Schools of Primary Care (SoPC) Geographical Preferences and Transfers Policy
This policy explains how our training programmes are allocated to trainees, and the circumstances in which a change of training programme may be considered.
Allocation of Programmes and Rotations
Applicants who are selected for GP training are allocated to their preferred training programme and rotation within that programme, according to their ranking in the selection process. In most cases, higher scoring candidates will be offered their choice of programme and rotation before those scoring less well. However, we also need to ensure that we evenly fill all 10 of our GP training schemes. To achieve this, we reserve the right to withdraw some training rotations in our more popular schemes so that any unfilled rotations are fairly distributed across our region.
Geographical Restriction Application
In previous years, HESW has made every effort to accommodate geographical preferences across our training schemes, based upon personal health and for certain circumstances surrounding applicants’ children. However, this year the National Recruitment Office has centralised the allocations process and informed us that no geographical preferences can be arranged. HEE working across the south west regrets any difficulties this policy may present to potential trainees. We suggest that any further enquires or appeals are addressed directly to the NRO.
When a trainee accepts a place on a training scheme, it is understood that they are making a firm commitment for the full 3 or 4 years of their training programme.
We wish to emphasise the following points:
- Trainees should not accept a rotation with the anticipation that they will be able to transfer to another scheme once they have started their training.
- Trainees are advised to relocate to live close to their training schemes.
- Trainees are advised to exercise caution about choosing to undertake long commutes to where they are training. Should personal circumstances change, the avoidance of a long commute will NOT be viewed favourably as grounds for a geographical transfer.
However, we recognise that trainees may have unforeseen, significant change in circumstances after the commencement of their training programmes. There are processes in place to move within and between schemes and to other deaneries in the UK.
Overview of Transfer Process
|Intra-Programme Transfer||For trainees who want to change their location within their training scheme e.g. to move from one location in the Somerset scheme to another location in Somerset.|
|Inter-Programme Transfer (IPT)||For trainees who want to move from one training scheme in HESW to another e.g. moving from Somerset to Cornwall.|
|Inter-Deanery Transfer (IDT)||
For trainees who want to move from HESW to train in another part of the UK. This is a national transfer process and further details can be found here.
If you have any queries relating to the National Inter Deanery Transfer (IDT) process, please review the IDT Applicant guide and the frequently asked questions (FAQs) articles on the specialty training website by following this link.
If you do not find an FAQ that has answered your question, you can submit an enquiry form to the National IDT team via the PGMDE support portal. The PGMDE support portal can be accessed at the following link.
Criteria for Geographical Restrictions on Application and Geographical Transfers
The same criteria must be met when applying for a geographical restriction when applying to HESW, or when applying to transfer within or between programmes. However, for transfers there must also be evidence of a significant and unforeseen change in circumstances.
The criteria are:
- Personal disability as defined by the Equality Act 2010
- Caring responsibilities
- Parental responsibilities
- A committed relationship
These criteria are explained in more detail below:
Criterion 1 - personal disability as defined by the Equality Act 2010
The trainee has, or has developed a disability as defined by the Equality Act 2010, for which treatment is an absolute requirement and where the treatment, care or social requirements can only be carried out in the geographical area the trainee has applied to relocate to, as confirmed by a report from their Occupational Health Physician, GP or their medical specialist.
Evidence to support Criterion 1 – ‘Supporting Document A’
Supporting Document A must be completed by the trainee and by an Occupational Health Physician, GP or medical specialist, who will be required to:
- Confirm that the trainee has a disability according to the Equality Act 2010
- Describe the nature of the ongoing treatment and frequency of the follow up required
- State why the reasonable adjustment of a transfer needs to be made and how a move would support the trainee in their change of circumstances.
Definition of 'disability' under the Equality Act 2010
The Equality Act 2010 defines a disabled person as someone who has a physical or mental impairment, which the impairment has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his or her ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.
For the purposes of the Act:
- Substantial means more than minor or trivial
- Long term means that the effect of the impairment has lasted or is likely to last for at least 12 months (there are special rules covering recurring or fluctuating conditions)
- Normal day-to-day activities include everyday things like eating, washing, walking and going shopping.
