Time Out of Foundation Programme

Before completing your application, please familiarise yourself with the guidance notes below. 

The application form needs to be returned to the Foundation School by Sunday 13th January 2019.

Guidance Notes

From Foundation Programme Reference Guide: 

Time out of Foundation Programme (TOFP) 

7.79     Foundation doctors who want to take time out of the Foundation Programme (TOFP) should first discuss this with their educational supervisor. 

7.80     The duration of TOFP will usually be for 12 months to avoid foundation doctors becoming out of phase with the Foundation Programme. However, foundation schools may grant TOFP for longer periods. Foundation schools will typically only grant TOFP at the end of F1 so that the time out is taken between the end of F1 and the beginning of F2. Time out during F1 or F2 placements will only be considered in exceptional circumstances. 

7.81     Foundation doctors may ask to take time out of their two-year foundation programme for a number of reasons, including:

  • gaining clinical experience outside of the Foundation Programme
  • undertaking a period of research
  • a planned career break.

7.82     Foundation doctors who take time outside of UK national health service employment as part of the TOFP process are able to count prior national health service employment for the purpose of incremental credit and starting salary, sick pay and maternity leave entitlements subject to the terms of service. Any service or employment outside the national health service will not count for national health service pension purposes. More information about terms of service in each of the countries can be found at: NHS Employers (for England and Wales); www.gov.scot (for Scotland); and www.dhsspsni.gov.uk (for Northern Ireland). 

7.83     Foundation doctors who take time out of the Foundation Programme are advised to consult the GMC website about options for GMC registration. A discussion with the educational supervisor, FTPD/T or FSD is also advisable. 

7.84     Foundation doctors who take time out of F1 to undertake training outside the UK will require a Certificate of Experience from their medical school confirming they have successfully completed the requirements of F1 in order to apply for full GMC registration. No other evidence will be accepted. If the foundation doctor cannot provide the Certificate of Experience they are not eligible for full registration and will be limited to applying for provisional registration on their return. Further guidance can be found on the GMC website: http://www.gmc-uk.org/doctors/registration_applications/uk_internships.asp. 

7.85     If, after discussion, a doctor decides to go ahead with their request to take time out, they should fill in a TOFP request form and send it to the FSD (a national TOFP form is published on the UKFPO website at www.foundationprogramme.nhs.uk although deaneries/foundation schools may have their own forms). The request will be reviewed in line with the foundation school’s procedures. 

7.86     The FSD will need to receive such requests by the end of the sixth month of the F1 year unless there are exceptional circumstances. 

7.87     The FSD may set an upper limit on the number of foundation doctors who will be permitted to take TOFP, as there are a limited number of places in F2 programmes. 

7.88     If the FSD agrees to TOFP, the foundation doctor will be able to return to their foundation school at the end of the agreed period but not necessarily to the same LEP or rotation as originally allocated. 

7.89     If a foundation doctor’s request for time out has been agreed but their plans change, the foundation school will try to arrange an appropriate training opportunity for the doctor at short notice but the school cannot guarantee to do so. 

7.90     It is the foundation doctor’s responsibility to tell their FSD six months before the start date of their F2 year that they plan to return to the Foundation Programme in accordance with an agreed process. If the foundation doctor does not contact the FSD as agreed, the foundation school is no longer required to hold a F2 rotation and the foundation doctor would need to apply for a vacant F2 appointment in open competition. 

7.91     Foundation doctors may appeal against the decision of the FSD not to grant TOFP. The foundation school will publish and manage an appeals process. Foundation doctors may normally appeal against the decision on the grounds that the process was not applied with appropriate diligence or due care or that there is evidence of prejudice, bias or conflict of interest in the handling of the application. The appeal should be heard by a panel comprising at least three people, none of whom were involved in the original decision. 

7.94     Medical students and foundation doctors must act in accordance with the GMC’s guidance in Good Medical Practice on accepting posts and then refusing them, i.e. they must give the foundation school sufficient time to make suitable arrangements to meet patient and service needs. Appointees and employees are expected to meet the terms and conditions of their contract if they wish to resign (see 10.54 – 10.55 and 11.50 – 11.51 resignation).


  1. In addition to the permitted annual leave and study leave entitlements, trainees may require unplanned leave from a programme. Where this leave exceeds 4 weeks in the F1 or F2 year or 3 weeks in any 4 month placement, a trainee will usually be required to spend an appropriate period of additional time training in order to complete the programme. This is to fulfil the ‘time based’ aspect of the Foundation Programme (FP Reference Guide, 11.1). 

  2. Trainees who take time out of programme where statutory employment rights are involved (e.g. maternity leave) will continue to have full entitlement to those rights.


  1. In the first instance, discuss your plans with your Educational Supervisor and Trust Foundation Programme Director. 

  2. Complete the TOFP application form, and obtain the signatures required. 

  3. Your completed form and supporting documentation must be submitted to the Foundation School Manager via SEVfoundation.sw@hee.nhs.uk.  The deadline for submissions is Sunday 13th January 2019. 

  4. Incomplete or incorrectly completed forms will not be considered. 

  5. The Foundation School will notify you of the outcome of your application. 

  6. If you are unsuccessful, you may lodge an appeal against the decision.