Less than full time training (LTFT) is the means by which doctors in training undertake their training when they are unable to work and train full time for “well-founded” reasons or to increase flexibility within Postgraduate Medical Education by allowing LTFT training for personal choice.

All employees have a legal right to request flexible working – not just parents and carers.  Therefore, all doctors in training can apply for LTFT training and section 3.123 of the Gold Guide provides a list of illustrative examples for requesting LTFT training:

  • Doctors in training with a disability or ill health – This may include ongoing medical procedures such as fertility treatment.
  • Doctors in training with caring responsibilities (e.g. for children, or for an ill/disabled partner, relative or other dependant)
  • Welfare and wellbeing – There may be reasons not directly related to disability or ill health where doctors in training may benefit from a reduced working pattern. This could have a beneficial effect on their health and wellbeing (e.g. reducing potential burnout).
  • Unique opportunities – A doctor in training is offered a unique opportunity for their own personal/professional development and this will affect their ability to train full time (e.g. training for national/international sporting events, or a short-term extraordinary responsibility such as membership of a national committee or continuing medical research as a bridge to progression in integrated academic training).
  • Religious commitment – A doctor in training has a religious commitment that involves training for a particular role and requires a specific time commitment resulting in the need to work less than full time.
  • Non-medical development – A doctor in training is offered non-medical professional development (e.g. management courses, law courses or fine arts courses) that requires a specific time commitment resulting in the need to work less than full time.
  • Flexibility for training and career development with the option to train less than full time with flexibility that might enable development of a broad career portfolio

Those applying due to a disability / ill health or caring responsibilities (1 and 2 above) will be accommodated.

Requests to train LTFT for other well-founded reasons will be dependant on the capacity of the programme and the effect the request may have on the training of other doctors on the training programme.  It will therefore be subject to the agreement of the employer / host training organisation before the placement can commence.

Requests to work LTFT can either be made at point of application for entry into training or at any time they have been accepted into training

For more information on LTFT working please see the Severn Deanery website

Step by step process to becoming an LTFT trainee

Read the information below and on the GP school and Deanery website

Inform Lindsey Buckenham of your intention

Liaise with Lindsey Buckenham to arrange a meeting with member(s) of the Gloucestershire GP Education Team to discuss the implications that working LTFT will have on your training.

Complete the LTFT application form from the Severn Deanery website

Allocated Training Rotations

If you become part-time, or take time out of training you will leave your originally allocated training rotation. On return to training, the administrator & TPDs slot you back into whichever posts are available at that time; as a result there will be significant uncertainty about which jobs you will be doing during the remainder of your training. The team aim to fill any vacant GPST hospital posts, in order to avoid compromising patient care. Unfortunately, the choices you made about rotations & your personal preferences for locations etc at recruitment are extremely difficult to accommodate under such circumstances.

Post Allocation

If you go LTFT during ST1 or 2 you will finish you allocated rotations and then you will be slotted into a vacant hospital or community post or into GP surgery depending on what type of posts you need to complete to fulfil the criteria for training – i.e., 12 months of Hospital posts and 24 months of GP or Community posts. Posts for LTFT job-share GPSTs are allocated from the pool of available local jobs and these posts change frequently due to trainees vacating them for various reasons. The future availability of posts is therefore mostly unknown, and consequently jobs cannot be guaranteed in advance. Often the decisions have to be made late in order to accommodate late changes in trainee circumstances, which have knock-on effects on other GP trainees. Ultimately, if no local job exists you may be offered a post in another patch within the deanery, or if no there are other options for local training, then you may be offered a post in another area. We do our very best to avoid placing trainees out of area, but it is occasionally unavoidable

Timing of Allocations

Posts are usually allocated by the patch administrator and TPDs, with input from the Patch Associate Postgraduate Dean (APD) if necessary. All trainees who have left their allocated training rotations are considered individually and allocated their next post. This will take place at least 8 weeks prior to the end of each job, and trainees are usually notified within 1 week of the decision.

Hospital vs GP Placement

Total time spent in hospital posts may be longer or shorter than 12 months (the current standard). Total training time is not always exactly the minimum 36 months FTE and may last slightly longer. There is a minimum time in both hospitals and GP of 12 months FTE over a 3 year scheme. The remainder can be made up from either area. Any job must usually be a minimum of 3 months full time equivalent (FTE) to count for training.

LTFT Hospital Posts

To ensure that each post is adequately covered from a service point of view, job-sharing must be worked out with your job-share partner and the lead consultant of the department you’ll be working in. Two trainees working at 60% gives 1.2 whole time equivalents. This means there is in-built capacity for handover and for attendance at the VTS sessions. If a job-share breaks down, training plans and rotations may need to be completely re-organised. Often, a hospital department cannot accommodate a single trainee working at 60% of full-time. Unfortunately, no rotations can be guaranteed.

VTS Attendance

GPSTs are expected to attend all of the usual training sessions for 12 calendar months or LTFT pro-rata over a longer period.

Please be aware that if you are not attending the GP teaching you will be expected to be work unless you have discussed your learning needs with your supervisor and requested appropriate study leave.