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Scotland Deanery

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Trainee information

Out of Programme (OOP)

Guidance for trainees wishing to take time out of their approved training programme for research, acting up, sabbatical or another reason.

Foundation, Specialty trainees including GP trainees (OOP)

Taking time out of programme is governed by the Gold Guide which sets out arrangements agreed by the four UK Health departments. All ‘Out of Programme’ must be prospectively approved by the Lead Dean/Director responsible for the programme and applications must include supporting documentation as described on the application and guidance form. 

All applications for Out of Programme (with the exception of Acting Up applications and OOPC) must be approved and confirmed at least 3 months before the scheduled start of any activity, this means that the request should be submitted at least 6 months before the start of OOP. You will be required to give your Programme Director (FPD/TPD), current and next employer a minimum of 3 months’ notice of undertaking a period of out of programme.

The application form must be signed by both the Educational Supervisor and the Programme Director (FPD/TPD).

The Educational Supervisor’s signature supports the request based on the discussions with the trainee AND confirms that the Placement Board will be able to accommodate the absence of the trainee for the period of the OOP request (where OOP will impact on current placement).

The Foundation/Training Programme Director’s signature denotes that release of the trainee will not adversely affect delivery of the programme to other trainees for the period of the OOP request.

These requirements must be adhered to and failure to follow the processes and timescales set within this application form are likely to result in a request for OOP being rejected.

For trainees with Visas, please check with the conditions of your visa before applying, as Home Office rules may preclude taking time out of programme.

OOP applications cannot be approved for trainees in their first year of training. Normally, OOP will not be approved in the final 3 months of training. In some exceptional circumstances, the Lead Dean/Director may exercise discretion regarding the timing of the OOP.

Trainees are advised to seek clarification from their employer regarding their pension contributions and any statutory rights and benefits whilst undertaking a period OOP.


Medicine: Application and guidance form for OOP/Acting Up

Dental: Please refer to Dental Gold Guide. Dental trainees should refer to the application form (Appendix 3) within the Dental Gold Guide and submit it to the Associate Postgraduate Dean.

Further information is available on the different types of OOP and Acting Up.

Guidance on OOPE (Experience)

Guidance on OOPR (Research) 

Guidance on OOPT (Training) 

Guidance on OOPC (Career Break)

Guidance on OOP Acting Up


Further information on OOP is available on the GMC website.

This page was last updated on: 14.11.2023 at 10.21