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Out of programme (OOP)

What is out of programme?

There are a number of reasons why a doctor in specialty training may want or need to take time out of their approved programme. All time out of programme has to be approved by your Postgraduate Dean. We recommend you start discussing any time you wish to take out of programme with your Training Programme Director and Educational Supervisor as early as possible. The approval process can take three months and you must give your employer (current and/or next) three months’ notice.

If you want this time to count towards the award of a CCT or a CESR via the Combined Programme (CESR (CP)) application type, we must approve the post before it starts. This is a requirement of The Directive on Recognition of Professional Qualifications (the Directive).

This guidance is meant to give you an overview of out of programme training and how to make sure the competencies achieved whilst on this training counts towards the award of a CCT or a CESR (CP). It is important you read this guidance alongside the document: “A reference Guide for Postgraduate Specialty Training in the UK – The Gold Guide”. This will give you further information on OOP.

There are various types of OOP.

  • Out of programme career break (OOPC): a set period of time out of the training programme to pursue other interests or deal with a period of ill health.
  • Out of programme for clinical experience (OOPE): to enhance clinical experience or to gain experience as a locum consultant.

Time in OOPC or OOPE will not count towards a CCT or CESR (CP). Therefore, the GMC will not need to approve these. Make sure you speak to your home deanery/LETB to find out what their requirements are.

  • Out of programme for approved clinical training (OOPT): clinical training which is not part of your approved programme. OOPT will normally be for a maximum of one year. In exceptional circumstances it can be up to two years.
  • Out of programme for research (OOPR): time out of programme for a period of research. OOPR will not normally exceed three years

Time in OOPT and OOPR may count towards a CCT or CESR (CP).

  • Acting Up as a Consultant (AUC): AUC posts may count towards your CCT or CESR (CP) when the relevant specialty curriculum has provisions for these types of post. Where the AUC post is in the same training programme you are enrolled onto, additional prospective approval is not required from the GMC. If the AUC post is in a different training programme, the usual OOP approval process must be followed to obtain prospective GMC approval.

    When you are acting up as a consultant, there will need to be appropriate supervision in place and approval will only be considered if the acting up placement is relevant to gaining the competences, knowledge, skills and behaviours required by the curriculum. AUC posts can only be taken in the final year of specialty training.

Time in AUC will count towards the award of a CCT or CESR (CP) under certain circumstances. Where there is no provision for AUC posts in the relevant specialty curriculum, experience acting up cannot be counted towards the award of CCT/CESR (CP). You will not be able to apply for OOP to have this experience count towards your CCT or CESR (CP) as your programme does not support this.

You should speak with your home deanery/LETB about your time out of programme and whether or not the time will count towards your CCT or CESR (CP).

Please read our guidance for:

Regardless of your role in the process, we suggest that you read through all of these pages to gain a full understanding of how the process works.