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Out of Programme Activities (OOPE, OOPR and OOPT)

The abbreviation OOPA is used as a general collective term for all types of out of programme activities. The definitions of the three types of formal OOPA are given below.


  • Out of Programme Experience (OOPE): any out of programme activity that is not to be counted towards the trainee's CCT.
  • Out of Programme Research (OOPR): a period of research from which the trainee may receive partial credit towards their CCT.
  • Out of Programme Training (OOPT): a period of training undertaken outside the trainee's own training programme that is to be counted (whether partially or in its entirety) towards their CCT. OOPT includes secondment to another training programme, a Fellowship post (whether in the UK or abroad) and "acting up" as a consultant that is undertaken outside of the trainee's training programme.  Trainees "acting up" at a location within their home training programme do not need to apply for approval.

Trainees may also consider taking a break in their training.  Whist this is not technically an activity, for clarity it is described as an "Out Of Programme Career Break" (OOPC).  Breaks of this nature should be notified to the Training Team at the College through submission of a completed RCR OOP form.  The College will then revise the trainee's expected CCT date.

A trainee who is considering undertaking any sort of OOPA needs to start developing their plans well in advance and to discuss these with the head of their training programme and their postgraduate dean.  They will also need to seek RCR approval by submitting the relevant e-portfolio form. All OOPA permission must be obtained prospectively. The GMC will not approve credit for any OOPA which has already commenced at the time of the application.

The GMC has established procedures for the approval of OOPR and OOPT, which need to be observed in order for a trainee to receive credit from the activity towards their CCT. The only exception to this is when the OOPT is for the purpose of a secondment to a GMC approved established training post within another UK training programme; the GMC's approval is not required but the need for deanery and College approval remains.

An application to the GMC for OOPR or OOPT approval must be made by the deanery. The GMC will not accept applications from trainees, their training supervisors or the RCR. Trainees who are considering OOPA from which they wish to obtain credit, therefore, need to liaise with their deanery/HEE and the College at an early stage in order that formal approval from the GMC may be obtained before the OOPR or OOPT begins. It is strongly recommended that the initial application to the RCR is made at least three months in advance of the OOPA starting - and preferably six months should be allowed. If prospective GMC approval is not obtained, the trainee cannot receive credit towards their CCT.

Out of Programme Activities FAQs

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