This document outlines the processes through which transfers of training will be managed and may be approved by the relevant healthcare science commissioners and employing organisations supported and advised by the National School of Healthcare Science (NSHCS). This document has been written in collaboration with Healthcare Science commissioners across Health Education England (HEE).
The guidance will specifically cover two areas where transfer of training is likely to be applicable:
- Early employment
- Exceptional extenuating circumstances (a definition is available in the policy document)
Reasons for transfer outside of the above are unlikely to be supported.
Trainees on the Scientist Training Programme (STP) are employed for the duration of their training within NHS or other healthcare organisations. Posts are commissioned and recruited based on workforce demand both regionally and with a national view for some smaller specialisms. In order to meet workforce needs, movement of trainees should be minimised and once employed, is only to be supported on an exceptional basis where there is an identified specific need or where trainees have secured early employment before the end of the training. In being selected for and accepting an offer of training, trainees are required to commit to the same employer and location for the duration of the training.
The NSHCS recognises that in some circumstances the ability for a trainee to remain with the original employer or within the same part of the country may be affected by situations outside of their control or as a result of an employment opportunity within the specialism for which they are training. Under these circumstances and in line with the criteria outlined in this document a trainee may make an application to transfer their training.
Scope and Principles
The policy will be applicable to any trainee on the STP programme and is based on the following principles:
- No decision or arrangement to transfer is made by employers/trainees without consent from the relevant commissioning organisations and the NSHCS. Failure to achieve approval from these organisations in advance may prevent continuation on the programme.
- Requirement to transfer can be suitably evidenced by the trainee and/or employer (see transfer criteria for details).
- Transfers across UK borders are subject to further discussion and can only occur where funding is transferable between countries.
- Transfer due to early employment may attract different levels of funding and so any on-going support for training will be determined locally between the local commissioner and the employer.
- Transfer of specialism is unlikely to be supported without significant grounds for change and only considered before specialist training commences in years 2 and 3. Transfer of specialism outside of theme will not be considered nor will applications seeking to gain a preferred location following allocation during national recruitment.
- All receiving employers of a transferring trainee hold or gain accreditation for training for the relevant programme prior to the transfer taking place.
- Each transfer request will be reviewed on an individual basis and decision taken based on the evidence provided and circumstances described and in the best interests of both the trainee and the training programme. Outcomes may therefore vary and will only be subject to appeal or challenge should the required process not be followed.
- Typically transfers will take a minimum of 3 months to complete but timescales may vary depending on the circumstances. Trainees will need to plan for this and identify required timescales in their application.
- Where there are recognised issues with the quality of training provision identified via the NSHCS accreditation processes and sufficient improvements cannot be made at a local level, both the NSHCS and the relevant commissioner will seek to support and facilitate a transfer where possible. Securing a transfer will not automatically attract an extension in programme length. Programme extensions, associated with a transfer can only be considered where there have been recognised and significant issues with the quality of training and/or a breakdown in professional relationship that have impacted on a trainees ability to progress through the programme. Extension of training is facilitated through the Exceptional Extenuating Circumstances process and will require a separate application. Details of this process are available in the Exceptional Extenuating Circumstances policy.
The following is a description of the criteria through which a transfer of training may be approved. It does not provide a definitive list of circumstances but identifies the minimum level of information and evidence required in order for an application to be considered and an outcome confirmed.
Transfers of training due to offer of permanent employment: Early employment
Where a trainee has been interviewed and offered a permanent/substantive or fixed term post and wishes to continue with their training the following information must be provided and approval achieved prior to the transfer taking place. Failure to achieve approval for this process may prevent continuation on the programme.
Requests of this nature are likely only to be accepted if the offer of employment commences during the final year of training and usually no earlier than 12 calendar months before the planned end of the programme.
In order for an application to be considered under these circumstances the following information must be provided:
- evidence of the offer of employment including specialism and grade of post
- written evidence of new employer (or current if applicable) commitment to support and capacity to train to completion of the programme
- training plan from the new employer (or current if applicable)
- accreditation for training for the relevant programme from the new employer (or current if applicable)
For training to continue the new post should be relevant to and at an appropriate level to enable the remaining curricula and learning outcomes to be delivered and achieved.
Trainees offered a fixed term contract must ensure that the duration of the contract of employment is sufficient to enable the training to be completed within the agreed timescales for the programme and takes account of any required extensions where applicable.
Trainees accept a fixed term contract at their own risk and no further financial support will be available for training once the transfer has taken place.
Transfers of training due to exceptional extenuating circumstances
Trainees who experience significant and unforeseen changes in personal circumstances since their commencement to train can submit an application to transfer. Trainees must be able to evidence that their capacity to continue with the current employer is sufficiently compromised so as to put their ability to remain on and complete the programme at significant risk. If approval is granted, the transfer can only take place if there is a suitable alternative training opportunity available. The Exceptional Extenuating Circumstances policy and application form are available on our website.
Each application will be considered on an individual basis but typically, transfers are likely to be considered where one or more of the following circumstances apply:
Criterion 1 – Disability
The applicant develops a disability (physical or psychological, as defined by the Equality Act 2010) for which treatment is an absolute requirement or has specific caring / social requirements which needs to be carried out in the geographical area the trainee has applied to relocate to, as confirmed by a report from their GP or medical specialist.
