This guide is for those considering taking an OOP – please firstly familiarise yourself with deanery guidance on this topic, as most questions will be answered here (see links).

Below you will then find some answers to additional questions asked by trainees – note, this is to act as a guide and will not apply to everyone , so please clarify your personal circumstances with your HR department to check you are eligible.  





If you are on the 2015 pensions scheme your final pension is affected by your average annual earnings over your total working lifetime. Therefore, if you take time out service without an NHS salary your annual contribution for that year will be lower and so will your final pension. For personal circumstance please contact your employer and the BMA if you are member.

Maternity leave

To be eligible for maternity leave under the NHS scheme you must have 12 months continuous service with one or more NHS employers at the beginning of the 11th week before the expected week of childbirth. For junior doctors on the 2016 contract, time spent outside of NHS employment in an out of programme (OOP) placement approved by the postgraduate dean will be disregarded when assessing the 12-month continuous service requirement

If this does not apply to you time out training, a break in NHS employment of more than 3 months discontinues your continuous service. NHS employers include: health authorities, NHS boards, NHS trusts, and the Northern Ireland Health Service. The following breaks in service will also be disregarded (though not count as service):

  • employment under the terms of an honorary contract
  • employment as a locum in a GP setting for a period not exceeding 12 months
  • a period of up to 12 months spent abroad as part of a definite programme of postgraduate training on the advice of the postgraduate dean or college or faculty adviser in the specialty concerned
  • a period of voluntary service overseas with a recognised international relief organisation for a period of 12 months which may be exceptionally extended for 12 months at the discretion of the employer which recruits the employee on her return
  • absence on maternity leave (paid or unpaid) as provided for under this agreement


Sick leave

When you return to training, if you are unable to attend work due to illness, injury or other disability, you are entitled to a sick leave allowance based on your length of service:

  • During your first year: One month’s full pay and, if you’ve completed four months’ service, two months’ half pay.
  • During your second year: Two months’ full pay and two months’ half pay.
  • During your third year: Four months’ full pay and four months’ half pay.
  • During your fourth and fifth years: Five months’ full pay and five months’ half pay.
  • After completing five years of service: Six months’ full pay and six months’ half pay.

If you work outside the NHS for more than 12 months, you must start building up your sick pay allowances again from the beginning.



If you are out of programme, you still need to submit a form R and a copy of your OOP approval (and upload a current CV). You will be expected to have a yearly ARCP, contact your TPD if you have not received a date for your ARCP.

  • If you are on OOPT you will be assessed under the normal RCPCH assessment strategy and you need to submit the same evidence as if you were in a training post in programme.
  • If you are on OOPR or OOPE you need to submit a report from your supervisor/ someone you work closely with. You can download a supervisor report from from http://www.severndeanery.nhs.uk/about-us/revalidation/show/documents-and-guidance. You will then need to upload this to your portfolio under the documents section. If there are any changes to your plans (e.g. an extension), you will need to submit a supplementary application (using the relevant application form).
  • If on OOPC, you still need to submit your form R and will have an ARCP.


Returning to training

SuppoRTT is an deanery program to help you when returning work following a period of time out. When returning to training there are several services available to help your transition. This includes enhanced supervision, phased return with no on-call commitments for your first 10 days back, coaching and courses. Each hospital has a SuppoRTT champion and the team will be in contact with you before you return to training.


If you have any further questions or advice please leave a comment below!

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