- Some conditions, such as a tendency to set fires or addictions to non-prescribed substances, are specifically excluded.
People who have had a disability in the past that meets the above definition are also covered by the scope of the Act.
There are additional provisions relating to people with progressive conditions. People with HIV, cancer and multiple sclerosis are protected by the Act from the point of diagnosis.
Criterion 2 - caring responsibilities
The trainee is the primary carer for someone who is disabled as defined by the Equality Act 2010, expected to be a partner, sibling, parent or child. For transfers these responsibilities must have changed significantly following the commencement of their current programme, resulting in the need to move location, since the commencement of training. Trainees who provide care for a person as part of a group of carers, e.g. a family, are not eligible to apply under this criterion.
Evidence to support Criterion 2 – ‘Supporting Document B’
Supporting Document B must be completed by the trainee and by the General Practitioner or Social Worker of the person being cared for by the trainee and will consist of:
- a statement confirming the trainee’s role as primary carer for the person being cared for.
- a care plan for the person being cared for.
Criterion 3 - parental responsibilities
The trainee is a parent or legal guardian of a child (or children) under the age of 18 who reside primarily with them, and for whom they have had caring responsibilities, or a change in caring responsibilities following the commencement of their current programme, resulting in the need to move location.
This might include:
- Children of secondary school age, and particular consideration will be being given to those approaching major examinations (years 10-13).
- Exceptional family responsibilities e.g. a single parent relying on family support.
We are unable to accommodate any requests for geographical preferences on application based upon care of infant, pre-school or junior school children.
Evidence to support Criterion 3 – ‘Supporting Document C’
Supporting Document C must be completed by the trainee and also a signatory. The signatory must be the trainee’s current Educational Supervisor or Training Programme Director who will confirm, to the best of their knowledge, that they are aware of the change in personal circumstances occurring.
Criterion 4 - committed relationship
The trainee has had a significant change in personal circumstances due to a committed relationship that could not have been foreseen following the commencement of their current programme, resulting in the need to move location.
Evidence to support Criterion 4 – ‘Supporting Documents D’
Supporting Document D must be completed by the trainee and also a signatory. The signatory must be the trainee’s current Educational Supervisor or Training Programme Director who will confirm, to the best of their knowledge, that they are aware of the change in personal circumstances occurring.
Approval of Geographical Restrictions and Transfers
Intra-Programme Transfers are considered by the Associate Postgraduate Dean responsible for the scheme.
Geographical restrictions on application, and inter-programme transfers are considered by the Transfer Panel.
This Panel is made up of:
- An Associate Postgraduate Dean
- Specialty Training Manager
- Lay Representative
- Trainee Representative
The Panel meets quarterly in September, December, March and June of each year.
It is the trainee’s responsibility to submit the correct supporting documents, with all sections completed and included.
Information provided, including information supplied on the application form and any attached supporting documents, should be completed to the best of trainee’s knowledge. If it is subsequently discovered that any statement is false or misleading, or that relevant information has been withheld an application may be disqualified and will be reported to the Postgraduate Dean.
If there are more IPT requests than vacancies, priority will be given to trainees with a significant change in circumstances due to their own disability. Applications from trainees with changes in circumstances related to caring or parental responsibilities or committed relationships will be prioritised by the Transfer Panel.
The panel will consider all applicants and if approved, the trainee will need to establish whether there is a suitable vacant post by liaising with the Medical Education office in their requested transfer area.
Those trainees who have not been allocated a transfer owing to lack of suitable vacant posts will be kept on file for approximately 6 months, until the next Transfer Panel is held and contacted should a suitable post become available. After 6 months, applications should be re-submitted to the Panel so that they can be re-prioritised against any subsequent applications from other trainees.
Trainees who are matched to vacant posts will be conditionally offered a transfer by email and will have to respond to this conditional offer within the designated time frame.
Once trainees have accepted their conditional offer to transfer a start date will be agreed with the trainee and the two Postgraduate Medical Education offices. Typically a trainee would have to work their three months’ notice with their current employer before transferring. The start date may also need to coincide with national recruitment timelines to ensure the Trust is not adversely affected by vacancies.
