South West Public Health Training Programme

Less than Full Time Working Policy


1.1    Less than full time training is the means by which trainees undertake their training when they are unable to work and train full time for “well-founded” reasons. The NHS is committed to flexible working arrangements across the health economy and less than full time training is a method by which trainees can utilise the less than full time training scheme to balance their work and personal lives, as well as assisting those trainees who are in poor health or those who have a disability.


2.1    The purpose of this policy is to clarify the less than full time training process, who is eligible to apply and the conditions you have to adhere to in relation to working less than full time. 


3.1    This policy applies to all trainees taking up appointments in Specialty Training in Public Health training approved by Health Education England and the General Medical Council (GMC) and applies to the following grades within the Public Health Training programme:- 

¨       Specialty Registrars (StR)

¨       Academic Clinical Fellows (ACF)

¨       Clinical Lecturers (CL) 

3.2    This policy is written to complement ‘A Reference Guide for Postgraduate Specialty Training in the UK (Gold Guide, sixth edition)’.   It is recommended that trainees review the Gold Guide in addition to this policy.  Specialty Training Gold Guide


4.1    All trainees, both men and women are eligible to apply for less than full time working.  Those wishing to do so must show that training on a full time basis would not be practical for them for well-founded individual reasons. 

4.2    The only requirement to be permitted to train less than full time is a well founded individual reason.  Reasons for needing to train on a less than full time basis are put into two main categories for the purpose of assessing eligibility. However, these categories are not exhaustive. 


Those doctors in training with:

  • Disability or ill health (this may include ongoing medical procedures such as fertility programmes);
  • Responsibility for caring (men or women) for children;
  • Responsibility for caring for ill/disabled partner, relative or other dependant. 


Those doctors in training with: 

Unique opportunities

  • A trainee is offered a unique opportunity for their own personal/professional development and this will affect their ability to train full time (e.g. training for national/international sporting events or a short-term extraordinary responsibility such as a national committee). 

Religious commitment

  • A trainee has a religious commitment that involves training for a particular role and requires a specific time commitment resulting in the need to work less than full time.

Non-medical development

  • Management courses, law courses, fine arts courses or diploma in complementary therapies. 

4.3    Category 1 applicants will have priority and will be supported by Health Education England. 

4.4    Access to category 2 is dependent on individual circumstances and the availability of funding. 

4.5    Other well-founded reasons will be considered for less than full time training but will be prioritised for the Postgraduate Dean (or nominated deputy) and will be dependent on the capacity of the programme and available resources.

4.6    Subject to eligibility, trainees may train less than full time from the outset or transfer from full time to less than full time (and back again if required). 

4.7    Where a trainee no longer wishes or is no longer eligible to work on a less than full time basis they will return to full time training when an appropriate placement becomes available.  Until that time the trainee will continue to work on a less than full time basis. 

4.8    Any trainee wishing to work less than full time must have obtained a post in open competition.  Unless advertised to the contrary, all competitively appointed posts are offered on a full time basis.  If a trainee wishes to work less than full time they must notify the relevant Manager of their intentions at their earliest opportunity. 

4.8    Anyone training less than full time will not normally be permitted to undertake any other paid or unpaid work.

4.9    The minimum hours that can be worked by a trainee working less than full-time is 50% of the hours of a whole-time trainee.

ACFs Part-time working 

Part-time Academic Clinical Fellowships can be extended up to a maximum of 5 years (up to a maximum of 6 years for GPs and GDPs) with a stipulation that the academic component remains at 25% of full-time equivalent.   

ACLs Part-time working 

Must be agreed with the Academic lead and the training programme before starting part-time working.  


5.1    The above sections describe the clear eligibility criteria for working less than full time.  As stated in Section 4.8 trainees are not allowed to work in another specialty having been granted eligibility to work less than full time.

5.2    Specialty Registrars training in Public Health should be dedicated to the training to enable them to become a future Consultant in Public Health.  The Public Health Training Programme is not able to grant eligibility to less than full time trainees who wish to continue to maintain their skills or train in another specialty. 

5.3    The Public Health Training programme believes that a request to train in a more flexible way in order to continue either training or CPD in another specialty is not an acceptable reason for working less than full time.