Out of Programme Training


There are a number of circumstances when a trainee may seek to spend some time out of the specialty training programme to which they have been appointed.  The School recognises the value of OOPs, encouraging and supporting trainees to take appropriate and relevant OOP time, within the rules set by the Royal College of Anaesthetists and PMETB. 


Time out of programme (OOP) is not considered in CT 1 & 2, or ST 3 & 4.  If you are ST 5 onwards and are considering a period of OOP, you MUST discuss any future plans with the Training Programme Director.  The 2010 Curriculum requires advanced training in the ST 7 year which may well be available as part of the training programme, but if not, can be arranged as an OOPT period.


All OOP requests need to be agreed by Dr A Wantman, Training Programme Director (TPD) and Dr C Sadler, Regional Advisor (RA), before being forwarded to and authorised by Postgraduate Dean.


It is therefore imperative that trainees discuss their proposals with the TPD a minimum of six months in advance of their intended OOP start date.


The purpose of taking time out of a specialty training programme is to support the trainee:


  • In undertaking PMETB prospectively approved clinical training which is not a part of the trainee’s specialty training programme (OOPT)


  • In gaining clinical experience which is not approved by PMETB (PMETB approval is not required where such experience is not a requirement of the curriculum) but which may benefit the doctor (e.g. working in a different health environment/country) or help support the health needs of other countries (e. g. Médecins Sans Frontières, Voluntary Service Overseas, supporting global heath partnerships)  (OOPE) 


  • In undertaking a period of research (OOPR)


  • In taking a planned career break from the specialty training programme (OOPC)





























Time out of programme for research (OOPR)


Trainees should be encouraged and facilitated to undertake research where they have an interest in doing so.  Provided there is a clinical element to the programme, up to one year of research can be counted towards the CCT/CESR.  If there is no clinical element to the research programme, a maximum of six months only will count. Where the trainee is working towards a higher degree, e.g. PhD, MD or Master’s Degree they can take a maximum of three years OOPR, with approval of the Training Programme Director, Regional Advisor and Postgraduate Dean.

























Step 1:


Email your Training Programme Director (TPD) AND Anaesthetics Training Co-ordinator (Lucy Hamer) with details of your plans / wishes / hopes and dreams.  Please provide as much information that is possible at this stage.  If you wish to make an appointment with the TPD to discuss your plans in detail then please arrange this through the Anaesthetics Training Co-ordinator.


If you do not request an appointment but it is felt that your plans need to be discussed further, a mutually agreed appointment will be arranged.


Step 2:


Prepare and submit all paperwork to the Anaesthetics Training Co-ordinator for authorisation by the TPD and RA.


Paperwork required for ALL (OOPE, OOPC, OOPT & OOPR) OOP Applications:




  • Job description on hospital headed paper or details of the research project


 Additional paperwork required for OOPT / OOPR


For ALL OOPT / OOPR applications:



  • The objectives of the training, mapped against the appropriate units of ‘The CCT in Anaesthesia’ AND;


  • A personal statement from the trainee of the specific objectives to be achieved.


For OOPT / OOPR applications outside of the UK


  • A statement from the competent authoritys in the country concerned e.g. Training Board, College or Faculty, confirming that the hospital is approved for training and detailing supervision arrangements


  • If no clear competent authority, or applicant planning to work with non-governmental organisation/operational deployment with the Defence Medical Services, please seek advice from the RCoA Training Department before making any formal commitments.


For OOPT / OOPR applications in the UK


  • A statement from the hospital/university department confirming that the post will be covered by the same arrangements for study leave and supervision that apply to trainees in GMC approved posts.


Step 3:


Once the forms have been approved and signed by the RA and TPD, the Anaesthetics Training Co-ordinator will forward all the forms and supporting documentation to the RCoA and Shared Services, in line with their submission deadlines.


Step 4:


Once your application has been received by the College and HENCEL, they will seek approval from the relevant bodies and then write / email you directly with their decision. 


Please ensure that any correspondence in relation to your application is copied to the Anaesthetics Training Co-ordinator.           


Out of programme must be planned / organised in line with the School, Health Education North Central and East London (HENCEL) and GMC out of programme application submission deadlines, at all times (see examples below).


Taking time out of programme should coincide with the ‘click’ dates.  If you are unable to leave and return on a ‘click’ date you may be required to take an OOPC either side of the planned OOPE, OOPT or OOPR.

Time out of programme for approved clinical training (OOPT)

PMETB must prospectively approve the clinical training if it is to be counted towards CCT. 

This will include, for example, undertaking an approved training post in a different training programme in

the UK, but could also include overseas posts which have prospective training approval.  


OOPT will normally be for a period of one year in total but exceptionally, can be up to two years.  


Trainees may seek agreement for out of programme time to undertake clinical experience which has not been approved by PMETB and which will not contribute to award of a CCT. 


The purpose of this is to:


  • Enhance clinical experience for the individual so that they may experience different working practices or gain specific experience in an area of practice and/or


  • To support the recommendations in Global health partnerships: the UK contribution to health in developing countries (2007).


OOPEs will normally be for one year in total, but can be extended for up to two years with the agreement of the Programme Director, Regional Advisor and Postgraduate Dean.

Time out of programme for clinical experience (OOPE)

Time out of programme for career breaks (OOPC)

Requests for career breaks are considered.


A planned OOPC will permit a trainee to:


  • Step out of the training programme for a designated and agreed period of time to pursue other interests, e.g. domestic responsibilities, work in industry, developing talents in other areas


  • Take a career break to deal with a period of ill health, secure in the knowledge that they can re-join the training scheme when they are well enough to continue.


OOPC has to be exceptional circumstances – not learning to windsurf in the Caribbean!

The process for arranging time Out of Programme (OOP)