Study Leave A-Z

Users will require a login and password for Accent Leave Manager (ALM), and only doctors in Wessex programmes will be given access.  Please email IMSupport.South@hee.nhs.uk if you have forgotten or do not have a login or password for Accent Leave Manager, or if you have any issues with approvers, no valid approvers, entitlements or budgets recorded for you on Accent Leave Manager.  If your placement details are incorrect on Accent Leave Manager please contact your Wessex PGME Programme Team

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

Accommodation Costs

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 and the round trip exceeds 100 miles.

Accommodation costs to be covered by NHSE Wessex will be limited to the duration of the event plus one night, either before or after the event dates. Doctors 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 Commercial, e.g. B&B/Hotel).

For overnight accommodation outside of London, the overnight rate should not exceed £120 per night (for Commercial, e.g. B&B/Hotel).     

(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 NHSE Wessex 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 and your breakdown of all known and estimated costs before obtaining final approval from the NHSE Wessex Study Leave Team. Once you have the necessary approvals from your employer and TPD / FPD / GP Patch AD Office (where necessary) please forward the details of the activity, a breakdown of the costs and evidence of written confirmation of these approvals by email to england.studyleave.wx@nhs.net for final review and approval.

(7) It is advised that you wait until you have completed the full online approval process (including NHSE 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). Most Trusts use the Accent system but a small number do not so please liaise with your employing Trust regarding the correct process.

(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.

Essential courses: have been described in curriculum documents by the relevant Royal College or Faculty and should assist educational supervisors to ensure that the doctor in postgraduate training is meeting the requirements mandated by the curriculum in the first instance.

Desirable courses: are complementary to the curriculum, the Head of School or Training Programme Director being of the opinion that attendance at these events is of benefit to the doctor. It is not expected that the lists are prescriptive; there is no expectation that the doctor in training should complete all the optional events for their given programme. The list should act as a guide for the doctor and educational supervisor to plan and schedule attendance at some of these events across the entire duration of training.

Aspirational courses: in the rare event where a doctor wishes to undertake a course or event that is not included on the school list, the doctor should discuss with their educational supervisor and Training Programme Director to ensure that the course or event is relevant to their professional development. The Training Programme Director and/or Head of School will have final sign off for such aspirational events depending on current funding available.

Please refer to the list below for the relevant specialty school:

School of Anaesthetics 

School of Emergency Medicine

School of General Practice

School of Medicine

School of Obstetrics & Gynaecology

School of Paediatrics

School of Surgery

Cancellations

If your event is cancelled or you choose not to attend, you should endeavour to obtain a refund for any expenses incurred.

If the event was cancelled and you are unable to obtain a refund, please submit your claim and receipts to your Trust via the usual study leave claim process. 

Entitlement – Days

Foundation Year 1 doctors 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).

The Study Leave days entitlement will be pro-rata for Less Than Full Time doctors. 

Study leave cannot be used to buy revision books, online resources, journal subscriptions, membership fees, attend interviews or cover exam fees.  Travel and subsistence can usually be claimed from the study leave budget for sitting exams required within an individual’s curriculum.

Exam preparation courses may be provided locally as part of the general training programme. Such courses should be accessed ahead of private courses as they offer broad support and value for money. The cost of one preparation/revision course per exam can be funded from the study leave budget for core and speciality doctors, or one set of question banks from a recognised provider in lieu of an exam preparation course.  Any additional exam preparation courses for the same exam will not be covered and you will need to fund these yourself. All doctors 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.       

Funding of courses for additional attempts at the exam will be considered in exceptional circumstances at the discretion of the Associate Dean for Study Leave. In the event of repeated exam failure your Educational Supervisor may wish to consider a referral to the Professional Support and Wellbeing Service (PSW) for exam support.

If the course exceeds £750.00 you will require funding approval from NHSE Wessex (Deanery), so once you have the necessary approvals from your employer and TPD / FPD / GP Patch AD Office (where necessary) please forward the details of the activity, a breakdown of the costs and evidence of written confirmation of these approvals by email to england.studyleave.wx@nhs.net for final review and approval.

Foundation Year 1

Foundation Year 1 doctors are not eligible to apply for study leave since FY1 study leave takes the form of regular teaching sessions. Wessex doctors in training are advised to complete an ALS course in their first year that will be organised by the employing Trust.  

Foundation Year 2

Foundation Year 2 doctors 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 Study Leave Guidance for Foundation Doctors that provides detailed information about study leave for FY2.

The guidance for attending study leave events outside of the UK has been updated. 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 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 NHSE’s and your commitment to your development. Part-funding 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 £1,000.00. 