Less Than Full-Time (LTFT)
A trainee’s LTFT status will not be affected by the transfer provided the reasons for needing to train less than full time remain unchanged.
Out of Programme (OOP)
Trainees who are currently on OOP should not apply for a transfer unless they are within six months of their return to the training programme.
Trainees requesting an IPT while pregnant or on maternity leave should not apply unless they are within six months of their return to the training programme.
Academic Clinical Fellowship (ACF) and Clinical Lecturer (CL) trainees should first approach their Academic Supervisor to discuss their situation and they will need to obtain written agreement from both their current academic provider (Medical School holding the ACF or CL award) and the academic provider they wish to move to. This written confirmation should state that the releasing institution agrees to the NIHR funding being released, and that the receiving academic institution is able to deliver the academic training.
Once agreed by both academic providers, the ACF or CL trainee will need to get written agreement from the NIHR for the transfer of their funded award. The trainee needs to supply evidence of these agreements with their application.
These arrangements only apply to ACF and CL trainees requesting a transfer between the three Universities within Health Education South West; i.e. Bristol Medical School, University of Exeter Medical School and Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry.
Trainees must hold an NTN with Severn Postgraduate Medical Education or Peninsula Postgraduate Medical Education
For geographical restrictions, trainees must declare personal circumstances relating to one of the four criteria listed above, before commencement in their current training programme.
For transfers trainees must have experienced a change in their personal circumstances relating to one of the four criteria listed above, after commencement in their current training programme.
For transfers, trainees must have been in a current training post for a minimum of nine months at the point of application.
Trainees should be at least six calendar months from the date of completion of their training programme when starting in post within the new region following a transfer.
Transfer requests will be subject to the trainee being in receipt of a satisfactory outcome ARCP 1 or RITA C unless under exceptional circumstances and agreed by the GP Director.
Trainees are required to confirm they have no unresolved ‘cause for concern’ which may have been highlighted via the ARCP process.
Application and Supporting Documents
Trainees applying for an IPT will need to submit the following:-
- Application form, stating clearly the significant and unforeseen change in circumstances that has taken place since they started training a copy of which can be found at the top of this webpage.
- Evidence supporting their application, including appropriate IPT Supporting document (A, B, C or D) a copy of which can be found at the top of this webpage.
- A copy of their most recent ARCP outcome (or Educational Supervisors Report if ARCP has yet to take place)
Application deadlines are outlined in the table below. Where possible the panel will convene by the 2nd Wednesday of the defined month:
|Month of Panel Review||Application Submission Deadline|
|October||15th of September|
|April||15th of March|
Applications from trainees within Severn should be made to: Severn.GPSchool@southwest.hee.nhs.uk
Applications from trainees in Peninsula should be made to: pen.GPHelpdesk@southwest.hee.nhs.uk
Progress of Applications
Trainees will be informed of the Panel’s decision by email within 5 working days. Where applications have been approved, the trainee will need to establish whether there is a suitable vacant post by liaising with the Medical Education office in their requested transfer area. If this cannot be confirmed, then trainees will be clearly advised that there transfer has only been approved in principle, and that the final outcome is subject to there being a vacancy for them.
Those trainees who have not been allocated a transfer owing to lack of suitable vacant posts will be kept on file for approximately 6 months, until the next Transfer Panel is held and contacted should a suitable post become available. During this time, trainees will be allocated a point of contact to discuss any developments in their application. After 6 months, applications should be re-submitted to the Panel so that they can be re-prioritised against any subsequent applications from other trainees.
Complaints and Appeals
There is no mechanism for appealing the decision of the panel.
It is not possible to complain on the grounds of:
- if you disagree with the principle or contents the IPT process, which includes the eligibility criteria
- if you disagree with the outcomes of the IPT process
- if you allege unfairness of practice and process but do not supply evidence to substantiate your allegation
- if you were judged eligible to be entitled to a transfer but there were insufficient vacancies to allocate a transfer to you.
If a trainee feels that their application has been treated unfairly or due process has not been followed they should submit a complaint to the Postgraduate Dean. You must provide full evidence to substantiate your complaint. The Postgraduate Dean will then arrange for your complaint to be investigated.