Absences from training, other than for study leave or annual leave, may have an impact on a doctor’s ability to demonstrate competence and progression through the curriculum. The General Medical Council has determined therefore that within each ST year where a trainee has been absent for a total of 14 days or more (when a trainee would normally be at work), total training time will be affected and any days above this must be added to their completion of training date, thus extending their programme.

Please note that the RCGP have updated their guidance on Time out of Training as of April 2019. The new guidelines state that:

  • A maximum of 14 calendar days of absence per ST phase will be permitted if progress is satisfactory (Outcome 1)
  • For trainees whose progress is not satisfactory during a phase of training, ALL absence during that ST year should be made up and there is no 14-day allowance during this period. This applies to all trainees who receive an Outcome 2 or 3 at ARCP, and stays in place until the next ST year (as long as progress is then satisfactory).  
  • All absences over 14 days per ST year due to sickness, maternity/paternity leave, jury service or other unforeseen circumstances, will need to be made up by all trainees, regardless of whether their progress is satisfactory or unsatisfactory. 

If you are absent from training for any reason, you must inform the relevant Lead Employer and the School of Primary Care. If your CCT date needs to be extended due to absence, you will be informed by the Education Programme Coordinator. 


On the first day of absence please inform your current workplace (hospital or GP Practice) so they can arrange cover as appropriate. Please keep in touch with them regarding the duration of your absence.

Please also ensure you inform your Lead Employer.

If your absence lasts less than seven consecutive days, upon your return to work please complete a self-certification sick note and forward it to your employer.

For absences longer than seven days, you should obtain a sick note from your GP which must be forwarded to the appropriate contact within the relevant trust, as your employer.s

Please note if you are taken ill on a day when you should attend VTS teaching, you still need to report this to your trust, as well as your patch administrator.


Requests for unpaid leave should be made in conjunction with your current workplace and the relevant Lead Employer.

Upon your return, please ensure you complete a change of circumstances form with the dates/details of your absence and return it to your local VTS Administrator and the Helpdesk.


If you are called for jury service, please liaise with your current workplace and provide the relevant Lead Employer with the anticipated dates of your absence.

Upon your return, please ensure you complete a change of circumstances form with the actual dates of your absence and return it to your local VTS Administrator and the Helpdesk


Please refer to the current Peninsula PGME policies.


GP Trainees have access to Occupational Health experts to provide support when needed, and it is vital that all referrals are made via the relevant Lead Employer and not through your practice placement.


Health Education England understands that regardless of the reason, returning to training can be a difficult and stressful time for a trainee. If this is you, be reassured that you are not on your own; Health Education England and your SuppoRTT team are here to help. Click here for more details. Tim Davis has been appointed as Training Programme Director for the SuppoRTT programme.