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 or associated expenses
  • Any statutory or mandatory training required to fulfil your clinical role (this should be provided by your NHS Trust)

Please read the following documents before applying for study leave:

Wessex Study Leave Guidance

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 trainees 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.

1.  Applying for Study Leave in Wessex  

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

•       All applications for study leave must be made in advance to your employing Trust.   

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

•       Applications for study leave should be submitted at least 6 weeks before the study leave event and not applied for retrospectively. 

•       You must apply for your study leave using the online ‘Accent Leave Manager’ system.  

•       Any study leave activity that exceeds £750.00 or any event outside of the UK (international study leave) will need the approval of the Wessex Deanery and your Training Programme Director. Please email studyleave.wx@hee.nhs.uk with details of the activity, a breakdown of the costs and attach confirmation of the approval from your Training Programme Director.   

•       It is advised that you book and pay the study leave activity once the online approval process has been completed (including Deanery level approval for requests over £750.00 or international study leave). 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.   

•       You can 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.

•       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.   

2.  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 or Training Programme Director about the clear need of attendance at the international event (to meet curriculum requirements) and approval 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 trainees 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 cheaper. 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.    

3.  Accommodation Costs for Study Leave   

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.   

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.

4.  Postgraduate courses   

It has been agreed that trainees 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.   

5.    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.      

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

Frequently Asked Questions

1.  I’m a trainee in Wessex, how do I apply for study leave?  

You need to apply for your study leave in advance via the online Intrepid Leave Manager system. You need to apply for the time off and for any costs to be approved. You must apply for study leave at least 6 weeks in advance of the event. You cannot apply for study leave retrospectively.  

If the event is outside of the UK, or if the costs for the event exceed £750.00, you will need approval from HEE Wessex (Deanery). Please email studyleave.wx@hee.nhs.uk with details of the activity, a breakdown of the costs and confirmation of the approval from your Educational Supervisor/Training Programme Director.

2.  I don’t have a log-in for intrepid Leave Manager, how do I get one?

You need to contact IMSupport.South@hee.nhs.ukto request a log-in or to reset your password. 

3.  How many days of study leave an I entitled to?

Foundation Year 1 trainees have an allowance of 15 days per year. This will normally take the form of regular scheduled teaching/training sessions and no external leave will be granted.  

All other doctors in training have an allocation of 30 days per year and this includes periods of regular scheduled teaching/training sessions (normally 15-20 days depending on the speciality) and may include external activities and periods of sitting an examination (where it is a requirement of the curriculum).

Study leave days will be prorated for less than full time trainees. 

4.  How do I reclaim any costs incurred for study leave?

You need to claim any costs incurred from your employing Trust, following their local process, after you have attended the study leave activity. To claim any costs you need to have applied for the study leave via Intrepid Leave Manager and have prior approval for the costs that you are claiming.  

Please read the Wessex study leave travel and subsistence guide for claiming costs. 

5.  Is there an upper limit to the amount of funding I can apply for?

The new study budget process means that there is no personal budgetary limit on the amount that can be claimed for essential courses that support you achieving the curriculum for your speciality.  

Discuss any courses/educational activities that you would like to attend with your ES/TPD and they will be able to advise and support your application if it is appropriate. Please ensure that you have completed all your statutory and mandatory training.

You must always consider attending a local Wessex course and demonstrate clear reasons why you need to attend an activity outside of Wessex. 

There are limits to the amount that can be supported for ‘aspirational’ study leave activities, such as events that take place outside of the UK and postgraduate study.  

Events outside of the UK will only be part-funded and HEE Wessex will support the cost of the course/conference OR travel/accommodation costs up to a maximum of £1000. You must have approval from your ES, TPD and HEE Wessex to attend any overseas event. Please email studyleave.wx@hee.nhs.ukwith details of the activity, a breakdown of the costs and confirmation of the approval from your Educational Supervisor/Training Programme Director.

HEE Wessex are supportive of postgraduate study, such as the postgraduate diploma in Medical Education. Applications for postgraduate study will be considered on an individual basis and must have the support of your Training Programme Director and Head of School. The maximum amount that can be supported is £1000 as a contribution towards course fees and travel.  

6.      The study leave activity exceeds £750.00, how do I get approval for the costs?  

You will need the approval of your Educational Supervisor, Training Programme Director and HEE Wessex to attend an event that exceeds £750.00.  

