NHS Health Education England

NHS Health Education England

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Considering your options

Are there flexible training options?
What are my options for working abroad? 
I am considering a career outside of medicine
What other resources can I access to explore my options? 



Less than full-time training (LTFT)

LTFT training is training part-time for those with well-founded personal reasons, usually those with the domestic commitments of young children or dependent relatives, or those who cannot work full time for health reasons.  The part-time training, which is often 50% but may be as high as 80% of full-time with pro-rata on-call commitments, results in a proportional lengthening of training. 

There are currently many trainees in the East Midlands, across all specialties and training grades doing LTFT (a recent estimate suggested over 500).  Health Education England - East Midlands supports LTFT although availability can be constrained by the ability of the employing Trusts to accommodate LTFT trainees within the service.  If after reading the relevant section on LTFT on our website (see either the Foundation Programme, General Practice or Secondary Care pages, as appropriate) you wish to apply, please complete the web based application or contact the relevant administrator detailed for more information.

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Working Abroad

Arranging to work abroad is a complex process and the following points may be useful.  Do visit the Health Careers - working abroad website for a more expansive discussion of the factors to be considered.

What are you considering doing?

Think carefully about what you are hoping to gain from working abroad.  Are you considering going abroad with the intention of doing clinical work, voluntary work, expanding your knowledge and experience in a particular area?  Think about what the benefits will be, both personally and professionally.

When's the 'best' time to go?

Although there is not a simple answer to this question, advice from your HEE local office and training programmes suggest that there will be implications to be considered whichever option is chosen.

Going after medical school: Check that you wil still be eligible to apply for the foundation programme later on by looking at the most up to date information and guidance on the UKFPO website.

Going after F1: This may depend on your individual circumstances, e.g. whether you want to do your F2 year abroad or take time out of foundation training.  Please contact your foundation programme director, Foundation School or Foundation Programme section of the website for further advice.

Going after completing foundation: This option ensures that you have the requisite competencies signed off to be eligible to apply for specialty training but will again depend on your individual circumstances as to whether this is right for you as an option.

Going during specialty training: You can get a placement abroad during your specialty training which could count towards your accredited training.  Read the Gold Guide on guidelines for "Out of programme" training" (OOPT).  Some doctors aim to spend time after qualification as a GP or Consultant to work abroad and this can be a useful addition to your CV and career experience overall.

Give yourself enough time to plan effectively

  • There are many aspects to take into consideration; visas, indemnity, exams, registration, and immigration issues, let alone the availability of jobs to go to and practical things like accommodation. 
  • Plan well in advance - gather as much information and plan as early as you possibly can.
  • Discuss your plans with the appropriate people depending on your stage of training.
  • Make sure you are clear about the requirements and restrictions with regard to training and accreditation for both the UK and the country to which you are applying.
  • It is equally important to plan for your return to the UK. Think about how you will keep in touch whilst you are away and what you plan to do on your return.

Returning to work in the UK

  • If you intend to apply for specialty training whilst you are abroad you will need to make arrangements to return to the UK for interview.  Think about the implications of this whilst planning for your time abroad.
  • Keep your CV up to date whilst you are away.
  • Maintain a record of your experience whilst abroad e.g. logbooks, reflective journals, evidence of assessments, reports from your educational supervisors abroad. If working abroad as part of your training you may be required to send a report on your experience to the relevant Royal College / Deanery - find out before you go what is required.
  • If you are not coming back to a place on a training programme, remember the skills and experience you have acquired whilst abroad can be extremely valuable following your return to the UK and can be used as a positive discriminator for future jobs.
  • For non UK/EEA nationals it is important to carefully consider any time out of the UK as this could have a direct impact on your immigrations status and qualifying periods related to indefinite leave to remain in the UK.  You are strongly advised to seek specialist advice from the UK Borders Agency

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Careers Outside of Medicine

Although they may not be obvious, there are many other options outside the NHS that can offer you a satisfying and fulfilling career.  This could be in something totally unrelated to your medical studies or it could be in alternative medically related careers.

You may need help in considering alternatives as it can be somewhat overwhelming.  Sources of help can be senior colleagues, family and friends, professional advisers (coaches, counsellors, mentors).  East Midlands trainees may seek one to one support and workshops from the careers team to help further.

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Other resources and support available to help in considering options

If you are considering your options it is important to seek support, by talking to people who can help you in your decision making process.  Think about the different networks you already have around you;

  1. Family and friends
  2. Your educational supervisor
  3. A mentor
  4. Other trainees, colleagues or your educational supervisor. Check out the Careers Champions list to contact East Midlands trainees. You can also seek support from external people and organisations.
  5. A careers adviser (find out further information about our 1:1 Careers Support Service)
  6. We offer a tailored workshop for doctors re-considering specialty/career (find out about our next Informing Your Career Choices workshop)
  7. There are at present a variety of professional services you may choose to access, such as Career Guidance or Coaching.  There is no one regulatory body for Careers Advisers/Coaches.  However, you would expect someone providing such services to have qualifications and experience, and possibly to belong to a professional organisation i.e. Career Development Institute (CDI)Association for Graduate Careers Advisory Services (AGCAS) or Association for Coaching.

Additional Resources

Health Careers

The site has a suite of career planning tools to help all those within the medical field come to a well informed and realistic decision about their career by looking at self-assessment, career exploration, decision making and plan implementation.