Time out of Foundation Programme Policy
According to the Reference Guide for Foundation Training (2016), there are a number of circumstances in which trainees are entitled to take time out of foundation programme (TOFP). Foundation Schools are required to have procedures to manage requests for TOFP.
Except in unusual and individual circumstances, TOFP will usually relate to time out after F1 and prior to starting F2. This will usually be because a trainee:
- wants to go abroad to work
- wants to go abroad to travel
- has domestic reasons
- has health reasons
- has personal reasons
Trainees should not be compelled to complete their Foundation Programme as quickly as possible if they have good reasons for wishing to take time out.
Whilst this policy does not cover trainees going on maternity leave, such trainees are asked to complete the Time Out of Programme form so that a record of their leave can be held at Foundation School level. Trainees must follow their employer’s guidelines in respect of maternity leave.
In addition to the permitted annual leave and study leave entitlements, trainees may require unplanned leave from a programme that does not come under a formal request for time out. Where this leave exceeds 20 days in the F1 or F2 year, a trainee will usually be required to spend an appropriate period of additional time training in order to complete the programme. This is to fulfil the criteria that the maximum permitted absence from training (other than annual leave) during each F1 and F2 year is 20 days (Reference Guide, 2012, section 10, Table 1 and section 11, Table 1). Please also see document ‘Absence from training
Time out of a two-year Foundation Programme will usually only be agreed for a one-year period and not for parts thereof.
Time out during F1 or F2 placements will only be considered in exceptional (usually unplanned) circumstances that cannot be managed under existing employer policies. Such exceptional circumstances may, for example, include health reasons.
Trainees who take time out of programme where statutory employment rights are involved will continue to have full entitlement to those rights.
If one year out of programme is agreed between F1 and F2, the trainee will have, in principle, the right to return to their Foundation Training Programme after that year is over, assuming that the model of foundation training is still in operation. They will be required to participate fully in the F2 allocation process according to the timetable set for the year prior to restarting their programme or to apply competitively within any new training system that has replaced foundation training.
If a trainee’s request for time out has been agreed, but their plans/arrangements change, the Foundation School will attempt to identify an appropriate training opportunity at short notice but cannot guarantee to do so.
Trainees must inform the Head of Peninsula Foundation School of their intention to return to the programme by the end of January in the year they will start their F2 programme. Failure to take this positive action of returning the request document by the required date will mean that the trainee will not have a guaranteed F2 training opportunity within the School on their return. Under these circumstances, the returning trainee would need to apply for an F2 appointment in open competition.
A trainee may choose to withdraw permanently from a Foundation Training Programme although, before so doing, they should receive careers counselling from an appropriate source, for example, the Peninsula Careers Team, and careful counselling and advice from their educational supervisor, Trust Foundation Programme Director or Head of Peninsula Foundation School. Any trainee choosing to withdraw permanently from the programme should complete the School’s Withdrawal Form.
A doctor who has applied for a F2 allocation in their original Foundation Training Programme or School will be expected to take it up and must not withdraw from it unless there is clear agreement from the Head of Foundation School to do so. The doctor will be expected to conform to contractual obligations regarding notification of resignation as laid down in national terms and conditions of service. Foundation trainees need to be aware of the GMC strictures relating to accepting posts and then refusing them, without time for adequate arrangements to be made to meet patient and service needs (Good Medical Practice (2013), paragraph 38).
Trainees who want time out of their Foundation Programme should, in the first instance, discuss this with their educational supervisor and trust Foundation Programme Director.
If, after discussion, a doctor decides to go ahead with their request to take time out, then the trainee should complete a TOFP proforma. This should be sent to the Foundation School Manager. The deadline for receipt of applications will be advertised on the website but will usually be in November of the F1 year. This deadline must be adhered to unless there are extenuating circumstances e.g. new health/personal reasons.
Receipt of the TOFP will be acknowledged within 5 working days.
A decision will be made within 15 working days of the annual deadline or receipt of application for applications made after the deadline, unless further information is required. In such cases, the applicant will be advised as to when a decision can be expected.
An applicant has the right of appeal against the decision.
Time out of Foundation Programme (TOFP): Process