Half Day Release

All schemes run a Half-Day Release programme (often shortened to HDR). This is a weekly programme of education usually held at the local Postgraduate Centre.

  • Venue: Education centre, HRI ( or remotely via Zoom/WebEx)
  • When: Tuesday afternoons
  • Time: 2pm – 4.45pm

All our trainees (i.e. GP and hospital based) are expected to attend for the whole afternoon at least 80% of the time. We have asked the consultants to release those in hospital posts as this is a compulsory part of your training, and remember to sign the register!

The Current Programme

Every registrar is allocated to a specific TPD. The first 30 minutes of each HDR session is spent with the TPD group which is made up of trainees from all years of the scheme. This is to encourage and develop peer support networks (which is even more important during these socially distant times) as well as to give trainees an opportunity to discuss concerns or new learning.

HDR programme

Type of Session

Most session involve small group work, each facilitated by either a Programme Director, Trainer, Intending Trainer, or a combination thereof. We hope the groups will create a safe space in which difficult or uncomfortable issues can be discussed in confidence. It is always okay for the group to decide to change the agenda and deal with an urgent problem raised by a member.

These are skills for your lifelong learning, and for life in general practice. Many will have relevance to the AKT and CSA exam.

There are three types of session frequently used in the Half Day Release course:

Structured Sessions

Sometimes using an external resource – in which we aim to explore important areas of General Practice ‘beyond the textbooks’, which you may otherwise not meet in everyday practice, nor cover in topic based tutorials.


Which involve subgroups of 6-8 people who explore a topic/theme by looking at the literature, visiting community based projects or NHS services, contacting local experts etc. They then give a presentation to the whole group. By doing these sessions you develop presentation and teaching skills as well as exploring subjects in new ways.

Open Group Work

Sessions including case discussions (which may include video), ‘hot topics’ and Problem-Based Learning (PBL). PBL sessions – these small group sessions involve the exploration of a case scenario, with each stage raising different issues for discussion. Group members choose aspects to go away and research, and bring their findings back the following week. These types of sessions will certainly help you when it comes to doing the MRCGP case based discussions.


The Training Programme Directors welcome feedback at any stage, in person or by e-mail. As well as contributing to the formal evaluation sessions, it is very helpful if, at the end of each small group session, you leave five minutes for evaluation. Please give this some genuine thought so that we can enhance the future development of the course. If you feel something was good or bad, please tell us specifically what made it that way. We want to adhere to models of good practice and change those that don’t.