Key point: Communicate with your training programme director as early as possible (at least 6 months before) if you are considering applying for an OOPE, even if only provisional at that stage. This allows the school to plan ahead and give you conditional approval pending confirmation of your OOP plans.
What is OOP and what is it for?
Every paediatrician is different, and many will want to spend time doing things outside the programme during their time training for CCT. In order to stay part of the training programme while this is happening, trainees can apply for and may be offered Out of Programme time.
The overall purpose of OOP time is to enhance the readiness of trainees to be fulfilled, balanced and effective consultant paediatricians. There are many benefits to OOP time, but also some downsides, and this should be carefully discussed with your educational supervisor and TPD before applying.
OOP time is also discretionary – and the school is not under obligation to grant OOP time. This is especially relevant as HEE acknowledges that when a trainee moves OOP, this creates a rota gap and affects the training experience of the rest of the trainees at a site. This document outlines the principles and processes around OOP application and consideration.
The OOP panel consists of the Head and/or Deputy Head of School, TPD’s and a trainee representative who will review each application. They will come to a consensus on whether to approve, not approve or give “conditional” approval to the application. Often it is not clear for OOPR, OOPT and OOPE applications at time of submission that the trainee will be successful in the application for their prospective job or funding offer, and in this case the School is happy to grant “conditional” approval, subject to future information.
What are the different OOP types?
There are four different types of OOP’s that you are able to apply for which are:-
Experience related to training that is not available within the London programme, but is relevant for the trainees bespoke career aims and interests. It will not be granted for more time doing something that is already in the programme, for instance to improve chances at grid application. With posts that mix something different with a service role, it is expected that at least 40% of time (2 days/week) is devoted to the additional opportunity. Trainees will not normally be granted more than 12 months in their run through programme OOPE.
Accredited research time relevant to the career aims of the trainee. Again this should be discussed with the TPD before application, and is granted for specific projects. Normally the OOPR will be expected to lead towards a goal such as a PhD, MD etc. Research experience without such a goal is better suited to OOPE application.
Training experience that is to be counted towards the CCT and directly relevant to the CCT to be obtained, but not available within the programme. Examples might include overseas training, working in a different region for a period of time or changing role within a department, such as ‘acting up’. Again, this will normally be for a maximum of 12 months.
Although time on career breaks can be very useful for trainees, it is often better to go LTFT in order to find a sustainable lifestyle if the issue is other commitments or health issues limiting time at work.
I have already taken an OOP. Can I apply for another one?
Yes, however there are limits on how much time on OOP you can undertake.
OOPT is usually a year but can be extended in exceptional situations to two years and will not normally result in a delay to CCT date.
OOPE will normally be for one year in total, but exceptionally a second (non-concurrent) and very different OOPE may be granted. The approval of the PG dean is needed for a second year OOPE.
OOPR should not normally exceed three years but may be extended to 4 years with the prospective agreement of the Postgraduate Dean. This could be in addition to other OOP categories.
OOPC applications are considered on individual merits and are normally limited to two years. After this, the trainee would be asked to relinquish their number and reapply to the programme when the 'C' issue allows.
In total, 3 years of OOP is allowed, and exceptions to this will need to be approved by the postgraduate dean.
Can I take an OOP in an approved training site in London?
Yes….. but generally not, as OOPs have to be different to that within the programme. If an OOP is undertaken in a London site, there will need to be a minimum of 40% difference to a training post offered in the training programme. This will have to be clearly stated on the job description sent in with your application.
I’m due to start a GRID sub-specialty at the same time I wish to start and OOP. Am I able to do this?
Yes. You can take OOP at any time apart from the first and last years of the programme. It is usually a good idea to have completed MRCPCH before OOP and it is unlikely that OOP will be granted unless OOPC at this time, as experience has shown us this has made it difficult for trainees to progress well afterwards. If you are on grid, you will need to let the CSAC know about any changes in your plans.
Can I apply for an OOP outside of the rotation dates?
Some trainees are offered posts that they wish to take up as OOPEs that do not fit well with the September/March rotation dates. Taking these up is very messy for the trusts who were hosting the trainee, who will have a trainee for just a short time. So wherever possible, OOPs will follow the September/March pattern. Those where this really is not possible will be looked at on a case by case basis.
