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Severn School of O&G Statement on Out Of Programme (OOP)

The Severn School of O&G has a strong history of supporting our trainees in taking an Out Of Programme (OOP) period in their training. We firmly believe that it can be an enriching and beneficial experience for the trainee, especially in a 7-year run-through training programme.

The School would wish to continue supporting OOP and will do so, but in the context of considering the effect on the whole training programme and in particular, the wellbeing of the individual trainees remaining in the programme.

When a trainee takes an OOP, it inevitably leaves a gap in the rotation. These “gaps” are spread fairly around the region, but in the current climate of being unable to fill locum or clinical fellow posts, the effect on the quality of the other trainees’ training must be taken into consideration. There is also concern regarding the effect that a reduced number of junior doctors has on patient safety. As a school, our primary responsibility lies firmly with patient safety and the provision of quality training

We have always asked trainees for a mandatory 6-month notice period for the next rotation, for application for OOPR/OOPE/OOPC/OOPP. The trainee needs to apply in February for OOP from 1st August, or August for OOP 1st February. For OOPs starting at different times to the rotation (i.e not in Feb or August, a period of 6 months still needs to be given- see below).

This notice is reduced to a minimum of 3 months for an OOPR (when specifically funded by a nationally competitive personal grant and only if working for a higher degree), or an OOPT (for Sub-Spec Training only/ ATSM Advanced Laparoscopy). 

Any deviations from this policy are at the discretion of the employing Trust.

The Deanery will presently support OOP requests up to a limit of 25% OOP at any one time, this limit will depend on the number of trainees available for active training ST3-7, in that particular year. With this limit in mind we may need to assess OOP requests in terms of priority.  The prioritisation is:

  1. OOPC For significant personal issues with full support from the Trainee Support Unit
  2. OOPT Training (where specific training is not available within the Severn Deanery)
  3. OOPT Training (sub-specialty training programme/ ATSM Advanced lap)
  4. OOPR Research (nationally competitive personal grant funded and for higher degree)
  5. OOPR Research (nationally competitive project grant funded for higher degree)
  6. OOPR Research (trust/local grant/other institution funded for higher degree)
  7. OOPE Research (research experience only, no higher degree)
  8. OOPE Experience (experience to enhance a career in O&G, not offered within the Severn O&G training programme)
  9. OOP Pause (pause in training to undertake a non-training NHS post, gain further experience, work in a related specialty or concentrate on their well being)
  10. OOPC Career Break (worthwhile life experience to pursue other interests, beneficial to character development)
  11. OOPC Other reasons different from above


Applications for an OOP will be considered by the Postgraduate Dean after submission of the OOP application form.  Applications will be reviewed by the school of O & G on 1st February and 1st August each year, so that prioritisation can take place.

For OOP commencing February 2023 to August 2023, applications need to be submitted by 3 August 2022, and applications for OOP commencing August 2023 to February 2024, by 1 February 2023.

Other applications with the appropriate notice period (see above), will be considered in the interim months, but can only be granted if the 25% threshold for OOP vacancies has not been reached. Special consideration will be given for OOPC in conjunction with the PSW.

The application form and further information about an OOPP can be found here.