Study Leave

HEE Wessex is committed to supporting medical and dental trainees in undertaking study leave activities to achieve their specialty curriculum and support professional development.

Study leave budget will cover:

  • Courses/education activities to support trainees to achieve the curriculum
  • Courses to help trainees prepare for postgraduate exams
  • Discretionary courses that add value to trainees individually and support the wider system

Examples of courses that ‘add value’ to the individual trainee are:

  • Quality improvement workshops
  • Medical or leadership/management courses
  • Healthcare technology and innovation workshops
  • Presenting at scientific conferences (based in the UK)

Study leave budgets do not cover:

  • Royal College membership and e-portfolio fees
  • Postgraduate exam fees
  • Any statutory or mandatory training required to fulfil your clinical role (this should be provided by your NHS Trust)

Please read the following before applying for study leave:

Applying for Study Leave in Wessex

Changes to Study Leave (SL) in England came into force in April 2018 as a response to concerns expressed by junior doctors about the high financial costs of some of their training, and the inequities of the old system. The allocated individual study-leave budget system was replaced with one that funded the following:  

•       all elements of curriculum delivery for all trainees on approved secondary care sector training programmes including Trust funded posts.   

•       Discretionary/aspirational courses that add value to the individual and support the wider system. (We have opted in Wessex to support courses on generic subjects that offer benefit to the NHS, such as Quality Improvement, Medical Education or Leadership and Management). In Wessex we ask that doctors book locally run courses in the first instance. 

The Wessex Professional Development Unit (PDU) run courses on a wide variety of topics including teaching, exam and interview preparation, and leadership and management skills. These should be the first choice for Wessex trainees as they are of high quality and represent good value for money. Funding for equivalent external courses may be approved on exceptional grounds e.g. if local courses are heavily oversubscribed over a long period. Any external courses must have approval from the HEE Wessex study leave team.

The Study Leave Application Process

(1) The study leave application process should be completed at least 6 weeks before the study leave event. Retrospective applications will not be processed or paid.

(2) You should discuss any study leave courses/activities with your Educational Supervisor in advance of your application.

(3) All applications for study leave must be made in advance, and follow the local process for applying for educational approval and time off for study leave activities in your employing Trust.

(4) You will need to provide details of the activity and a breakdown of the total costs associated with the activity (i.e. including fees, travel and accommodation).

(5) Approval for the time off for study leave must be approved by your Rota Coordinator (or equivalent).

(6) There are two routes to obtaining approval:

(a) If the activity is BOTH on the Approved List for your School/Programme AND the total associated costs (including event fees, travel and accommodation) are £750 or less then HEE does not need to be involved in the approval decision.

(b) For anything else, as a general rule, you will need to obtain written (email) approval from the TPD / FPD / GP Patch AD Office for any activity before forwarding the details of your request and associated costs to the HEE Wessex Study Leave Team for final review and approval. Once you have the necessary approvals from your employer and TPD / FPD / GP Patch AD Office (where necessary) please email studyleave.wx@hee.nhs.uk with details of the activity, a breakdown of the costs and evidence of written confirmation of these approvals.

(7) It is advised that you wait until you have completed the full online approval process (including HEE Wessex approval for requests over £750.00 and/or not on the approved list) before booking the study leave activity.  If you pay for an activity before the approval process is complete, and the request is declined, you will not be reimbursed for any costs incurred.

(8) Having obtained the necessary approvals, you must apply for your study leave formally within your Trust using the online ‘Accent Leave Manager’ online system (more details below).

(9) You should reclaim any study leave expenses from your employing Trust after you have attended the event, in accordance with their local process. Please read the study leave travel and subsistence guide.

(10) Claims must be submitted no later than 3 months after the event, in line with NHS terms and conditions for staff expenses. Any claims received after this deadline will not be paid.

International Study Leave   

HEE have updated the guidance for attending study leave events outside of the UK. International study leave falls into two categories:   

(1)  Curricular – Attending courses/events outside of the UK to meet curricular requirements. This will only be considered in exceptional circumstances and when the curricular requirements cannot be met by attending a similar opportunity in the UK.   

The approvals process for such exceptional requests is different, requiring a documented discussion with your Educational Supervisor about the clear need of attendance at the international event (to meet curriculum requirements) and approval by the Training Programme Director and by the Associate Dean for Study Leave.  

(2) Aspirational – Study leave that enhances the knowledge, skills and attitudes of the doctor in training, or enhances any aspect of patient care, but is not mapped to any direct curriculum requirements.   

For these special aspirational circumstances, it has been agreed that one international conference or meeting may be approved for each doctor in training for any one programme, which can be defined as Foundation, Core or Higher. Up to two events may be considered for longer run through training programmes (e.g. Paediatrics and Obstetrics & Gynaecology). International study leave will only be considered if:  

•       You have attained your core curriculum competencies and received an ARCP outcome 1.  

•       It is demonstrated that the event links to your relevant specialty curriculum.  

•       For conferences, you must be presenting a poster or oral presentation.  

•       For Foundation Year 2 doctors any international study leave would be considered as part of the one career development activity that has been agreed in Wessex.  

Attendance may be part-funded – reflecting both HEE’s and your commitment to your development. A maximum of £1000.00 may be provided to support the conference/course fee or travel and accommodation costs (in line with local deanery guidance for claiming expenses) whichever is the lower amount. Claims must not exceed £1000.00.   

Approval for attendance at international events (any event outside of the UK) must be approved by your Educational Supervisor, Training Programme Director and the Associate Dean for Study Leave at HEE Wessex. Please email studyleave.wx@hee.nhs.uk providing details of the event, costs and copies of relevant communications with your ES and TPD.   

Any international study leave claims that have not been pre-approved by the Deanery will not be reimbursed.    