Please email studyleave.wx@hee.nhs.uk with details of the activity, a breakdown of the costs and confirmation of the approval from your Educational Supervisor/Training Programme Director.  

You still need to apply for the time off and costs in advance via Intrepid Leave Manager. 

7.      Can I attend a conference or course outside of the UK?

From August 2019 it has been agreed that trainees can attend one international study leave event during each programme (Foundation, Core Training, run through programmes and higher training).  

Up to two events may be considered for longer run through training programmes (e.g. Paediatrics and Obstetrics & Gynaecology) or every three years.  

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 speciality curriculum.

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

Foundation Year 2 trainees may wish to consider attending an international conference/event as part of their one career development activity – but this would mean any additional activities to support career development would not be funded. Please read the Wessex Study Leave Guidance for Foundation Trainees that provides detailed information about study leave for FY2 trainees.  

Events outside of the UK will only be part-funded and HEE Wessex will support the cost of the course/conference OR travel/accommodation costs up to a maximum of £1000

8.      Can I claim for travel expenses associated with attending a study leave event?

Yes, reasonable travel costs can be claimed for an approved study leave activity. Please see the Wessex study leave travel and subsistence guide for further details.  

9.      What are the rules for claiming accommodation costs?

Accommodation costs will be reimbursed for activities that run over more than one day and the event location is over 100 miles from your home base. HEE expects that trainees will look for competitively priced accommodation and value for money hotels such as Premier Inns and Travel Lodges. 

Trainees can claim the following amounts for overnight accommodation costs:

•       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.

10.  I am currently out of programme on a formal OOP (OOPC, OOPR, OOPE). Can I claim study budget? 

No, trainees that are on an OOP for Research, Career Break or Experience are not eligible to apply for study leave 

Trainees on an OOPT will only be approved and funded where there is clear evidence linking the application to the specific curriculum requirement for the trainee’s individual specialty.

11.  Can I claim travel costs for travelling to an ARCP from the study leave budget? 

No, travel costs incurred when attending your ARCP should be claimed through your normal Trust expenses scheme.  

12.  I’m in my Period of Grace – am I eligible to apply for study leave?

Trainees in their Period of Grace are not eligible for study leave funding. Once training has been completed any further professional development, skill, or knowledge acquisition during this period of time should be considered as continuous professional development (CPD).

13.  A course does not require funding but requires time off. How do I apply for this?

You still need to apply for the time off via Intrepid Leave Manager.

14.  Can I apply for study leave after I have attended an event?

No. All study leave (time off and funding) must be requested in advance of the event (ideally at least 6 weeks). Retrospective applications will not be approved or funded.  

15.  Can I claim exam fees from the study leave budget?

You are not able to claim exam fees from the study leave budget. 

16.  Can I claim funding for attending exam preparation courses? 

The cost of one preparation/revision course per exam can be funded from the study leave budget for Core and Higher 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.  

If the course exceeds £750.00 you will require funding approval from HEE Wessex (Deanery)

17.  Am I allowed to request private study?

Private study leave for the purpose of home-based revision will normally be taken within six weeks from the date of the exam and normally runs from Monday to Friday. Doctors in training may take up to five days. Only one period of private study leave per exam is allowed

18.  I want to apply for study leave and funding to attend a course at the start of my next rotation which will be based at a different NHS trust – how should I apply?

Discuss any courses/educational activities you would like to attend with your current ES/TPD for approval. You can apply for the Study Leave via Intrepid Leave Manager against the new post.  

Once you have been on the course, submit your expense claim to the new NHS Trust where you will be working by then.

19.  I’m a Foundation Year 1 trainee, can I apply for study leave?  

No. For Foundation Year 1 trainees study leave takes the form of regular teaching sessions. Wessex trainees are advised to complete an ALS course in their first year that will be organised by the employing Trust.  

20.  How much study leave can I apply for in my Foundation Year 2 year? 

Foundation Year 2 Trainees have the same allocation of study leave as all other doctors in training – 30 days. 15 days are allocated to regular scheduled teaching.  

Please read the Wessex Study Leave Guidance for Foundation Trainees that provides detailed information about study leave for FY2. 

Foundation trainees should also read the Wessex Foundation School study leave guidance.

Applying for study leave in Wessex

  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:
    • 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.
    • 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 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.

Accent Leave Manager

Users will require a login and password for Accent Leave Manager, and only trainees 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.