My experience of applying for OOP (that is, time spent Out Of Programme for registrars on medical training programmes) was somewhat complicated and challenging… And much of this challenge stemmed from a poor understanding of the ins and outs of OOP. My case was initially declined; however I challenged the decision,re-outlined my case which led to review and approval.
I’ve had a number of registrars ask me about how I went about applying, my experience and what advice I would pass onto others. So here is an overview of what I think all registrars and supervisors ought to know about OOP.
All registrars on medical training programmes (including public health specialty registrars) are able to apply for time Out Of Programme (OOP). The maximum time you can apply for is 36 months. Approved time OOP can, but doesn’t have to contribute to your training time for CCT (this should be negotiated prospectively). So there are two negotiations which need to take place; a) can you have time OOP and b) will this contribute to your CCT.
There are 4 different types:
The Gold Guide states that you need to be registered on a medical training programme (evidenced by having a National Training Number (NTN)) and have been training in your specialty for at least 12 months. However in some cases registrars are able to negotiate OOP time prior to starting training – check out the Gold Guide for further information on this.
There are three things I would advise you to become familiar with.
From my experience, I believe the following are important in order to have your application approved:
If you get knocked back but feel you have a good case, don’t give up!
Ensure decisions are documented; request for the outcome and reasons for the decision to be written in a letter or e-mail. Ensure your challenge is documented clearly in writing. Note and get support from people who are supportive of your case (educational supervisors, academic supervisors, mentors…etc). The decision process can take some time, however it is worth persevering. Remember that it is your training experience at the end of the day – so it is worth fighting for!