Brief Guide to Less Than Full Time (LTFT) training and returning to work for Psychiatry Trainees

For more information about working less than full time and how to apply see Severn's policy

This brief guide is for trainees in the School of Psychiatry and aims to provide additional information about how LTFT training is organised and managed across the School. It also contains some advice about returning to training in psychiatry after taking time out (e.g. OOPE or OOPC, sickness absence, parental leave). 

There are trainees reps for LTFT trainees:

Grace Denton  and Bryony Lewis Core Trainee Representative for LTFT Trainees  

Rosemary King and Emma Salter Higher Trainee Representatives for LTFT Trainees.

Please contact them to be added to the LTFT trainees workplace group or if you want to ask any questions.

The trainer LTFT representative post is currently vacant.

Applying to train LTFT

All of the information you need about how to apply, and the application form is here

Before you apply, please discuss your application with your Training Programme Director. They will be able to give you advice about what is likely to work best for you and for your training. Try to start early: you are expected to give at least three months notice before reducing your working hours. Please let Caroline Stitfall know that you will be applying to train LTFT.

Training LTFT

If you have 'well founded reasons' for your application to train LTFT then you can expect that it will be approved. Unless you are applying for health reasons, you should expect this to be agreed at 60% of full time. You should expect to work three full days a week, although in some psychiatry posts, different arrangements (spreading your working hours over more days) can be negotiated with the educational supervisor for the post you will be working in.

When there is capacity within your training programme, working more than 60% can sometimes be agreed. Where this is possible, it will be agreed for a specified period of time after which you should expect your hours to revert to 60%, although further periods of time working at more than 60% can sometimes be agreed. 

Out of hours commitments will be pro-rata. Study leave, annual leave and bank holidays are also calculated pro-rata.

ARCP will still take place annually as this is a formal requirement for revalidation purposes. ARCP requirements (such as the number of WPBA) are pro-rata.

You will need to work out the date at which you will complete training using the Royal College of Psychiatrist calculator. You should then agree this with your TPD. The new date will be approved at your next ARCP.

For advice about being employed LTFT please contact the Medical HR department at your employing Trust.

Other advice

Most trainees find it helpful to be in contact with other trainees working LTFT. Contact one of the trainee reps to get in touch).

Have a look at the BMA guidance on LTFT training.

Read the GMC statement on LTFT training

Time out of training

Working LTFT often follows a period of time out of training, most commonly on parental leave. We have included some advice about taking time out of training here for this reason. More information about returning to training after time out is available on the SuppoRRT pages.

Pre OOP or Leave

Contact your Training Programme Director (TPD) to talk about your plans. This is best done as soon as possible.

Each NHS Trust within the South West has a SuppoRRT Champion, a consultant who has been appointed to help and support trainees who are returning to training after a period of time away from work. For the main mental health trusts in the Severn region they can be contacted via email.

If pregnant so planning maternity leave:

  • You need to meet with your clinical supervisor to carry out a risk assessment and adjust your duties and safeguards accordingly (this often includes accommodations such as, avoiding lone working, removing you from the on call rota, +/- appropriate replacement duties, whilst remaining on the same pay).
  • You will also need to provide HR with a MatB1 form from your midwife, you need to give an estimated date of starting your parental leave. You need to be aware of maternity policies re leave and pay e.g. that if you go on sick leave after 36 weeks of pregnancy, your maternity leave automatically starts. Look on your employing Trust's intranet pages for your Trust's policy.

During OOP or Leave

Liaise with your TPD/deanery/HR re returning to work.

Ensure you arrange any keeping in touch (KIT) days to happen before using your accrued annual leave (you are usually entitled to 10 paid days in agreement with your supervisor.) You can use these for meetings, shadowing and training days for example. If you do clinical days, you need to consider if you need to get one off cover for KIT days from your Medical Indemnity provider (MDU/MPS etc).

Make sure you use your accrued annual leave (confirm with HR) /accrued study leave and accrued study budget whilst on leave (discuss with TPD).

Discuss with HR and TPD (and if known, with your clinical supervisor) the possibility of a gradual return to work (possibly using annual leave) and gradual resumption of duties.

Ensure the rota co-ordinator is aware that you are LTFT and ask to receive the rota and adjust to the appropriate percentage (HR can give you a breakdown of the appropriate number of on calls for your percentage LTFT).

You should be given notification of your post 12 weeks prior to returning.

You should be given an on call rota 6 weeks prior to returning.