In cases where only one cost element is incurred (i.e. either no course fee or no travel and accommodation expenses) NHSE will contribute a nominal amount towards overall costs, based on typical registration costs. The maximum contribution is £450.

For accommodation in alignment with the agreed maximum rate for study budget claims within the UK, the overnight rate should not exceed £120 per night. Subsistence expenses will not usually be reimbursed by NHSE.  

Approval for attendance at international events (any event outside of the UK) must be approved by your Educational Supervisor, Training Programme Director and then finally the Associate Dean for Study Leave at NHSE Wessex. Please email england.studyleave.wx@nhs.net providing details of the event, a full breakdown of known and estimated costs, and evidence of approval from your TPD or equivalent.   

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

Study leave cannot be used to buy revision books, online resources, journal subscriptions, membership fees, attend interviews or cover exam fees.  It can only be used for costs associated directly with attending a course (i.e. course fees, travel, subsistence and accommodation).  

Less Than Full Time

The full 30 days’ Study Leave entitlement will allocated pro-rata for Less Than Full Time doctors.

Membership Fees

Study leave cannot be used to pay for revision books, online resources, journal subscriptions, membership fees, attend interviews or cover exam fees.  It can only be used for costs associated directly with attending a course (i.e. course fees, travel, subsistence and accommodation).  Study leave funding should not be used for ‘joining’/membership costs for a conference or course, even if this is advertised to provide a reduced attendance fee.

Out of Programme

Doctors that are on an OOP for Research, Career Break or Experience are not eligible to apply for study leave 

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

Doctors on Parental Leave are eligible to apply for Study Leave. Please see additional information under Parental Leave within the A – Z.

Parental Leave

Doctors can apply for study leave funding while on Parental Leave.  However, any activities would need to be applied for in advance and agreed with the Educational Supervisor, and any use of KiT days would also need to be agreed with the Trust in advance.   Doctors are unable to apply retrospectively for study leave funding or KiT days.   The Doctor would need to refer to the generic study leave guidance for more information, including approvals required, but note that TPD approval may be accepted in lieu of Educational Supervisor approval where appropriate.

Period of Grace

Doctors 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).

Postgraduate degree courses are rarely funded from the Study Leave budget – exceptions include specific training programmes whose curricula currently require such qualifications for progression. Some Wessex fellowships also include funding support for a Postgraduate Certificate in Medical Education.

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 (of the 30-day allowance). Only one period of private study leave per exam is allowed.

Foundation doctors electing not to attend career development courses or conferences may take up to two days of leave for private study in preparation for professional exams.

Question Banks

Study leave can be used to fund the purchase of one set of question banks from a recognised provider in lieu of an exam preparation course.

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 Accent Leave Manager and have prior approval for the costs that you are claiming.  

Please read the Wessex study leave https://wessex.hee.nhs.uk/trainee-information/trainee-journey/study-leave/ for claiming costs. 

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 except in exceptional circumstances.

Revision Material

Study leave cannot be used to buy revision books, online resources (see “Question Banks” for exceptions), journal subscriptions, membership fees, registration fees, attend interviews or cover exam fees.  It can only be used for costs associated directly with attending a course (i.e. course fees, travel, subsistence and accommodation).  

Rotation Changes and Study Leave

If you wish to apply for study leave and funding to attend a course at the start of your next rotation which will be based at a different NHS trust you should 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 Accent 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.

Specialised Foundation Programmes (SFP)

Additional F2 Study Leave for those undertaking Specialised Foundation Programmes (SFP)

In addition to the standard F2 study leave allowance and funding granted to Wessex F2 doctors, those undertaking SFP can be granted up to a maximum of 2 days study leave in order to attend a conference where they are presenting work they have done as part of their SFP time. Conference costs (if applicable) and any accommodation and subsistence cost can be claimed in the usual way as per NHSE Wessex Study Leave Guidance. Presenting at conferences held outside of the UK will only be supported on an exceptional basis at the discretion of the Foundation Programme Director and Educational Supervisor. For international conferences, a contribution to conference registration fees will be paid but travel and accommodation costs will not. There is no NHSE Wessex funding available to support the cost of project consumables, laptop computers or enrolment or fees for higher degrees or qualifications during the placement. Please discuss with supervisors in advance the resources required to conduct the work planned during the placement.

Subscription Fees

Study leave cannot be used to buy revision books, online resources, journal subscriptions, membership fees, registration fees, attend interviews or cover exam fees.  It can only be used for costs associated directly with attending a course (i.e. course fees, travel, subsistence and accommodation).  

Travel Expenses

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 https://wessex.hee.nhs.uk/trainee-information/trainee-journey/study-leave/.  Costs should be claimed through your normal expenses scheme.