Personal circumstances

Personal circumstances frequently asked questions for STP trainees.

Who should I notify of a leave of absence that could have an impact on funding?

The School and your regional NHS England office, should be notified of any leave of absences, which could have a potential impact on funding. This is the responsibility of your training officer, who must pass the relevant information on to the School and Commissioners.

For example:

  • maternity/paternity/adoption leave
  • absence or a series of absences that will impact on a trainees’ salary (6 weeks absence or more)
  • wellbeing concerns that will significantly impact on a trainee’s progress, and further advice and support is needed
Who do trainees inform of a change of personal details?

Ensure personal records are up-to-date with the employing Trust, on your e-portfolio and with the School.

Who should a trainee notify about a sickness absence?

You must notify your employer if you are off sick.

Who do trainees speak to when they are having problems with training?

You must always speak first to your training officer about any problems with your training. The School’s Training Programme Directors will support training officers if they need further advice.

How do I access the London Trainee Network's guidance flowcharts for trainee's in difficulty?

The London Healthcare Science Trainee Network have produced a set of flowcharts advising trainee’s what to do in certain situations. For example, if a trainee is having problems with their training.

Click this link to access the flowcharts.

I am thinking of leaving the STP; who do I need to speak to?

We understand that sometimes things can impact on your experience of the programme and you may feel you don’t want to carry on. Always talk to your training officer or other colleagues at work and find out what support is available as soon as possible. If you feel you are not receiving the support you need, contact the School for further advice.

Can a trainee transfer to a new location within the same speciality?

The regional education and training offices fund each training post within their area. If a trainee needs to move within the region covered and the Trust is able to accommodate them, the funding would have to be transferred by the regional office to the new post. However a transfer outside of the regional education and training office area is more difficult.

Can a trainee change their specialty after they have started the STP?

When you accept the offer of a place on the training programme, you are agreeing to undertake that training in a particular specialty for the duration of the training. Therefore a request to change the specialty cannot be accepted. The only exceptions are for any trainees recruited to undefined medical physics as the employer does not require the specialty to be defined until the end of the rotational phase.

Are training departments expected to give study leave to trainees on the STP?

As employees you are entitled to request and take study leave in accordance with local employment policies, however this should only be applicable to study that is not directly attributable to the training programme.

We advise that employers facilitate a 80:20 split (or 1 day per week if full time) between routine workplace commitments and academic studies. 20% of the trainee’s time must be protected for private study, including university work, reflective writing, reading and portfolio completion. This applies throughout the programme, regardless of whether the trainee is in university term time.

You are advised to contact us to discuss difficulties in securing protected time for training as employers not facilitating this risk losing their accredited status as a training centre.

Funding for any activities that are not directly related to the training programme should be sought from local training budgets.

I have been asked to cover weekends and out of hours shifts even though my contract states I am a supernumerary trainee. Does the School have any guidance regarding this?

We would not actively encourage trainees to participate continuously in weekend/out of hours working, however good experience may be gained from out of hours work. Clearly it would be expected that you are undertaking appropriate work that would not require close supervision. Our concern would be the potential impact this might have on your training during the remainder of the working week.

What is the School’s policy on parental leave?

It is usually down to local negotiation between the employer, commissioner and University in terms of agreeing a management plan and should be managed in accordance with local terms and conditions of employment.

The School does ask to be kept informed so we know when the trainee is due to complete/rotate and the approach will vary depending on the individual circumstances and timing it occurs during their training.

We would be happy to advise on a plan once drafted in terms of how that might impact on training etc and based on our wider knowledge of other experiences make recommendations on how you might manage.

What do I do if I have concerns in relation to completing the programme as a conscientious objection e.g., on the grounds of religion?

There may be conscientious objection to the acquisition of certain skills within certain elements of the curriculum. This does not mean that meeting the knowledge criteria is not required. Skills targets not attempted for these reasons should be clearly recorded in the e-portfolio and signed off by a trainer.

Am I eligible for a tax and National Insurance refund under the NHS Widening Access Training scheme?

Determining eligibility under the Widening Access Training (WAT) scheme is the responsibility of the trust which employs you. You should contact your HR department directly as only they can establish whether you are eligible and arrange a refund via their payroll system if you are. You can find more information on the WAT scheme on the website and from NHS Employers.

Is it acceptable to the School for a department to appoint (to a permanent post) a trainee who has not yet completed their training?

Yes, if departments are able to support the completion of training there should be no problem.

It is worth speaking to the local education office about the possibility of protecting the trainee’s training budget for the last few months to ensure that they are employed by you at the end of the training period. This may not always be possible but certainly worth exploring with your local commissioner.

The School would suggest caution for the trainee as it is quite challenging to swap from a pure training role to one that may have different competing demands. However, other departments in this position have been able to strike a sensible workable balance where necessary.

The trainee would need to submit a transfer request form and relevant evidence detailed in the transfer policy. Click this link to access the policy in the publications section of the website.