I wish to take an OOPC for 12 months. Am I able to do so?
Yes, however OOPC’s are only approved for 6 months at a time. It is possible to extend your OOPC for more than 6 months however you will be required to submit an OOPC extension form every 6 months for this to happen.
If you are extending your OOPC then you do not need a signature from an Educational Supervisor, but will still need a TPD signature for your application.
OOPC applications are considered on individual merits and are normally limited to two years
Submitting an application
Do I need to get the Post-Graduate Dean to sign my OOP form before submitting it?
No. The educational supervisor and TPD will need to sign the form and then it goes before the OOP panel. This sits at the cut off time, so late applications will not be looked at. Should the OOP panel review and approve your application, it will be signed off by the Post Graduate Dean or a representative. The completed form and your approval letter will then be sent to you by the operations team.
What do I need to have in order for my OOPT or OOPR count towards my training?
If you wish to have any time in your OOP count towards your training you will need to get this signed off by the Regional Advisor. You will need to submit to them your OOP application form and attach a blank RCPCH OOP approval form for them to complete and send back to you. This can be done before or after the OOP panel has met, however your OOP may be given a conditional offer with the stipulation that you need to get your OOP signed off to be approved.
The Regional Advisors are:
North London Dr Syed Mohinuddin firstname.lastname@example.org
South London Dr Charlotte Huddy email@example.com
If your OOP will be in a GMC approved training site, then approval from the GMC is not required.
If your OOP will not in a GMC approved training site, then approval from the GMC will be requested by the operations team on your behalf.
Where do I submit my OOP application?
All completed OOP applications must be submitted via the PGMDE support portal. The below link will take you straight to the query form that needs to be filled out with your completed form attached.
Please be aware that you must put “Paediatrics” as the specialty and “Out of programme” as the type of enquiry to ensure it comes through to the correct team.
What to submit to make an application
All of the application forms and up-to-date information can be found here: https://www.lpmde.ac.uk/training-programme/training-matters/out-of-programme
A. For OOPE / OOPC – (cannot count towards CCT) the following documentation must be returned to the Operations Department of Health Education South London:
1. OOP Application Form confirming support of Educational Supervisor and TPD/STC Chair.
2. Job Description (and Statement of the post or research timetable where applicable) or other relevant supporting documentation.
3. OOP Application Checklist completed and signed by the trainee
B. For OOPT / OOPR – (may count towards CCT where prospective GMC approval is obtained) the following documentation must be returned to the Operations Department of Health Education South London:
- OOP Application Form confirming support of Educational Supervisor and TPD/STC Chair.
- Job Description and Statement of the post/timetable
- Letter of confirmation from Royal College/Faculty that the post has College/Faculty Training Committee approval OR Letter of confirmation from the host institution / Deanery that the post has GMC approval.
- A statement detailing the purpose and structure of the OOPT or OOPR placement, including confirmation that the placement is subject to quality management in line with GMC requirements
- OOP Application Checklist completed and signed by the trainee
The letter from your Regional Advisor / Academic Regional Advisor (bullet point 3 above)
In order to make an application to the GMC for time to count towards training, the GMC ask that we submit a letter of support from your Regional Advisor, along with your OOP application form. For OOPR trainees wishing to count some of their research time, the GMC also ask for a letter of support from the Academic Regional Advisor.
Both Regional Advisor and Academic Regional Advisor letters must be on headed paper and contain the following information:
• Your full name
• You GMC number
• Whether this is an OOPT or an OOPR
• The location of your OOP
• The exact to and from dates of your OOP
• The amount of time your Regional Advisor is happy to support to count towards your training, in words.
The details in these support letters must be exactly the same as on your application form. Any discrepancies in information will cause a delay in processing your application.
How do I know my application has been received?
The operations team will confirm receipt of your application within 3 working days of submission. If you do not receive and email from the team letting you know your application has been received in this time, please call 02078663220 and ask for Luke in the Paediatrics team.
