Thames Valley Study Leave A – Z

All trainees must refer to the Study Leave for Doctors in Training webpage first, before reading the information below.

The Study Leave guidance and essential and desirable course lists produced by each school, should be read, before applying for study leave.

If you have a question which is not covered in the examples below, please email it to

If you believe that your rejected application should be reconsidered and would like to appeal the decision, this is the appeals process

Time versus Funding –

NHSE Study Leave covers funding for your application. You need to apply to the Trust to get time off to attend the event.

If any approved course has an online element to be done as an integral part of the programme (without which you would not gain the necessary certificate confirming training) then you can request, in advance, and expect to be granted, time to complete this work from your Trust.

Weekend Courses and Events/Time in Lieu –

Please contact your Trust Rota Manager/Co-ordinator and Study Leave Officer to request time, even if a course falls over a weekend or zero day.

You are expected to research travel options before submitting an application, ensuring that you can arrive at the destination for the start of the event on the day or factoring in travel and accommodation on the preceding day if necessary.

You should give realistic values for travel and accommodation costs, and NHSE requires you to obtain the best value available when making the booking. Remember that cheapest deals often have longer lead-in timescales than bookings made at the last minute.

Any rise in costs once funding has been agreed MUST be supported by a validated explanation for the increase: this might include proof from a rail operator or airline that the original service has been cancelled/suspended and that a rebooking will be necessary, or a doctor’s certificate if illness is cited as a reason for delaying travel (personal health or that of a close family member).

Ideally this will be submitted to both your employing Trust Study Leave Officer and the NHSE Study Leave team before you participate in the event.

No reimbursement can be made without receipts for the actual cost incurred.

Overnight Accommodation Eligibility –

If the total travel time from the event venue to the address NHSE TV have on file for you is predicted by journey planning software using the shortest feasible modes and routes to be in excess of two hours each way or over 100 miles, then we will support the cost of overnight accommodation during the course.

Accommodation Costs –

NHSE has agreed to match the ceilings set by NHS Employers for accommodation costs associated with specialty recruitment arrangements.

However, NHSE expects that trainees will look for competitively priced accommodation through portals such as Doctor in the House, Airbnb, or value for money hotels such as Premier Inn and Travelodge.

Funding for accommodation is met from the Study Leave Budget, and therefore expensive accommodation will deplete funds which would otherwise be available for other training opportunities.

The Trainee Advisory Committee (TAC) at NHSE TV have unanimously recommended to advise trainees to be mindful of this when booking accommodation.

Trainees are reminded that accommodation associated with a one-day event will not normally be reimbursed, and there are strict parameters relating to accommodation when overseas.

Please refer to the guidance outlined in Study Leave Overview of HEE approach

Extending Study Leave for Leisure Travel –

NHSE TV will not fund expenses associated with onward travel, subsistence, or accommodation. We will refund to the value of travel to and from the event on the dates you would have travelled had you not added holidays on to your trip.

The HMRC have taken a keen interest in doctors who add personal leisure elements to professional trips, to ensure they do not claim to offset personal expenses against allowable benefits.

Trainees will need business (class 1) insurance as this will cover them for any travel for work purposes, including travelling to another site and attending courses.

Desirable Courses –

Any courses that do not meet the mandatory curriculum requirements are classed as desirable.

Courses for Consultant Interview training is not covered by the study leave budget.

Desirable courses are discretionary.

Essential Courses –

Any courses required to support you achieving the curriculum competences, are covered by the Study Leave Budget, but still require a full application submitted in advance of the event.

Please check the essential/desirable lists on the NHSE TV website and discuss any courses/educational activities you would like to attend with your named CS/ES/TPD, and they will be able to advise and support your application if it is appropriate.

It is essential that you do your mandatory curricular courses first, before applying for desirable courses. You should discuss your PDP (personal and professional development plan) with your ES at the start of each placement. It is vital that you identify the essential goals for the placement and map how these will be achieved, as a failure to do so may prevent you getting an outcome 1 or 6 at the end of the placement. You are advised to identify which elements are delivered in local and regional teaching, and ascertain what ‘essential’ courses, if any, need to be provided externally (e.g., by your Royal College), and apply early for funding.

Dental trainees, and public health trainees are not covered by this arrangement.

Dental trainees are covered by the new Dental Study Leave policy

The budget does not cover:

– ePortfolio registration costs.

– Subscriptions to journals (paper or online).

– Subscriptions to any online material (webinars, stand-alone educational programmes, revision programmes / mock exams).

– Membership fees (Royal College or any specialist society).

– Examination fees.

– Printing costs for presenting posters/publications.

– Travel to attend ARCP.

– Any claim for which a receipt cannot be produced.

– Retrospective applications.

Study Leave Allowance –

FY1 – Foundation Year 1 doctors are not eligible to apply for study leave since FY1 study leave takes the form of regular teaching sessions.

FY2 – Foundation Year 2 doctors have the same allocation of study leave as all other doctors in training – 30 days. 15 days are allocated to regular scheduled teaching.

Advance Life Support (ALS) –

FY2 doctors will be funded for ALS courses, provided by Trusts within Thames Valley region as a preference and in exceptional circumstances, external courses.

For further information, visit the Foundation webpage

All GP trainees based in a practice should submit their application for Study Leave to the GP Study Leave team –

GP trainees who are in hospital-based posts should follow the same process as all other Specialty trainees.

All International Study Leave funding is discretionary and should be applied for a minimum of six weeks prior to the course or event.

