Training on a LTFT basis may well be possible during your GP training but it is certainly not a guaranteed right. It is also worth remembering that it is training on a less than full time basis, which does not necessarily mean that it will be entirely flexible. The commonest reason for people wishing to train on a LTFT basis is for childcare reasons. Individuals have also successfully applied for LTFT training in order to combine their training with a research interest or continuing with an elite sport. Some individuals with enduring health issues also choose to train LTFT – this is NOT the same as a phased return following a period of ill health, which might be recommended by occupational health.
If you wish to consider training LTFT (or returning from maternity leave) on a LTFT basis then you need to discuss this with your GP training programme director. You will also need to look at the LTFT policy and make an appointment to see the Associate Dean (AD) for LTFT training.
Things to consider:
- During the hospital component of your rotation training LTFT usually means undertaking a slot share arrangement with another LTFT trainee, where both of you work on a 60% basis. This would usually be with another GP trainee but may be with a trainee from that particular hospital specialty i.e. you might slot share a post in paediatrics with a GP trainee or a paediatric specialty trainee
- If you are slot sharing with another GP trainee then you will both be expected to work on Tuesdays so as to enable you to attend the GP focused teaching. How you split the remainder of the week is up to you, your slot share partner and the hospital department in which you will be working. The GP training team would not get involved in such discussions unless you are unable to reach a fair agreement by amicable discussion.
- Slot sharing means that two individuals are fulfilling one slot on the rota. This means that you will be expected to take your share of unsociable hours, including nights if appropriate. Again how you sort this out is up to you, provided that your solution is acceptable to the relevant hospital department. For example some individuals choose to undertake one set of nights on a full time basis by co-opting their partner (or grandparents) for childcare, and then having the second set of night off. Others continue working LTFT throughout.
- When in a GP practice placement, working LTFT is more flexible. The RCGP does not recognise training at less than 50%, however, by negotiation, it may be possible to work at any proportion between 50 & 100%.
- Working LTFT in a hospital post requires the permission of the Associate Dean (AD) for LTFT training.
- In GP posts this extra permission is not required (as there are no financial consequences for the deanery whereas in hospital posts the LTFT training budget picks up the 10% overlap funding for the slot sharing arrangement) but you must seek the permission of your Programme Directors.
- Once you have received permission for training on a LTFT basis you will need to complete a LTFT Update form twice yearly.
- You cannot switch between LTFT and full time working without seeking further permission from the AD for LTFT training. Any decision to go full time for a period of time (e.g to complete an unbanded job) may affect whether you can return to LTFT in the future.
- In Oxford district we only allocate jobs for the hospital rotations of GP training on a 12 month cycle. This is because the numbers of people wishing to train LTFT is constantly changing due to maternity leave. We endeavour to give you some choice as to the jobs that you undertake, and certainly try and ensure that they dovetail with any previous experience. You are unlikely to have the same slot share partner for the entire duration of your training, and may even change partner after six months.
- When training on a LTFT basis, the requirements of WPBA are on a pro rata basis.