Less Than Full-Time training is available for doctors and dentists who are unable to train full-time because of “well-founded individual reasons” (European Union Council Directive 93/16-/EEC 1993). It is the responsibility of the Associate Dean for LTFT Training to decide for each individual whether they have a “well-founded” reason. This decision will be made by the Associate Dean for the region in which the trainee wishes to work.

Doctors or dentists unable to work full-time will be placed in the following categories:

Category 1

  • Disability or ill health (this may include those on in vitro fertility programmes)
  • Responsibility (men and women) for children
  • Caring for ill/disabled partner, relative, or other dependent

These result in the individual doctor or dentist being professionally disadvantaged by circumstances, and less able to fulfill their potential on a full-time rather than on a part-time basis.

Category 2

  • Unique opportunities for personal/professional development
  • Service to the wider NHS
  • Other reasons

Research should be accommodated within the ordinary training programme. By working with the Programme Directors, nearly all doctors and dentists can be allowed to pursue research as part of their normal training. This applies to both full-time and trainees working flexibly (part-time). It is not the intention of LTFT training to subsidise doctors and dentists doing research. Only in exceptional circumstances would research be considered a reason for training flexibly.

Other well-founded reasons (or a combination of these) may be considered, so that any doctor or dentist making a serious application for LTFT training may be eligible.

Category 3 (Emergency Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynaecology and Paediatrics)

This is a pilot scheme which is in its third year for Emergency Medicine and introduced in September 2019 for O+G and Paediatrics. These pilot schemes are for one year in the first instance and have to be renewed. There is a window of opportunity to apply which was in November this year. Depending on how the pilot goes we do not currently know if the scheme will be extended for Paediatrics and O+G beyond March 2021.

Other factors

LTFT training is principally for those who are unable to work full-time. If a doctor or dentist is able to work full-time without prejudicing their physical or mental health, it is difficult (but not impossible, on the merit of each individual case) to justify using limited LTFT training funds to allow them to train less than full-time.

Normally all Category 1 applicants will be funded. Although both categories are eligible for LTFT training, when funds are limited, applicants in Category 2 (and also some in Category 1) may be placed in order of priority for funding. Occasionally a Category 2 applicant may be considered a higher priority applicant than some in Category 1. Trainees may not be funded automatically by another deanery if they change regions.

Priority for funding for applicants may be influenced by factors such as:

  • Specialty – Government directives may give priority to particular specialties.
  • Duration of funding – Trainees near the end of training may need funding for a relatively short period.
  • Candidates able to demonstrate commitment and/or progress.
  • Available funding.

All regions try to accommodate eligible applicants using a combination of slot shares (two LTFT trainees occupying a full-time slot) and working in ‘full-time’’ placements with reduced hours. Occasionally a supernumerary post may be available. There are variations in the total LTFT training budget between regions. As the funding situation can vary, some trainees may start LTFT training immediately, whereas others in a similar situation may have to wait.

Other arrangements may apply to other countries (Scotland, Wales and Ireland).

The fact that a doctor is deemed eligible for LTFT training does not imply that this is the only recommended method of training, nor to suggest or propose that s/he should be appointed to a specific post.

These guidelines are issued for information and without prejudice, as each individual case will be considered on its merits.