Accommodation Costs for Study Leave   

Doctors in training can claim the amounts detailed below for overnight accommodation costs. Overnight accommodation expenses will only be granted if you are travelling from a base destination more than 100 miles from the venue, or if the course runs longer than one day.   

Accommodation costs to be covered by HEE Wessex will be limited to the duration of the event plus one night, either before or after the event dates. Trainees must demonstrate value for money and book the lowest priced accommodation available (we recommend obtaining three quotes).  

Allowance: Overnight allowance (commercial – e.g. B & B/Hotel)

Cost:

– For overnight accommodation within London, the overnight rate should not exceed £150 per night.

– For overnight accommodation outside of London, the overnight rate should not exceed £120 per night.

Postgraduate courses   

It has been agreed that doctors who wish to undertake the Postgraduate Certificate in Medical Education may be able claim up to a maximum of £1000.00 towards the total cost of the course fees – in agreement with your Educational Supervisor and Training Programme Director. You will also need Deanery approval for the costs – please email studyleave.wx@hee.nhs.uk providing details of the course fees and copies of relevant communications.   

Exam preparation courses  

The cost of one preparation/revision course per exam can be funded from the study leave budget for core and speciality trainees. Any additional exam preparation courses for the same exam will not be covered and you will need to fund these yourself. All trainees are expected to attend locally provided courses. External or commercially run courses will only be funded if no local course is offered – it is expected that the least expensive courses will be selected.   

Additional courses in the event of exam failure may be supported with approval from your Educational Supervisor who may wish to consider a referral to the Professional Support Unit for additional exam support.  

Please consult the A-Z list below for additional guidance and common topics:

Study Leave A – Z    

If you have any questions about study leave in Wessex, please email studyleave.wx@hee.nhs.

Approved Study Leave by School

The list of approved study leave activities for each school is here

Wessex Foundation School Guidance

Foundation doctors should also read the Wessex Foundation School Study Leave Guidance.

Travel & Subsistence Guide

This section contains information for doctors in post-graduate training posts on how to claim back their travel and/or subsistence expenditure incurred whilst participating in an approved study leave event. Please note that retrospective applications will not be paid – all study leave must be applied for in advance.   

Please read these notes carefully before booking travel or accommodation:  

Original receipts should accompany every claim form to verify the authenticity of all expenditure detailed upon it. Claims should be submitted no later than 3 months after the event. Any claims received after the deadline will not be paid.  

HEE Wessex expects travel to be on the date the event is scheduled if the venue is less than one hundred miles ‘door to door’ each way and will not pay accommodation costs if you chose to travel on different dates.  

Travel:   

You must use the most cost effective transport means possible. HEE Wessex reserves the right to only reimburse the cost of the cheapest fare.   

By Car: Candidates will be paid at public transport rate of 28p per mile (or a subsequently revised mileage reserve rate as described in schedule 17 of the T&Cs for doctors in training, last revised 2016). The shortest practicable route should be taken and car parking fees will be reimbursed on production of receipts.  Mileage should be calculated from the doctor’s principal place of work to the event and back. Only mileage in excess of a doctor’s usual daily commute is eligible for reimbursement.

By Rail: Supersavers and standard class rail fares only. The most cost effective fare must be sought. If possible, doctors should purchase tickets in advance to ensure this. Receipts for rail travel must include the date of travel and the start and finish locations. Credit card receipts are not sufficient.  

By Taxi: Expenses will be reimbursed for short journeys only such as from the nearest train station to the venue where public transport is not practical, e.g. time of day. A receipt will be required.  

By Air: Payment for travel by air must not exceed the total cost of travelling by public transport.  

Overnight accommodation   

Trainees can claim the amounts detailed below for overnight accommodation costs. Overnight accommodation expenses will only be granted if you are travelling from a base destination more than 100 miles from the venue, or if the course runs longer than one day and the round trip exceeds 100 miles. 

Accommodation costs to be covered by HEE Wessex will be limited to the duration of the event plus one night, either before or after the event dates. Trainees must demonstrate value for money and book the lowest priced accommodation available (we recommend obtaining three quotes).  

Overnight costs will be reimbursed as follows:   

Allowance    

For overnight accommodation within London, the overnight rate should not exceed £150 per night.   

For overnight accommodation outside of London, the overnight rate should not exceed £120 per night.   

Subsistence  

For study leave confined to a single day, refreshments and meals are normally included in the event fee.   

In the case of a residential event there is an Evening Meal allowance of £15.00 per day. ‘Gala’ dinners at additional expense are not covered by the Study Leave budget  

No payment will be made for alcoholic beverages under any circumstances.  

Receipts must be provided for all expenses otherwise your claim will not be processed. Receipts and certificate of attendance for the study leave activity should be attached individually to the expenses claim software used by your employing organisation.   

Doctors are advised to keep a copy of the form and receipts they submit in case of problem or a query with payment.  

Study Leave A – Z
Accent Leave Manager – Accent, Approvals and Issues

Users will require a login and password for Accent Leave Manager, and only doctors in Wessex programmes will be given access.  Please email IMSupport.South@hee.nhs.uk if you do not have a login or password, or have forgotten them, or have any issues with approvers recorded for you on Accent.  If your placement details are incorrect on Accent please contact your HEE Wessex Programme Team

Please be aware that Internet Explorer is not supported and does not work for Accent. You should therefore use Chrome, Edge, Safari or an alternative up-to-date browser. 

Approvals within Accent:  Your colleagues in your Trust will complete the necessary approvals for your request in the Accent system, not HEE Wessex, and it is your Trust’s Study Leave Administrators who will approve or decline your request in the Accent system.  Please contact them if you have any queries regarding the progression of your application once it is within the Accent system.