Out of Programme Experience (OOPE) for Doctors in Postgraduate Training

You will need to have agreement from your line manager to apply and to support your participation in the scheme unless you are taking a break from training or work. In its Mandate from Government, HEE was asked to work with stakeholders to support charitable and volunteering activity undertaken by health and care workers, including out of programme experience overseas, and to maximise learning benefits to the NHS of such activity. As OOPEs cannot count towards CCT or CESR/CEGPR, they do not require GMC approval.

Benefits of OOPE

OOPE can be a valuable and enriching experience for doctors in training. It can give them a fresh perspective and new skills and approaches that can be applied to their work in the health service and help them and the wider health service improve the quality of care we provide.

Trainees may seek agreement for OOPE time to undertake clinical experience that has not been approved by the GMC and that will not contribute to the award of a CCT or CESR (CP)/CEGPR (CP). In these circumstances, OOPE will normally be up to one year and it is likely that the CCT date will need to be extended. The purpose of such OOPEs could be to:

– Enhance clinical experience for the individual so that they may experience different working practices or gain specific experience in an area of practice

– Support the recommendations in Global Health Partnerships: The UK Contribution to Health in Developing Countries (2007), which recommends that:

“All four home nations of the United Kingdom

recognise the value of overseas experience and

training for UK health workers and encourage

educators, employers and regulators to make

it easier to gain this experience and training.

UK medical trainees, possessing appropriate

skills for the environment in which they are

placed, continue to make immensely valuable

contributions to healthcare systems of

developing countries.”

Circumstances in which OOPE may be taken

There are a number of circumstances when a trainee may seek to spend some time out of their training programme.

– All such requests need to be agreed prospectively by the Postgraduate Dean (or a nominated representative) so trainees are advised to discuss their proposals as early as possible.

– OOPE will not normally be agreed until a trainee has been in a training programme for at least one year of training (unless at the time of appointment, deferral of the start of the programme has been agreed for leave on statutory grounds).

– Occasions where OOPE is granted to core trainees are likely to be exceptional given the short length and the nature of their training. Time out of programme may be in prospectively approved training posts or for other purposes. In order for core trainees to gain experience of working overseas in a low resource setting it may be possible for some to join the Global Health Fellowship Programme after completion of core training and before starting specialty training.

Applying for an OOPE

Guidance for the processes for application for OOPE can be found on the websites of the HEE local offices.

– In order to apply for a period overseas, the doctor in training should be in possession of an ARCP outcome 1 or 2 and have a letter of support from their TPD/Head of School/Programme

– The trainee should give their Postgraduate Dean and their employer as much notice as possible. If further communication with employers is required, this may be best to coordinate from the local office.

– Current code of practice requires 12 weeks’ notice to trainee doctors. In order to meet these and ensure a smooth transition, the application should be made as soon as known, but at a minimum of six months before the OOPE is intended to start. Giving a reasonable period of notice will significantly improve the chances of it being approved.

– Trainee doctors on OOPE will need to keep in contact and renew their commitment and registration to the training programme with the Postgraduate Deam on an annual basis. This process also requests permission for retention of the training number, provides information about the likely date of return to the programme as well as the estimated date for completion of training.

– The annual return must also include a full scope of practice appraisal in order to meet the requirements for revalidation. It is the trainee’s responsibility to make this annual return, with any supporting documentation that is required.

Further Information on OOPE

For further information, please visit your local deanery website.