Time out of training

This page explains arrangements if you’ve taken time out of training, either to do out of programme activities or through absence.

Out of programme activities counting towards CCT require prospective College support and GMC approval. Therefore any applications for OOPT/R need to be approved by the College and GMC before you start in the post.

Applications should be sent to Psychiatrytraining@rcpsych.ac.uk three months prior to the OOPT/OOPR start date.

A trainee can seek prospective approval for clinical experience not otherwise available to them in their programme but which may contribute towards gaining the competencies needed in order to be awarded CCT.

A trainee can seek prospective approval for time spent undertaking research which will count towards the award of CCT where the training received is relevant to the curriculum.

Please note that trainees can undertake an OOPR without time having to count towards their training. In this instance, they will need approval from their deanery/LETB, Training Programme Director and Head of School.

  1. Gain prospective approval from your local Deanery/LETB, giving them as much notice as possible of the intended OOP.
  2. Apply for College support using the application form and guidance.
  3. Your application will be reviewed by the Quality Assurance Committee within four weeks of receipt of your application. Applications typically take between two and four weeks to assess.
  4. If your application is successful, send the College letter of support to your Deanery/LETB, who should apply for GMC approval before you begin the OOP period. The GMC will not approve applications for OOPR without College support. For OOPT applications, College support will be required for posts that have not been approved by the GMC.
Graphic depicting flowchart of application process

Applications should be sent to Psychiatrytraining@rcpsych.ac.uk three months prior to the OOPT/OOPR start date.

You are welcome to contact us if you have any questions about your application.

Time out of programme that is not to be counted towards training (OOPE and OOPC) does not require prospective approval by the GMC or RCPsych support. This is organised through the trainee's Deanery/LETB alone.

Please also refer to the GMC's OOP Guidance, the Gold Guide and local guidance.

Trainees in their final year of Advanced Training wishing to act up in a Consultant post (AUC) outside of their home Deanery/LETB or in a location that has not been approved for training should follow the OOPT process as above following the AUC guidance.

Where a trainee is planning to act up within their home Deanery/LETB, this will need to be approved by their ES and TPD.

If you’ve been absent for more than 14 days within a 12 month period, the College and your Deanery will consult on whether your CCT date needs to be extended.

This will be covered as part of your annual review of competence progression meeting.

For full details on these arrangements, see the GMC’s position statement.

Please email us at Psychiatrytraining@rcpsych.ac.uk if there are any extensions to your training, which mean your CCT date needs to be changed.


OOPP is a pilot currently being undertaken until July 2021 (COVID-19 extension) which allows trainees to step out of formal training for up to 12 months to undertake non-training NHS or other UK based patient facing posts. 

Trainees will potentially be allowed to count some of the time towards their training (retrospectively) once they return to training, subject to a gap analysis. 

 To be eligible to apply, trainees will need to have: 

  • At least two years full registration with the GMC 
  • Achieved an outcome 1, 2, 10.1 or 10.2 at last ARCP 
  • At least one year into a training programme (CT2; ST5) 
Before applying, trainees need to discuss with their ES and TPD and plan for six months’ notice (if possible, a shorter notice period may be accommodated). Applications go via HEE regional office (as with OOPE). Trainees need to stay in touch with their TPDs and ES whilst out of programme 

OOPP can last for a minimum of 6 months, maximum of 12 months

Gap Analysis

The gap analysis is undertaken by the Educational Supervisor (ES) and trainee upon return to training. The gap analysis will include:

  • Review of the capabilities achieved in programme before going out of programme, including planned trajectory for completion of training.
  • Review of all evidence recorded during time out of programme including clinical skills and knowledge and technical skills, nature of experience and any senior colleague/supervisor reports with particular reference to the degree of supervision.
  • Assessment of the OOPP experience in the context of the training trajectory to determine if the trainee is likely to have progressed to or beyond the expected capabilities.
  • Agreement of the content of the learning agreement for the coming period of training, which will be formally assessed at the next ARCP.

The gap analysis tool will be available through Health Education England (HEE) in due course, and currently sits with HEE deaneries at local level. A template has been provided by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (AoMRC) in their Flexibility Guidance (appendix 3; scenario 2).

Further information on the pilot can be found on the OOP Pause webpages.