Criterion 2 – Primary carer responsibilities
The applicant becomes the primary carer for someone who is disabled (as defined by the Equality Act 2010) expected to be a partner, sibling, parent or child. Applicants who provide care for a person as part of a group of carers, e.g. a family, are not eligible to apply under this criterion.
Criterion 3 – Parental responsibility
The applicant is a parent or legal guardian of a child or children under the age of 18 who reside primarily with them and for whom they acquire significant caring responsibilities.
Criterion 4 – Committed relationship
The trainee has had a significant change in personal circumstances due to a committed relationship that was unforeseen when appointed to their current post.
Criterion 5 – Training quality/delivery
The trainee is receiving training of a quality that is significantly affecting their ability to progress and complete the training and/or where there are issues of trainee or patient safety identified that cannot be managed at a local level. Under these circumstances, and if not already in progress, a referral to the School’s accreditation team will be made to investigate claims of substandard training. The transfer may not be approved until these investigations have been concluded and accreditation status of the department determined.
Criterion 6 – Irretrievable breakdown in professional relationship between trainee and training department
The trainee and/or training department report and are able to evidence a breakdown in relationship that is so significant that it is preventing progression or completion of the programme and/or is raising issues in relation to trainee or patient safety. Under these circumstances it is expected that a referral to the School via the trainee support process is made in advance of a request to transfer so that a period of investigation, mediation and support can be offered to address the issues raised.
In order to be eligible to be considered for a transfer, trainees must:
- provide evidence of their significant and unforeseen change/circumstances including medical certificates where applicable
- have experienced the change or issues since commencement of training which were not known or experienced prior to recruitment and selection onto the programme
- completed at least 9 months in their current training programme at the point of application unless their circumstances are so urgent or significant that an earlier request needs to be considered
- have at least 12 calendar months left of their training programme when starting in post with the new employer following a transfer
In addition to the above, any proposed receiving employer or employers within a preferred region must be able to provide evidence of:
- written commitment to support and capacity to train to completion of the programme including engaging with any national selection or assessment activities as well as attendance at train the trainer events where applicable
- training plan
- accreditation for training for the relevant programme
The transfer process
The following describes the process through which applications to transfer training can be submitted, reviewed and an outcome confirmed.
Stage 1 – Application
Upon identifying a transfer need, and having discussed with their current employer where possible, a trainee must complete the transfer of training application form with the relevant evidence as outlined in this document and submit to the NSHCS for review. Trainees submit the application with the knowledge that the information provided will be shared between relevant organisations in order for a decision to be reached. Typically and as a minimum this will include the Professional Lead relevant to the specialism and the Accreditation team within the NSHCS, the current employer and the current commissioning organisation for the training. If a potential alternative training provider/employer has been identified/requested then representatives from the receiving employer and the relevant commissioner may also be contacted where applicable.
The NSHCS will acknowledge the application in writing within 5 working days and review the information for completeness. Trainees will be contacted if there is any missing information or further evidence required. Failure to provide the relevant information within 20 working days will result in the application being rejected.
Stage 2 – Review
Upon receipt of all required evidence, the NSHCS will convene a meeting of the Training Management Panel to consider the application. This panel meets on a monthly basis and trainees will be notified of the date of the meeting to which their application will be submitted.
Stage 3 – Outcome
The outcome will be communicated to the trainee together with any required actions within 5 working days of the review meeting taking place. Potential outcomes include:
- approval – further actions to facilitate the transfer will be identified
- further information required – trainee to gather additional evidence as requested for further review
- rejected – the application is not approved and the transfer does not take place. In the case of transfer on the grounds of early employment, the trainee will then need to decide if they wish to continue with the training programme or take the employment opportunity offered
In all cases, the accreditation for training status of any receiving employer must be identified and where accreditation does not exist, processes started to achieve accreditation. Timescales for this process will be dependent on the level of information available and actions required of the receiving employer however all trainees should allow a minimum of 3 months from application to transfer unless there are issues of trainee safety in which case applications may be expedited where appropriate.
Funding available for any transfer of training will be entirely at the discretion of the relevant commissioner or commissioner(s) affected. It will be incumbent on the current and receiving employers to negotiate transfer dates and any changes to contracts of employment. It will also be incumbent on employers to ensure that any funding received associated with the training is managed accordingly.
Where a suitable alternative employer has not previously been identified by the trainee, the NSHCS will endeavour to work with its stakeholders to see if another employer can be found who will be subject to all of the criteria outlined under the transfer criteria above. There will be no guarantees that this can be arranged and the timescales will be dependent on the requirements of the trainee against the training available. Every effort will be made to manage this process to its conclusion as soon as is reasonably practicable.
Trainees may appeal against the decision of the training management panel (if request is rejected) or with the application of the process within 10 working days of receiving the outcome from the NSHCS. Under these circumstances the reasons for the appeal together with any additional evidence must be forwarded to the NSHCS in writing. The appeal will be considered by the Head of School, the Lead Commissioner for training and the Postgraduate Medical Dean with responsibility for Healthcare Science or their nominated deputy. It is anticipated that a decision on the appeal will be reached within 20 working days of receipt. Any decision made regarding the appeal will be final.