Home School Information OOPEs Maternity Leave and Special Circumstances Out-of-Program Training (OOPE) and career breaks

Out-of-Program Training (OOPE) and career breaks

The School strongly supports trainees who wish to spend time in OOPE/OOPT/OOPR posts, as we believe they are educationally very important. There are multiple different opportunities for you and it is likely that we will know someone who has done it before – so please get in touch if you need any guidance.

It would be highly unusual to go out on OOP before securing the final FRCA.



  • Out of Programme Experience (OOPE) – a period spent out-of-programme gaining clinical experience – this does not counted towards your CCT.
  • Out of Programme Research (OOPR) – a period spent in research. This may get partial credit towards CCT.
  • Out of Programme Training (OOPT) – a period of training undertaken outside the trainee’s own training programme that will be counted  towards CCT. OOPT can include
    • Secondment into another training programme
    • A Fellowship post  in the UK or abroad
    • Acting up as a consultant that is undertaken outside of the trainee’s training programme.
  • Career Break  (OOPC) – a period of time out of training.


Although we try to support and encourage out-of-programme time the TPDs must be given adequate notice – if insufficient notice is given then permission cannot be granted because of the risks of leaving hospitals understaffed.

Your final 6 months of training must be in a UK training post – this is a non-negotiable College requirement.

OOPE – Clinical Experience

These are granted for up to a year in the first instance, although on a case by case basis there may be discretion to allow more time. They do not count towards training time and require a minimum of 6 month’s notice before going out of programme. You need to complete the HEE OOP forms only – see below. You must inform the college of the time you take OOP so they can adjust your CCT date.

OOPR – Research

Granted for 1-3 years to facilitate research and ideally completion of a higher degree (MD/PhD). These do not usually count towards training time and we would strongly advise you contact us early if you are planning on a period of research. You need to complete the HEE forms and inform the college of dates you plan to take out.

OOPT – Training

There are occasions where trainees would like to complete some of their training time out of region but for it to count towards training. This requires prospective approval by both the College and HEE. If the site you choose is not one that already carries GMC approval for training, there is a significant paperwork burden to be completed at least 6 months prior to commencement of the post to allow the College time to approve the post for training.

You will need to complete both the RCoA and HEE forms.

OOPC/Career break

Unforeseen changes/situations can happen in anyone’s life at any time. Sometimes, it is appropriate to take time away from the work environment to allow you the opportunity to resolve/cope with these situations. We are wholly supportive of these kinds of requests.

If you feel you have any difficulty with your work or personal lives, then please get in touch with any of the TPDs as soon as you can – by phone or e-mail. We will get back to you very quickly. We will be able to advise and support you through things and can open up the option of an OOPC if necessary. Depending on the situation, OOPC can be taken with no notice at all if required.

Extending an OOP and attending ARCPs

OOPs can be extended ( up to maximum allowable time limits) but we do require 6 months notice.

If you are on OOP we would expect you to receive an Outcome 8 at ARCP. We will need to upload a Form R around the time of your ARCP which we will be able to complete in absentia. If you are OOPR you may well be required to attend an academic ARCP depending on your actual post.

Application Forms

College application forms (for OOPT)

These can be obtained from the College website  https://www.rcoa.ac.uk/careers-training/oope-and-oopt

HEE Application forms (for OOPT, OOPE and OOPR)

There is a general guide to OOPs available at the HEE LaSE support portal: https://lasepgmdesupport.hee.nhs.uk/support/solutions/folders/7000009261

The HEE OOP application forms can be found on the right hand side of this page: https://www.lpmde.ac.uk/training-programme/training-matters/out-of-programme