Out of Programme

Out of Programme (OOP)

There are limitless opportunities for out-of-programme experience, either for research or for additional clinical experience. These can be for a year (or occasionally two), but require careful forward planning and need to fit in with the service needs of the region.

Subject to the formal agreement of the Dean, Specialty surgical registrars (StRs) and Specialist surgical registrars (SpRs) may take time out from structured training whilst retaining a National Training Number (NTN). Trainees will need to get formal approval from the Postgraduate Dean and discuss their plans with their Training Programme Director (TPD) and Educational Supervisor.

Periods out of programme may count towards the award of a Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT) – this should be discussed with the Specialty Training Committee (STC) Chair and the relevant college.

HEE recognises that trainees may wish to take a period of time Out of Programme (OOP) for one of a number of reasons. These can be categorised as follows:

  1. Time out of programme for approved clinical training in a post which already has prospective approval from the GMC (Out Of Programme Training – OOPT)
  2. Time out of programme for clinical experience in a post which will not count towards the award of a CCT (Out Of Programme Experience – OOPE)
  3. Time out of programme for research (Out Of Programme Research – OOPR )
  4. Time out of programme for career breaks (Out Of Programme Career – OOPC)

Full details of out of programme guidance can be found in sections 6.75 to 6.96 of the ‘Gold Guide’ 2014. This can be downloaded from the COPMeD website.

OOP Score Sheet

Please see below for the OOP Panel’s scoring sheet. The panel will use the scoring sheet when making a decision on your OOP application.

OOPE Score sheet

Alison Montogomery, Gaining independence in gynaecological and early pregnancy ultrasound-my OOPE to OOPR experience

During my ST4 year I decided I wanted to solely focus on scanning as an OOPE. The process requires a lot of planning. I had to give KSS six months’ notice, but most jobs were only advertised less than six months before starting so I needed permission for OOP before having a job! I had to research positions and their recruitment dates but KSS were very supportive when I did get a job, enabling me to start promptly.

My OOPE was at St. George’s in London and it enabled me to carry out more than 3,000 ultrasounds in 18 months. I completed my intermediate ultrasound modules, a postgraduate certificate in scanning and converted my OOPE into an OOPR. I am currently writing up my MD and have learnt a lot about research which has enabled me to develop further projects.

 St. George’s Hospital acute gynaecology and early pregnancy team.
The incredible St. George’s Hospital acute gynaecology and early pregnancy team.

Weiyu Zhang, My out of programme research experience in fetal medicine

I took my OOPR between ST5 and ST6 and thoroughly enjoyed my two-year experience in fetal medicine at Medway Hospital. My OOP gave me the opportunity to acquire skills in advanced obstetric scanning and I also gained valuable clinical skills such as performing cerclage.  I was heavily involved in setting up research projects and managing large databases as well as statistical analysis. I also had great opportunities to work with fetal medicine specialists, fetal cardiologists and maternal physicians in high risk pregnancy clinics.

I had an amazing experience and would highly recommend taking an OOPR if you have a keen interest in research and would like to pursue a higher academic degree. I would definitely recommend completing your membership exams prior to applying for OOP, this enabled me to focus on my research project during my time out of programme.