pro rata full time, for example 60% x 28 clinical hours = 16.8 hours
How do I become a trainer?
You will need to be at least one year post-CCT and have worked in your practice for a minimum of a year, not necessarily as a partner. You will need attend an approved GP trainers course and complete the necessary trainer visit in the practice before you can have a GP trainee in the surgery on placement.
Can I have a day off to attend an interview for a job?
It is good practice for an NHS employer to allow you to take special leave to attend an NHS job interview, taking into account the notice period and numbers of doctors that remain in the practice for patient safety. You might be asked to re-negotiate the interview date if problematic for the practice, but most employers would try to make reasonable adjustments. No more than five days a financial year would normally be allowed for this purpose. Please contact your placement provider and your Lead Employer.
Do I need to be on the Performers List?
This is required for all GP training practice posts but not hospital posts.
I am stuck abroad due to a plane strike what should I do?
Contact your employer immediately and make plans to return to the UK as soon as practical. You will be required to use up annual leave, or take unpaid leave. Please contact the office to clarify the effects on your training requirements due to making up necessary time.
Can I do locum posts?
Yes, but only hospital locums and as long as it does not interfere with your ability to fulfil you work duties and commitment to learning and assessments. You should make sure your employer is fully aware of any outside work related activity. If you fail any assessments and outside working is a contributory factor then South West Peninsula may decide not to offer extended training. Please refer to your contract of employment.
Can I reclaim the cost of Medical Indemnity cover?
Peninsula Postgraduate Medical Education now offers bulk medical indemnity for all trainees who choose to take up this offer.
What if my ES is on holiday/sick at the time of my ES review?
You should arrange the date of your ES review with your ES 6-8 weeks before your supervision is due, so that holidays etc. can be accommodated. If in the unfortunate circumstance that your ES is on long term sick you should speak to your local VTS TPDs as soon as you are aware that there is a problem so that alternative arrangements can be made.
When are ARCP panels held?
The main ARCPs take place in June and July as most trainees change year in August. For trainees who ST year does not complete in August interim panels will be held and trainees will be notified. All trainees regardless of working time percentage have to have an ARCP once a year, however, the majority of trainees will not need to attend these panels in person.
I am on annual leave during the time of my ARCP, what should I do?
You should be aware well in advance your ARCP date and should take steps to ensure that you have met with your Educational Supervisor and have completed the relevant competencies on ePortfolio prior to your leave.
What if I have an unsatisfactory outcome at ARCP?
You will be invited to meet with the panel to discuss the issues raised and agree to a training plan. The panel will also explain the review or appeal process. Information regarding ARCPs can be found here.
I am on the wrong salary what should I do?
Please contact your Lead Employer.
How much paternity pay am I entitled to?
Please refer to your contract of employment but this is usually for two weeks.
What is the minimum part time working I can do?
60% is recommended due to training purposes but in some cases you can work 50%.
I am trying to arrange a mortgage, the bank needs evidence that I employed for three years. Can you help?
South West Peninsula PGME can provide you with a letter confirming that you are on a training rotation for three years, but you should have a copy of your original offer letter with this information. Any financial information must come from your employer as Peninsula PGME does not hold information in relation to earnings.
What are the COTs/CbDs etc. requirements for less than full time trainees?
You are required to achieve pro rata what is required by a full time trainee in 12 months, for example as an ST3 you are required to complete 12 COTs in one year, therefore, at 50% you are required to complete 6 COTs per year. The MSF and PSQ is reduced to one per 12 months for less than full time trainees. Unfortunately your ePo does not reflect this change in amount that a less than full time trainee needs to complete but the South West Peninsula will be aware of the requirements.
Is the expense of certification at the end of training reimbursable?
No, but this cost is tax allowable as a professional expense.
Can a GP trainee work if they have no proof of medical indemnity?
No, it is the doctors responsibility to have appropriate medical indemnity.
I am off long term sick and coming to the end of my current post and should start the new post within the next week. What should I do?
You cannot move trust or in to general practice whilst on sick leave. You need to contact your TPD and Gemma Lush at the School of Primary Care as soon as you intend to return to work so that we are aware of your new training dates.
Can a trainee work before the Performers List application has been approved?
The Performers List application must be submitted prior to starting in a GP practice placement.
What if I do not agree with the ARCP decision?
A trainee has the right to request a review and in some circumstances an appeal if they do not agree with the outcome that has been given.
I am on active service with the Territorial Army, can I have leave?
Please contact your Lead Employer. You would need to give adequate notice. If the leave requested is longer than the two weeks allowance then your training would have to be extended, please inform the South West Peninsula of any dates so these can be added to your ePortfolio.
My rotations on the ePortfolio are wrong, who should I contact about this?
Please email Gemma Lush with any changes that need to be made on the ePortfolio regarding your posts.
Who has responsibility for the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks?
Please liaise with your Lead Employer to arrange this.
I have a question regarding maternity leave, who shall I contact?
Do I have to do clinical work if the half-day release is not running or out of term?
You need to agree your working hours and duties with your employer/supervisor. Your working week includes 28 hours clinical work and 12 hours for education. What you do in the educational time is usually determined by your educational needs and can include audits, learning about consultations, attending clinics etc. it is not up to the School to determine you working week and at times you will be required to do a normal afternoon clinical sessions depending on the fluctuating demands of primary care.
Can my clinical supervisor in hospital be added to my ePortfolio?
These cannot be added when you are in hospital posts, only when you are in general practice. All the forms the clinical supervisor needs to complete can be found on the ePortfolio log in page, under ‘assessment forms’
I can no longer access my review on the ePortfolio and my evidence has vanished from my screen, why is this?
You will need to check what date your Educational Supervisor has entered for your end of review period, many supervisors put the date that you have met with them to complete the ESR rather than the end of the current 6 month post. Therefore, if the date is after the date of your meeting the ePortfolio thinks that you are no longer in a review period and your educational supervisor needs to amend the date for the end of the post, or if they are unable to do this please contact Gemma Lush.
How many days on call or duty would a 60% WTE trainee do?
A part time trainee should do pro-rata what a full time trainee does in your practice. So if they do 1 day a week on call then a 60% trainee would do 1 day on 3 out of 5 weeks.
I am an academic trainee working in a GP training practice and at the university, who pays my salary?
You are employed by the trust you work in full time and released to the university on a honorary basis for the academic component. The practice is entitled to a full time trainers grant; you thus only have one employer for payroll purposes.
I am a LEET trainee, but only work 50% in practice so who pays the other 50% of my salary?
Your full 100% salary is paid by your employer. Please ensure that the practice are aware of this and confirm you will only be working for them for 50% of the week.
Thank you to the West Midlands Deanery for letting us re-produce their trainee FAQs page for this document.