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Questions for trainees on the STP

Click on the tabs below for further information about the STP.

Am I eligible for a tax and National Insurance refund under the NHS Widening Access Training scheme?

Determining eligibility under the Widening Access Training (WAT) scheme is the responsibility of the trust which employs you. You should contact your HR department directly as only they can establish whether you are eligible and arrange a refund via their payroll system if you are. You can find more information on the WAT scheme on the Gov.uk website and from NHS Employers.

Who should I notify about a sickness absence?

You must notify your employer if you are off sick. Training departments should inform the School of any prolonged sickness absence, for the purposes of monitoring trainee progress.

Can I transfer to a new location within the same specialism?

The regional education and training offices fund each training post within their area. If a trainee needs to move within the region covered and the Trust is able to accommodate them, the funding would have to be transferred by the regional office to the new post. However a transfer outside of the regional education and training office area is more difficult.

Can I change my specialism after I have started the STP?

When you accept the offer of a place on the training programme, you are agreeing to undertake that training in a particular specialism for the duration of the training. Therefore a request to change the specialism cannot be accepted. The only exceptions are for any trainees on the medical physics and clinical engineering programmes as the employer does not require the specialism to be defined until the end of the rotational phase.

Are training departments expected to give study leave to trainees on the STP?

As employees you are entitled to request and take study leave in accordance with local employment policies, however this should only be applicable to study that is not directly attributable to the training programme. Funding for any activities that are not directly related to the training programme should be sought from local training budgets.

What is the School's policy on maternity leave?

It is usually down to local negotiation between the employer, commissioner and University in terms of agreeing a management plan and should be managed in accordance with local terms and conditions of employment. The School does ask to be kept informed so we know when the trainee is due to complete/rotate and the approach will vary depending on the individual circumstances and timing it occurs during their training. We would be happy to advise on a plan once drafted in terms of how that might impact on training etc and based on our wider knowledge of other experiences make recommendations on how you might manage.

Is it acceptable to the School for a department to appoint (to a permanent post) a trainee who has not yet completed their training?

Yes if departments are able to support the completion of training there should be no problem. It is worth speaking to the local education office about the possibility of protecting the trainee's training budget for the last few months to ensure that they are employed by you at the end of the training period. This may not always be possible but certainly worth exploring with your local commissioner. The School would suggest caution for the trainee as it is quite challenging to swap from a pure training role to one that may have different competing demands. However, other departments in this position have been able to strike a sensible workable balance where necessary.

I have been asked to cover weekends and out of hours shifts even though my contract states I am a supernumerary trainee. Does the School have any guidance regarding this?

We would not actively encourage trainees to participate continuously in weekend/out of hours working, however good experience may be gained from out of hours work. Clearly it would be expected that you are undertaking appropriate work that would not require close supervision. Our concern would be the potential impact this might have on your training during the remainder of the working week.

Is there any guidance about conducting an appraisal for trainees on the STP?

Annual appraisals should be conducted in line with Trust appraisal and performance review processes, as part of the trainee's terms and conditions of employment. Appraisal paperwork will differ from Trust to Trust so it is important to speak to your HR department for further information. Any criteria used to assess a trainee's performance should be as outlined locally but the training officer and trainee can use evidence from the training programme and the professional practice competencies in particular to support this process. It is very good practice to implement appraisal processes separate to the curriculum to ensure trainees are able to perform and develop appropriately as NHS employees as well as trainee healthcare scientists. The training programme does require that trainees complete a multisource feedback (MSF) assessment at two points in their training – normally around 18 months for the first one and then a second just before they complete. This will support any appraisals undertaken as is principally a tool to provide data for reflection on performance and gives useful feedback for self-evaluation. 

Who do I inform of a change of personal details?

Ensure personal records are up-to-date with the employing Trust, on your e-portfolio and with the School.

Who do I speak to when I am having problems with my training?

You must always speak first to your training officer about any problems with your training. The School's professional leads will support training officers if they need further advice.

I am thinking of leaving the STP; who do I need to speak to?

If you are having problems and feel you need to leave the training programme, please discuss this with your host Trust who will try to find a resolution for you. However if you decide to exit the programme, you will be required to take part in an exit interview with your host department and the School. The interview helps the department and the School prepare for any future problems with trainees.