Out of programme

All out of programme (OOP) episodes must be arranged prospectively, as stipulated in the Gold Guide.  Provisional approval for any OOP must be agreed with your training programme director (TPD). Your deanery/HEE local office is responsible for agreeing time out of programme, so you must seek the relevant approval before enquiring with the JRCPTB. We only consider whether the OOP can count towards training credit, not the time out itself.

OOP posts in GMC approved locations

Please note OOP approval from the GMC is not required for doctors taking up posts in locations approved for training in the same specialty outside of their ‘home’ deanery/HEE local office. This only applies to OOPT posts. For OOPR applications credit will need to be sought by input from a JRCPTB specialist advisory committee (SAC) member.  Please see section 6.103 of the Gold Guide.  Whilst your deanery/HEE local office will still have their own application process in place; JRCPTB does not need to receive an OOP application if the post is on the approved GMC list which can be found here. If it is listed, please just email the JRCPTB the dates and location so that we may amend our records. 

These posts will automatically count towards training; progress will be assessed and confirmed at ARCP. The JRCPTB will not issue confirmation letters in this instance. The JRCPTB will only issue letters for OOP applications where credit is being sought from non GMC approved posts. 

Applying for credit for OOP

If you want time out of programme (OOP) to count towards the award of a CCT or a CESR via the Combined Programme (CESR CP) application type, the GMC must approve the post before it starts.

It is therefore essential that any request for training credit is submitted to JRCPTB for consideration at least 8 weeks prior to the start date. All OOP applications that request training credit must have approval by the relevant JRCPTB Specialist Advisory Committee (SAC) before the GMC can approve the post. Applications for OOP training credit that are submitted to us with less than 8 weeks notice will not be considered for training credit.

  • No credit can be awarded for an OOP without JRCPTB approval.
  • No credit can be awarded for OOP whilst in core medical training (i.e. CT1 or CT2)

Submitting an OOP application to JRCPTB

Download our out of programme application form below, then complete and submit this to OOP@jrcptb.org.uk along with your CV, deanery application form (see your deanery regarding this) and any other appropriate OOP information (eg job description, research proposal, clinical activity summary). Please ensure you provide the dates of any OOP in DD/MM/YY format.

File Out of programme application form.docx

OOP in final year of training

We strongly recommend that trainees do not undertake any OOP episodes in their final year of training. In some circumstances, this is unavoidable. In these cases it is mandatory that a Penultimate Year Assessment must have been conducted (or at least scheduled) before the OOP period commences.  If there is no PYA done prior to the OOP then no credit will be awarded for the OOP period.

Types of OOP

There are several different categories for OOP. For more detailed descriptions, please see the Gold Guide:

OOPR (Research)

In most medical specialties, research is highly recommended and relevant to a trainee's development as a physician. In some cases, this research can be credited towards the recommended training time for the trainee to achieve CCT.

Please note that decisions to award credit for a periods of research are based on the final judgement of the Specialist Advisory Committee (SAC) for the specialty concerned. However, it is suggested that the more clinical exposure they have, the more time could be allowed. A rough guideline would be;

  • Maximum overall 12 months credit – they will need to do regular weekly clinical sessions
  • 6 months credit - some significant clinical interaction
  • 3 months credit - no major clinical interaction...to take account of the transferable skills achieved

OOPT (Training)

Some physicians will get the opportunity to undertake a period of training outside of their regular training programme, whether in the UK or overseas. Every case is individual and will deliver different components of the curriculum competencies, which may be credited towards the recommended training time of the curriculum. This is a decision that will be made by the Specialist Advisory Committee.

OOP (Extension)

When credit has previously been awarded:

If an OOP is extended and credit has already been approved for the original application, additional credit can then be sought through a new OOP application.

When no credit has previously been awarded:

If an OOP is extended and no credit was originally requested, the extension will be classed as a new separate OOP application. In this instance, credit can be sought only if the post has new content.

When no credit is being sought:

If no credit is to be sought for an extension you will need to inform us so that we can amend your completion of training date on our records. 

All applications will need to be prospective and 8 weeks’ notice will need to be given.

OOPT (Acting up as consultant)

"Acting up" provides doctors coming towards the end of their specialty training to experience the transition from junior doctor to consultant while maintaining an element of supervision.

Although acting up often fulfils a genuine service requirement, it is not the same as being a locum consultant. Doctors in training who are acting up will be carrying out a consultant's tasks but with the understanding that they will have a named supervisor at the hosting hospital and that the designated supervisor will always be available for support, including out of hours or during on-call work. Doctors in training will need to follow the rules laid down by the Deanery/HEE local office within which they work and also follow the JRCPTB rules below.

  • The term 'acting up' and not locum must be applied
  • You do not need to seek approval from JRCPTB for a period of acting up 
  • Approval from the Postgraduate Dean/Deanery/HEE local office has been given for the appointment
  • Acting up attachments are restricted to the final year of higher specialist training
  • You must have a named supervisor in the hospital where you are attached. They need not necessarily belong to the same specialty but should be from a similar field of practice, and will be available to give advice on administrative, ethical or legal matters

For advice on Core Medical Trainees acting up as a Medical Registrar see our guidance below.

PDF icon Guidance on Core Medical Trainees acting up as a Medical Registrar.pdf

OOPE (Experience)*

These out of programme episodes are similar to either OOPR or OOPT but without the opportunity to credit the experience towards the recommended training time of the specialty curriculum. This may because the experience is not related to the curriculum on which trainees are aiming to complete, or in a specialty where no OOP credit is available.

Please note if no credit is to be sought, you will need to inform us so that we can amend the completion of training date on our records.  We do not provide letters of confirmation for this type of OOP.

OOPC (Career break/sick leave)*

There are various reasons for career breaks; eg parental leave, sick leave or exceptional leave. It is vital that these are discussed fully with the training programme director and/ or appropriate deanery/HEE local office representative. Any dates of OOPC must be communicated to the JRCPTB so that an accurate completion of training date is maintained, as any OOPC period over two weeks in duration may affect the completion of training date

As stated in the Gold Guide all arrangements should be made to look after the health and well-being of doctors by their employers. If trainees need longer than one month off from training owing to sick leave, the JRCPTB needs to be informed of the dates.

*The GMC published this statement in November 2012 confirming the removal of the automatic award of credit for time taken out of training. The new ruling came into effect on 1st April 2013.

Return to practice

We have published the following guidance for trainees and their supervisors on how to best manage their return to clinical practice following a period of absence.