Time Out of Foundation Programme (TOFP)

The following text is adapted from the Gold Guide.

Occasions where TOFP is granted to foundation doctors are likely to be exceptional given the length and nature of their training. The duration of TOFP will usually be 12 months to avoid foundation doctors becoming out of phase with the foundation programme. Foundation schools will typically only approve TOFP at the end of F1 so that the time out is taken between the end of F1 and the beginning of F2. Time out during F1 or F2 placements will only be considered in exceptional circumstances.

Foundation doctors who want to take time out of the foundation programme should first discuss this with their educational supervisor and Foundation Programme Director.

F1 doctors should be aware that the length of time doctors are allowed to hold provisional GMC registration is limited to a maximum of 3 years and 30 days. Further information can be found at GMC | Provisional Registration

Approval for TOFP must be granted by the trust Foundation Programme Director and the Head of Wessex Foundation School. Applications must be submitted to foundation.wx@hee.nhs.uk on a Time Out of Foundation Programme (TOFP) application form. 

The following conditions apply:

  • The duration of time out of a two-year foundation programme will usually be 12 months. TOFP during F1 or F2 placements will only be considered in exceptional (usually unplanned) circumstances. 
  • Applications for TOFP between F1 and F2 must be received by the the deadline of 18th February 2022, except in exceptional circumstances.
  • A trainee who takes TOFP is guaranteed an F2 post back within Wessex, but there is no guarantee that the F2 post will be in the original F1 Trust.
  • Foundation trainees must provide at least 6 months notice before the start date of their F2 year of their intention to return to the programme. If a trainee does not provide this notice there may not be an F2 training opportunity available on the date of their return.
  • Wessex Foundation School will contact trainees taking TOFP 6 months before they are due to return, in order to include them in the matching process for F2 posts.
  • Further guidelines for taking TOFP can be found in the the Gold Guide.