Criteria for assessing applications
To ensure consistency and transparency of application reviews, the following criteria will be used by the panel to assess the quality of each application. However, due to the variety of reasons for applying for time OOP, each application should be judged on a case-by-case basis:
• Application submitted within deadlines
• Clear objectives and learning goals
• Evidence of commitment to OOPE project
• Evidence of appropriate project planning
• Appropriate plans for supervision during time out
• Commitment to return to training number
• Unless clearly exceptional circumstances:
o Applicant should have completed ST1 before the start of the proposed OOP
o Applicant should be not less than 12m from the end of training
o There should be no concerns about the applicant’s progress through training i.e. the applicant should have achieved a satisfactory outcome at their last ARCP/RITA
• Contribution to specialty competencies as set out by RCPCH, especially those difficult to achieve in trainee’s particular rotation
• Contribution to personal development plan/career goals
• Contribution to society/global public good
• Benefit to paediatrics as a specialty
Post OOP panel
What will happen to my future training posts when applying for an OOP?
If your application is approved, then you will be removed from your future training posts. After your OOP you will have to undergo the matching process for when you return.
If your application is conditionally approved, you will have 2 weeks to let us know if you wish to withdraw your application. If after mid october/april you have not withdrawn your application, then you will be removed from your future training posts. Please not that if your application is unsuccessful after the OOP mop-up panel has occurred then there is likely to be little choice in where your next training post will be.
If your application is not approved, you will keep the training posts you have already been allocated.
Can I appeal the decision if my application is not approved?
Yes. In order to do so you will have to submit compelling evidence of why the original decision should be overturned. Any appeal evidence must be submitted a week before the mop-up panel. This will then be reviewed by the OOP mop-up panel in early november/early may for a final decision to be made.
If the placement/and or details of my OOP change, is it still approved?
No. You cannot move an OOP from project to project, as the OOP panel looks at the merits of the project on the application provided and approves the OOP on the basis of these details. While there is a little leeway, taking on a very different job/project is not possible.
My OOP was approved but the funding/job fell through. Am I able to reapply for a different OOP?
Unusually yes, but only if the different OOP is essentially the same as the first (approved) OOP. You will have to complete another form with details of your new OOP so it can be reviewed. Please keep your TPD informed of these changes.
After receiving my OOP approval letter and application, is there anything I need to do with them?
Yes. After receiving your approval letter and signed off application, please upload them to your documents on ePortfolio in a clear folder named with the type of your OOP and the start and end dates.
For example, “OOPT 02/09/2019 to 06/09/2020”
You will also need to update the training posts section of your ePortfolio to reflect that you’ll be on an OOP.
Does OOP affect my rights as an NHS employee?
When you go OOP, you go under the regulations and benefits of your new employing organisation. This may potentially have substantial impact on trainees. For instance, a trainee who goes on maternity leave when overseas or on OOPC will not get maternity benefits. All OOPs will count as a break in continuous NHS service, unless it is within the NHS.
While I am on OOP do I still need to undergo the ARCP process?
All trainees are required to be reviewed annually for revalidation purposes.
Trainees on OOPT will be assessed as per a clinical ARCP and should therefore submit everything outlined in the clinical ARCP checklist, along with a completed “OOP update form for ARCP” and Form R.
Trainees on OOPE and OOPR should also complete an “OOP update form for ARCP” which should be signed by their OOP supervisor in order to demonstrate adequate progress during the time OOP. This form is available on London School of Paediatrics website via the link provided in your invitation. An Enhanced Form R, Placement Pro Forma and Exams & Courses Pro Forma should also be provided.
Trainees on OOPR (research) should ensure they follow the Academic Trainees Checklist for ARCP. This checklist is available on the London School of Paediatrics website.
Trainees on OOPC should complete the relevant portions of an “OOP Update form for ARCP”, sign it & submit along with a Placement Pro Forma, Exams & Courses Pro Forma and Enhanced Form R. This is to confirm your continued registration on the programme. This form does not need to be signed by your Supervisor.
6th August-18th September – OOP application window open
30th September – OOP panel meets
14th October – Deadline to withdraw conditional offer
1st November – Deadline to submit conditional and appeal paperwork
8th November – OOP mop-up panel