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Guidance relating to Tasters during the COVID-19 pandemic can be found here.


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 the specialty and promote careers reflection. During your Foundation training you may apply for a maximum of two Taster weeks. Tasters may be taken at any time from the end of the first post in F1 through to the end of F2. Normally we would suggest that the optimum time is during the last post in F1 (April - July) and the first post in F2 (August - December). 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. Aims and objectives must be submitted as part of the Taster Evaluation and be included as part of a trainee's e-Portfolio.

To fully benefit from Tasters, Foundation doctors should discuss their career aspirations with their Educational Supervisor and review their requirements for Tasters and the timing thereof around the middle of the F1 year.


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 placements and obtain written acceptance from a supervising Consultant. The Scottish Foundation School will only approve tasters within your current region of training unless the experience cannot be provided locally e.g. remote and rural GP.  The School will not approve Tasters outwith 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:

  • 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 make sure that you specify on Turas the specialty in which the taster will be undertaken. All Study Leave applications must be made 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.
  • 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.


After the taster the trainee will need to provide:

  • Written confirmation of attendance from the supervising Consultant which should be included in the trainee’s e-portfolio.
  • Taster Evaluation Form – the trainee should reflect on their experience and consider whether their original aims and objectives were met by the taster. This report should be discussed with the Educational Supervisor and included in the trainee’s e-portfolio.

The Process

Step 1: Identify the specialty in which you want to experience a taster.

Step 2: Approach a relevant Consultant and obtain written permission to spend time in their specialty, agreeing the number of days and dates.

Step 3: Discuss this taster with your Educational Supervisor/Foundation Programme Director and complete a Study Leave Application via Turas. Please make sure that you specify on Turas the specialty in which the taster will be undertaken.

Approved: Following the taster you must complete a Taster Evaluation Form and upload to e-portfolio.

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.

Additional information regarding Tasters in Psychiatry can be found here.


This page was last updated on: 12.08.2021 at 15.43