Types of Leave

Study Leave

In your hospital posts it is intended that you use your study leave in activities directly relating to GP training.  This can provide the opportunity to fulfil some of the MRCGP educational processes but, more importantly, allows you to focus on GP aspects of your post as well as getting to know your future training practice.

In addition to the RCGP courses, the HEKSS will be running specific courses to meet some of the curriculum outcomes which may be difficult to meet in other ways.  We would encourage you all to work with the GP curriculum from the outset and to use your PDP to reflect both general and focused educational aims.  Your ES will then be able to discuss with you how these aims can best be achieved.  Courses that are outside of the KSS ‘mandatory’ or ‘optional’ courses may not be covered.

There is a specific GP ST Study Leave form that you MUST complete at least six weeks in advance of your study leave (including time spent in GP attachments in ST1/2).  This is available from the Study Leave Office, The Education Centre, AEB, RSCH, Brighton or from your Faculty Administrators. We are delighted to announce that from Wednesday 1st January 2020 we will be moving to a single system for study leave for all GP trainees in hospital and practice placements across the KSS region.

This means that there will no longer be a capped individual budget for trainees in GP practice placements. We hope this will provide for a less confusing system and allow trainees at any stage of their GP training to apply for the most suitable training they need, based on their individual learning needs and PDP. Trainees should continue to contact their Educational Supervisor in the first instance for approval of study leave.  The course list for GP trainees can be found on the study leave homepage.

All study leave claims will now be processed by your employing trust and reimbursed through monthly payroll. Please use the relevant local form and process in order to make your claim. ST3 trainees will no longer need to submit their claims directly to the HEE team for payment. Courses not included on the curriculum lists but agreed as relevant for the trainee’s PDP are classified as aspirational and will require additional approval from the Head of School. More information on the process of applying for aspirational courses can be found on the website

If you have any queries regarding the study leave process please discuss with your Educational Supervisor in the first instance.

Your Programme Directors will work with you to determine your specific educational needs, how these can be met and the best way to do this. The School does provide some additional financial support both in the hospital and the GP placements that can be used for additional learning activities if appropriate to your agreed learning needs. You will need to discuss this with both your Educational Supervisor and your Programme Director. HEKSS has produced study leave guidelines for all trainees which can be found on the HEKSS website.

  1. There is no set amount for study leave per year, funding will be subject to approval from your scheme Programme Director but will cover mandatory courses and other GP approved courses, aimed at supporting you to achieve your curriculum and preparing for exams. You are given 30 study days per annum (10 per rotation with no carry over). In ST1and 2 you should plan to meet with your ES at least twice per year and expect to spend the equivalent of 4 extra days at dedicated GP study days (taken out of study leave allowance).
  • A list of approved courses are available here. Courses not on this list are classed as Aspirational Courses and your scheme Programme Director will need to apply to the Head of School on your behalf for approval. Approval will provide you with a unique code to add to your application form to allow it to be processed without further query.
  • The compulsory Half-Day Release VTS programme counts as 15 days of your study leave allowance in ST3 and pro-rata for ST1 and ST2 (0.5 day per teaching session, 10 sessions per term, three terms per year).
  • Study leave will only be approved for courses which are directly relevant to fulfilling the GP curriculum, and applications for courses must be signed off by your Educational Supervisor and your scheme administrator – Martine Ratcliffe martine.ratcliffe@nhs.net in Mid Sussex and Caroline Wheeler caroline.wheeler7@nhs.net in Brighton.  Completed signed forms must be sent to Louise Virgo at bsuh.drsstudyleave@nhs.net for processing.
  • Study Leave must be applied for at least 6 weeks before the course and claims must be made within one month of the event taking place in order to get reimbursed.
  • Travel expenses to and from courses that are held in the London and South East area can be claimed from your study leave budget. Any travel outside the area will need pre approval and you will need to provide evidence that the course is not available locally.
  • Claim forms will be sent to you upon receipt of your application. You must complete this and attach any receipts and course certificates and return back to either Louise Virgo within ONE MONTH. Reimbursement will come via your payslip but must be made before the 4th of the month to be included in that month’s pay.

