Study Leave

GP trainees in their General Practice year (ST3) are entitled to 30 days (60 sessions) study leave.  During their General Practice placement in ST2 they are entitled to 15 days (30 sessions).  The entitlements are the same whether the trainee is full or part time.   

This includes mandatory attendance at the weekly half day release (HDR) sessions. Study leave may only be taken with prior approval from your trainer/supervisor.

During any break in the GPST HDR this session should remain an educational session. It can be used in a self-directed manner or for targeted educational activity in agreement between the trainee and trainer, i.e. the trainee still has 7 clinical and 3 educational sessions that week.

When trainees take leave during the week the ratio of clinical: educational sessions should be maintained with flexibility being exercised by both the practice and the trainee when required. A suggested and appropriate balance for any given week might be:

5 Day working week: 7clinical: 3 educational sessions

4 Day working week: 6 clinical: 2 educational sessions

3 Day working week: 4 clinical: 2 educational sessions

2 Day working week:  3 clinical: 1 educational session

1 Day working week:  2 clinical: 0 educational sessions

(Or the pro rata amount for those trainees in LTFT placements).

Attendance at Deanery half-day or day release courses, including any appropriate 'Regional Teaching Events', is counted as part of the study leave entitlement. This attendance is mandatory for trainees in GP placements.

For a 12 month placement in General Practice, 60 sessions are allocated for study leave, 46 of which are already incorporated into the HDR (or additional SDL when the HDR is not in session).Therefore a total of 14 study leave sessions remain for courses etc which should only be granted following the prospective agreement between the trainee and the educational supervisor. (The pro rata amounts would apply to trainees in 6 month placements.)

Time for private study e.g. to prepare for an examination or to write up research will be limited and would be up to a maximum of 10 sessions per annum prior to an examination.

If an approved course takes place when the trainee is not in work then the trainee does not use up any study leave allowance for this, however the trainee does not accrue any time in lieu.

Applications should normally be received at least six weeks before the course.  Retrospective claims will not be accepted.

GP trainees in hospital posts should refer to the All Wales Study Leave policy

Principles of Study Leave

  • Enhance clinical skills, education and training.
  • Be planned as far in advance as possible, as an integral part of the education and training process.
  • Provide education and training not easily acquired in the clinical setting or locally.
  • Support the delivery of curriculum outcomes.
  • Be equitable across and between general practice placements.

Study Leave Entitlement

ST2s will have a study leave budget of £300 (6 months in practice)

ST3s will have a study leave budget of £600 (12 months in practice)

Any budget remaining at the end of ST2, will not be carried over to ST3. Please note that these claims can only be made whilst in a GP practice post.

The following are not counted against the annual study leave allowance:

  • Other bleep free teaching time within the Health Board in which the trainee is based and involvement in NHS activities such as audit, risk management and clinical governance activities intrinsic to employment in the NHS.
  • Attendance at ARCP feedback meetings.

The following will normally be part of the allowance:

  • Attendance at Deanery half-day (HDR) or day release courses including regional teaching events which take the trainee away from service.
  • The half day release (HDR) in ST2 and ST3 general practice placements. GP training schemes that run the half day release for ST1 and ST2 placements must refer to their local Programme Director for advice.
  • Leave to sit examinations necessary for the career advancement of the trainee in his/her chosen specialty is permitted from within the 30 day study leave allowance; however only two such attempts in total or per exam phase per calendar year are permitted, it may be necessary for 'annual leave' to be taken for third and subsequent attempts. Examination fees are not reimbursed.
  • Leave for private study is allowed for all doctors in training above Foundation grade but is limited to a maximum of five working days within the Study Leave twelve month period against the annual Study Leave entitlement. No expenses are paid for private study even if leave is granted. Trainees should not be contacted whilst on approved Study Leave. 

Out of Programme Experience

Study Leave for trainees on out of programme (OOP) will not be supported financially as the funding will be required for the trainee filling the post vacated.

Trainees working Less Than Full Time

Trainees who are working less than full time will be allocated Study Leave on a pro rata basis. As LTFT training time is longer, the trainee will receive equitable funding to their full time colleagues over the total duration of training.

Maternity Leave

Trainees on maternity leave continue to be entitled to take Study Leave and expenses, within their allowance, during their maternity leave. This is a matter of personal preference for the trainee and in no circumstances should the trainee be explicitly asked to take Study Leave.

Other Paid Employment

Other paid employment must not be taken during any period of Study Leave: infringement of this rule is a disciplinary offence.

CSA courses

The Wales Deanery, together with local RCGP Welsh faculties, has established a range of CSA courses that provide authentic and high quality support to all ST3 trainees in Wales. Utilising our links with RCGP local faculties and Welsh CSA examiners, all trainees will be able to access a one day course which is available across Wales throughout the year, providing the opportunity to prepare for each diet of the CSA examination. The courses are highly rated by previous trainees who have attended, with comments including:

"I got a better understanding of what examiners are looking for in the [CSA] exam."

"I learnt as much from watching as I did from role play."

"Good to practice so many cases and to role play with real actors rather than with each other."

"Good to get honest feedback from CSA examiners."

Further details are available on the RCGP website.

To ensure the success of these courses and to satisfy ourselves that our trainees are receiving quality advice we have implemented a 'Wales first' CSA course policy which ensures study leave reimbursement for trainees if they attend their first CSA preparation course in Wales. However, in exceptional circumstances, reimbursement may be approved for courses outside of Wales.  Please refer to our FAQ document for further information.

CSA Support Sessions (post CSA fail)

For each trainee that fails the CSA a common reaction between trainee & trainer alike is: where did we go wrong? I don't know where to improve? At this point, the Wales deanery now provides the opportunity for a CSA examiner to sit down with those involved (trainer and/or trainee) to discuss the relevant issues & improve trainer awareness of the CSA exam. The content of the session could include viewing videos, going through the exam feedback, observing consultations, role play etc. The trainee and/or trainer will be expected to carry out this meeting instead of their weekly tutorial session.

Feedback from these sessions have been very positive:

"My trainee and I found the session excellent. We were both impressed and encouraged by the remarks of the CSA examiner, especially of the detailed analysis of the videos watched. After reflection my trainee was expressing more confidence and determination towards their upcoming CSA re-sit."

All CSA Support Sessions will initially be facilitated by the GP Support Team once the latest CSA results have been issued. This will come in the form of an email to the trainee, their Educational Supervisor and a local CSA Examiner. It will then be the responsibility of the trainee to arrange a suitable date and time for this session to take place.

Procedure for Reimbursement

The Wales Deanery has introduced a new process for applying for study leave whilst in a GP Practice Post (applications for annual leave remain unchanged).

We no longer accept paper applications and you will need to apply using Intrepid Leave Manager. As you will have already used Leave Manager in your hospital posts, you can continue to use your current log in details. If you are having problems with the log in, please let us know at

The request will initially be sent via Intrepid to your Practice Manager, who will approve or decline your time off. The Wales Deanery will receive a notification and will approve or decline the budget.

Once you have attended the course you will be able to claim back any fees and expenses via NHS Shared Services Partnership e-Expenses system

If you have any problems using the Intrepid Leave Manager, please refer to the applicant user guide that is available in the help section.

Appeal Procedure

If you wish to appeal your refusal of Study Leave the procedure can be found here.  A trainee should submit their appeal, in writing, using the 'Notification of Appeal Form'.

Contact Details

GP Study Leave Administrator, HEIW, GP Section, Ty Dysgu, Cefn Coed, Nantgarw, Cardiff, CF15 7QQ








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