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Taking time out of training is a fantastic way of gaining additional skills and experiences that can't be achieved within the confines of the training programme. From research, to clinical fellowships, to travelling across the world there are lots of opportunities to explore out of programme (OOP). 

There are 5 different categories of OOP:

1. OOP for Clinical Training (OOPT): Allows the trainee to spend time in clinical training that is outside the usual specialty training programme and is approved prospectively by the GMC

  • duration normally up to 12 months

  • includes 'acting-up' as consultant which is limited to 3 months and takes place in final year of training 

  • all durations pro rata for LTFT trainees

  • time spent OOPT may be counted towards CCT

2. OOP for Clinical Research (OOPR): Allows the trainee to undertake research usually working towards a further degree

  • duration normally up to a maximum of 3 years, 4-year maximum in exception circumstances requiring Postgraduate Dean approval 

  • time spent OOPR can be recognised towards CCT if curriculum includes research as optional element

3. OOP for Clinical Experience (OOPE): Allows the trainee to gain clinical experience which isn't required by their training programme

  • duration normally up to 12 months

  • does not require GMC approval

  • does not count toward CCT

4. OOP for Career Break (OOPC): Allows a planned career break to pursue other interests

  • duration normally up to 12 months, with a second year at discretion of Postgraduate Dean

  • not intended for personal health reasons which should be be managed in the first instance with Lead Employer occupational health services, LTFT or statutory leave for illness

  • does not count toward CCT

5. OOP Pause (OOPP): This allows trainees to step off the training ladder and undertake work within the NHS or similar patient facing role

  • duration normally up to 12 months 

  • does not count toward CCT

Trainees must give a minimum of 6 months notice of their intention to undertake time out of training. It is advisable to discuss early with your educational supervisor and training programme director. 

The full process for applying for time out of programme can be found on the deanery website, but is summarised here.


Full details on eligibility criteria are available via the GMC Gold Guide (9th edition).

OOP can be applied for if:

  1. A trainee has been in post for one year

  2. A trainee has demonstrated sufficient progress at ARCP with no unmet objectives identified

  3. Prospective notice (minimum 6 months) is provided

Application Process

Paediatric trainees must first meet eligibility criteria (see above).

Following this they must:

  1. Discuss OOP with Educational Supervisor and TPD prior to submitting application

  2. TPD must provide a statement as to whether they support the proposed application which must be attached to application

    • If OOPR (Research) is being applied for, the research supervisor must outline programme of research and associated funding

  3. If supported, trainee must inform clinical department of intended OOP start/finish date

  4. Apply for OOP by completing application form and submit to Programme Support Manager (PSM) for School at least 6 months' in advance of proposed start date

  5. Applications will be reviewed by Associate Dean for the School/Postgraduate Dean

  6. If approved, HEE-NW will process this and submit this to the GMC for approval

  7. Final approval is subject to obtaining an ARCP outcome that does not require further development

Application Flowcharts by OOP Type

  1. OOP Training

  2. OOP Research

  3. OOP Experience

  4. OOP Career Break

  5. OOP Pause

Useful Forms/Links

  1. List of Deanery School of Paediatrics Contacts

  2. OOP Application Form

  3. HEE North West OOP Guidance

  4. GMC OOP Guidance

  5. OOP Pause-Specific Guidance and FAQ

  6. Tier 2 Visa Guidance to OOP and FAQ

Types of OOP
How to Apply
Useful Forms
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