Approvals are made based on factors including – stage of training, acquisition of mandatory requirements, and presenting at conferences. Where competencies can be met within the UK, international study leave funding is unlikely to be approved.

NHSE Deans have agreed the following principles: For approved international study leave applications, NHSE will consider funding either the full cost of the course/conference fees, or the full cost of economy travel and accommodation, whichever is the lower amount. For accommodation, in alignment with the agreed maximum rate for study budget claims within the UK, the overnight rate should not exceed £150 per night. International subsistence expenses are not reimbursed by NHSE. Please list ALL costs on your application form.

The national NHSE Study Leave group have agreed that trainees should have the opportunity to attend an overseas conference during training to present work you have completed. The proviso is that the doctor is otherwise ‘on track’ with their training requirements, and additional trips will not be met in full, if at all. The agreed frequency is once in every three years.

Higher trainees (usually within 12-24 months of their CCT) may wish to attend one conference during this phase of training as a delegate, and your TPD can advise on those most suitable. This is not a mandatory requirement, nor an automatic right for any trainee to exercise, and there is no guarantee that such trips will be fully funded.

There are a small number of specialities where competencies can only be met overseas. For example – plastic surgery trainees who need to do microvascular anastomosis on live subjects, who may go to Europe or India, but not the USA.

NHSE expects doctors in training to attend high quality UK courses, not to seek similar programmes overseas unless these are provided at a more economic overall cost.

All overseas study leave requests will need the support of your TPD before application.

NHSE TV will not pay for either visas or vaccinations.

All Study Leave must be prospectively approved.

If there is a last-minute application for a course or event, firstly, can you be released from work to attend? Please email the rota co-ordinator to ask for an email confirming this, and send that, with your offer of a place to the named contact for your employing Trust on the Study Leave application form.

Fees will only be reimbursed if you then complete the application AND claim forms and submit required receipts.

Once you return from attending the course, please complete any remaining forms and send (email or post) to your local Trust Study Leave team as soon as possible.

No fees will be reimbursed if more than 12 weeks elapses between attendance at a course that has been approved by NHSE through a prospective application and the claim being submitted.

LTFT doctors in training will have full access to the study budget.

You are entitled to funds for study leave, but you must use the NHSE TV forms and get your TPD in NHSE TV to sign the forms. Please ensure you have requested leave from the department you are training in as well, and submit receipts using the approved internal processes, to whichever Trust is paying your salary so that expenses incurred can be reimbursed through payroll.

All Other OOP –

If you are in any other OOP, then you cannot access the study leave budget. If you have an honorary contract with any hospital, which stipulates that you will be performing regular clinical activities, you are expected to comply with the mandatory training requirements set out by the employer for medical staff in such roles.

The employer is required to provide this training at their cost. If you are working through an agency, you are considered ‘self-employed,’ and the onus is on you to demonstrate you have the skills required by prospective employers.

Returning from OOP –

When returning to programme from OOP, you are entitled to access the Study Leave budget from the date of your placement. Applications should be made six weeks prior to course or event, before your return.

Email your TPD or if you are unsure.

Returning from Maternity Leave –

For all doctors returning from maternity leave, ALS will be approved in line with Supported Return to Training and should be supported.

You can use one of your KIT (keeping in touch) days for this activity if you are still within your maternity leave period.

All study leave reimbursements will be paid after attending the course/event and cannot be paid upfront, under any circumstances.

Doctors in a ‘Period of Grace’ have no access to the study leave budget under any circumstances, as by definition, they are no longer in training.

PG Certificates, Diplomas and Master’s degrees can only be funded if required for your curriculum attainment. This is clearly curricular in nature and should be funded in full, including travel costs (usual caveats of cheapest fare etc).

If the course can be voluntarily extended to a Diploma or Master’s qualification, NHSE TV will not support this extra year cost.

Private study leave for the purpose of home-based revision will normally be taken within six weeks from the date of the exam and normally runs from Monday to Friday. Doctors in training may take up to five days in any training year. Only one period of private study leave per exam is allowed. Please ensure you provide proof of booking the exam to your local Trust Study Leave Officer when submitting your application form.

Private study may be considered for writing up research as part of a PhD, subject to the same limit on days.

Foundation trainees must refer to their school specific study leave guide for information on private study leave.

Five days of private study leave is five days in one training year. Whether this is taken as one period of five days, or the five days are spread over multiple sessions is down to the trainee requirement and the Trust being able to release them from clinical activities.

Public Health trainees are not covered by this policy and should apply to their employer for both leave and funding from their study leave budget.

Reasonable travel expenses and parking costs will be covered from 1 February 2024 to attend regional training/teaching days. This will only be paid if an application form has been received as per the standard Study Leave requirements.

All Study Leave applications and requests must be approved prospectively (six weeks before an event or course) only. Retrospective applications will not be approved.

You may claim for one revision or preparation course per part of your exams necessary for training progression or specialist register application. These courses MUST be UK based and can be online.

You cannot claim for exam fees. Neither books or materials are covered.

You can attend one exam preparation course per part of your exams. i.e., One for the first part, another for the second part (written or OSCE based) etc.

We will not fund more than one course for the same stage of any professional examination.

If you are not successful in the examination, we will not pay for another course.

Question banks, books and audiobooks are not covered by the study budget.

Travel and subsistence can usually be claimed from the study leave budget for sitting exams required within an individual’s curriculum.

It is important that Statutory and Mandatory training is completed, however it is a matter for the Trust to decide if authorisation of, and attendance at events can be granted prior to the completion of the Mandatory or Statutory training.

All travel to Study Leave events should be via the most economical route possible.