General principles

  • Not an entitlement, but an allowance
  • 30 days study leave per year
  • Study leave should be taken spread across ST1/2 (10 days per 4 months)
  • Study leave is usually calculated in days / half days (see above)
  • GP Specialty Training Half Day Release (‘VTS’) in ST3 uses 15 days
  • Should be planned in advance with Educational Supervisor & Programme Director
  • All study leave should be relevant to General Practice and developing competences required for CCT in GP and PDs review any doubt re suitability of proposed leave
  • Must be requested well in advance, in line with Trust policy (usually 6 weeks).
  • All requests should reflect PDP entries on e-portfolio
  • Examination leave (for sitting of each examination) is additional to 30 days
  • Private study leave prior to AKT can be taken – duration to be negotiated between ES and trainee, but no specific limit
  • Up to 3 days private study prior to CSA
  • No additional study leave during extensions – study time is included in the weekly plan
  • In the event of exam failure, no additional study leave is provided – when it’s gone, it’s gone
  • GP practice days and  KSS wide study days are compulsory
  • ST1/2 learning sets  – to facilitate attendance consider booking study leave
  • Remainder of study leave allowance discretionary, including private study for exams


  • Approval from your Programme Director is required. This needs to be provided in writing, usually via e-mail.
  • For GPST1/2 trainees : Allowance claimed via Acute Trust
  • All GPST3 trainees : Allowance claimed via HEKSS GP School
  • Regional study days, GP learning sets and Half-day release (VTS) all provided free of charge
  • GP Practice days £100 per day fee claimed by ES from the GP ST1/2 trainee study leave allowance in line with local arrangements
  • Total budget is £860 per annum for 2014/5.

For more information see the study leave guidelines for all trainees which can be found on the HEKSS website.

Annual Leave

It is important to work hard, but equally important to rest.

Your contract will give full details of your annual leave entitlements.  Current-day rotas are extremely complex and there are wide variations from department to department as to how and when annual leave requests are accommodated. Please discuss any special requirements as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.  It is a jigsaw puzzle to fit in all requests without destabilising the service and it is imperative that annual leave is distributed evenly across the posts each year.  In the ST1/2 years requests within a post for more than 1/3 of the annual leave will not normally be approved.  Currently the recommended allowance is up to 25 x 8 hour days (200 hours) in ST1 & ST2 years (including time spent in GP placements) and 30 x 8 hour days (240 hours) in ST3. This is dependent on your ST increment and previous experience (written proof of which is required).

The 2016TCS give you a contractual right to annual leave for your own wedding or other life changing event, providing that you have given sufficient notice.

Sickness Absence

Although the need to take prolonged sickness absence is rare for our trainees, it is an unfortunate fact of life that illness can happen to anyone. In each of your posts your employer will be the main contact, and you will be expected to provide appropriate medical evidence for any period of sickness longer than the statutory period that is covered by a self certificate.

You will be paid whilst sick, up to the maximum period allowed under the regulations. In order to ensure that your learning is not disadvantaged, you will need to make up any time lost that is greater than 14 working days (including weekends on-call) in any one year.

The employing Trust and HEKSS GP School will organise this in an appropriate placement if it is not possible to do this in the same post that you were in when you went off sick. The School will ensure that any trainee who has health problems that might affect their training has full support, and will ensure that Occupational Health support is provided. We will also support Trusts and GP Practices in making appropriate adjustments to the training timetable of any trainee who would benefit from this.

  • You are required to notify the Trust of sickness in accordance with the Trust’s sickness procedure
  • You should contact your line manager and Medical HR on the first day of sickness, indicating when you may be likely to be back.
  • The Trust reserves the right to withhold occupational sick pay where the procedure is not followed correctly.
  • On the 7th day of absence, you will be required to submit to the Medical HR Manager a completed Self Certificate Form.  If the absence continues after the seventh day, a fit note will be required. Any period of sickness absence beyond seven days must be covered by continuous medical certificates.
  • Any sick days exceeding 14 in any one academic year have to be added to your training. You will not be required to repeat whole rotations or academic years due to sickness, only to make up any days exceeding 14 in that year.