Study Leave & Taster Days

Study Leave

Study leave for foundation doctors (FDs) is based on the broad principles of acquisition of the outcomes set out in the Foundation Curriculum and enabling foundation doctors to explore their future career options. Requests for leave should be viewed positively in most circumstances, while ensuring that the needs of service delivery can be safely met. The delivery of statutory and mandatory training remains the responsibility of the Trust. This also applies to courses that are deemed essential for the FD to perform their role in particular specialities, such as. radiology courses for FDs in A and E. The administration and approval of study leave remains the responsibility of the employing trust. Foundation TPDs are responsible for the approval in line with trust policies.  Doctors on specialised foundation programmes should be attending local academic study days.  

Foundation Year 1 (F1) 

F1 doctors are entitled to 15 days of study leave.  This is pro rata for FDs training less than full time (LTFT). Except for core and non-core teaching, all study leave requires a local study leave application. 

F1 study leave can be used for the following: 

– Core teaching programme (mandatory 30 hours/ 5 days) 

– Non-core teaching (mandatory 30 hours/5 days) 

– Can include additional core teaching, departmental teaching, simulation training, e-learning (up to 6 hours), Balint groups and Schwartz rounds 

– ALS/e-ALS (2 days) 

– UKFP National Foundation Doctors Presentation Day (if a presentation has been accepted, 1 day) 

– Presentation at a recognised conference 

– This is subject to ES/CS support and FPTD approval.  Funding can be applied for via the aspirational/discretionary route and needs the support of the foundation school director.  Any funding granted is ‘borrowed’ from the F2 year (so discretionary funding would not also be available then). 

– Taster Days 

– Up to 5 taster days can be arranged towards the end of the F1 year to support career exploration.  FDs should discuss career aspirations with their educational supervisor and document this on a Careers Planning form on Horus.  If the FD has fewer than 5 days of SL left they may ‘borrow’ days from their F2 entitlement.  There is no study leave funding. 

Foundation Year 2 (F2) 

F2 doctors are entitled to 30 days of study leave.  This is pro rata for both time and funding for doctors training LTFT. 

F2 study leave can be used for the following: 

Local core teaching programme (mandatory 30 hours/ 5 days) 

Non-core teaching (mandatory 30 hours/5 days).

Can include additional core teaching, departmental teaching, simulation training, e-learning (up to 6 hours), Balint groups and Schwartz rounds 

ALS/e-ALS (2 days) 

UKFP National Foundation Doctors Presentation Day (if a presentation has been accepted, 1 day) 

A single ‘optional’ course to support careers exploration.  The course should be selected from the specialty study leave lists following discussion with the educational supervisor.  Approval for leave and funding must be obtained locally 

Taster Days Up to 5 days. FDs should discuss career aspirations with their educational supervisor and document this on a Careers Planning form on Horus. There is no study leave funding. 

Presentation at a recognised conference This is subject to ES/CS support and FPTD approval.  Funding can be applied for via the aspirational/discretionary route, and needs the support of the foundation school director.   

Doctors on specialised foundation programmes can also apply for discretionary funding for a single PGCert module up to the current agreed maximum.  Approval must be obtained from the foundation school director. 

Specialty examinations (time only) Study leave should not be used to prepare for specialty examinations, but study leave time only can be used for the actual examination sitting. 

Taster days/weeks

Tasters provide an opportunity to experience a specialty not included in a two-year foundation programme, and thereby develop understanding of that specialty to inform career choices.

Tasters can also benefit those who have already made career decisions as it suggests to employers that they are dedicated and committed to their chosen specialty.

During a taster you will have the opportunity to shadow clinicians working in that specialty and discuss their experience and potential career pathways.  They can also advise on transferable skills to help you gain entry to that specialty – you don’t always need specific specialty experience during your foundation training.

We encourage all FDs to arrange a taster during their first F2 rotation, so that they have completed it before the recruitment process to specialty training programmes which usually starts in November of the F2 year.

It is also possible for F1s to “borrow” up to 5 days of their F2 study leave to use for a taster during the second half of their F1 year, if a satisfactory TAB (Team Assessment of Behaviour) and PSG (Placement Supervision Group) feedback summary has been completed. 

Your local foundation team will be able to advise about contacts who could help you arrange tasters in different specialties. 

If you are interested in a tertiary specialty not available locally, it may be possible to arrange this at a nearby centre. This centre may request you to arrange an honorary contract; if they ask for any fee for this please let the KSS FS know.

The KSS FS is not able to support tasters being taken overseas.