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Trainee information

Tasters and How to Apply

What is a Taster?

A taster is a period of time, usually two to five days, spent in a specialty in which you have not previously worked. Its purpose is to enable the development of insight into the work of a specialty/ general practice, promote careers reflection and 'lifestyle' of a speciality. During your Foundation training you may apply for a maximum of two Taster weeks. Tasters are available for both F1 and F2 and we would usually suggest that they are taken at any time from the end of the first post in F1 through to the end of F2.

All Tasters should be well planned and focused. In order to support these experiences trainees must agree a set of aims and objectives that will be achieved during the Tasters which can be included as part of a trainee's Portfolio. To fully benefit from Tasters, Foundation doctors should discuss their career aspirations with their Educational Supervisor and/ or Foundation Programme Director. Tasters help support trainees onto the correct career path and trainees are encouraged to use these days and apply using Turas Study Leave application process (see below).



No more than five days per Taster will be allowed for this experience. Only one Taster can be taken per block and no more than five days can be taken per specialty. The maximum number throughout Foundation is two Tasters (N.B. not two Tasters per training year). If your supervisor agrees, you may take both Tasters in F1 or in F2 or you may wish to take one Taster in each training year.



Ideally this would take place within your current employing Board, as this would facilitate both the organisation and monitoring of such an experience.  It will be the responsibility of the trainee to organise these Tasters.  The trainee must obtain approval from the current supervisors that the dates for the the Tasters are suitable and that there is acceptance from the a supervising Consultant.

The Scottish Foundation School will only approve tasters within your current home region of training unless the experience cannot be provided locally e.g. remote and rural GP.  The School will not approve Tasters abroad or out-with Scotland.


Application Process

This should take place after discussion with the trainee’s Educational Supervisor so that the aspirations of the trainee are likely to be met by the taster.

For leave to be granted, the following will be required:

  • After first confirming with Service that the proposed taster days can be accommodated.
  • A Study Leave application must be completed via Turas by the trainee giving at least 6-8 weeks notice to the Service for this leave.
  • Please ensure that you specify as part of the application the location/hospital and specialty in which the taster will be undertaken.
  • All requests for a Taster MUST be made through the study leave applications process on Turas.
  • Leave must only be arranged when a trainee is due to be working normal days.
  • The aims and objectives of the taster and the reasons for choosing the specialty should be detailed on the trainee’s e-portfolio as part of the Taster Form.
  • Written or e-mail acceptance from the supervising Consultant for the taster should be included in the trainee’s e-portfolio.
  • No expenses will be given for taster leave.


Approval/Rejection of Request for Leave

Trainees will be informed by e-mail from their Foundation Programme Director whether their application has been approved or not through the study leave process.



After the taster the trainee will need to provide:

  • Trainees should reflect upon their experience and complete the Taster Form in the Turas Portfolio which can be link FPC 13.  
  • Trainees should consider whether their original aims and objectives were met by the taster.


The Process

Step 1: Trainee identifies the specialty in which they want to experience a taster

Step 2: Trainee must obtain service approval from current placement that they can take the Taster in their current block

Step 3: Trainee approaches the relevant Consultant and obtain written permission to spend time in their specialty, agreeing the number of days and dates

Step 4: Trainee obtains approval from their current supervisor that the proposed dates are suitable for service

Step 5: Trainee discusses this taster with your Educational Supervisor/Foundation Programme Director

Step 6: Trainee completes a Study Leave Application via Turas which MUST include the specialty and location/hospital the taster will be undertaken

Approved: Following the taster you must complete the Taster Form in the Turas Portfolio - which can linked to FPC13

Not Approved: You must cancel any arrangement made with the specialty Consultant and discuss with your Educational Supervisor/Foundation Programme Director why the leave has not been approved.


Process Flowchart


This process must be followed even if the taster takes place during annual leave and weekly leave. This is due to insurance reasons as some locations incur "hidden" costs to NES.


Details of individuals to contact for more information or to discuss arranging a taster are available here.  

Please also see the link to the pages on the UKFPO website here.


This page was last updated on: 05.04.2024 at 12.17