Study Leave

These guidelines are approved by the School of Anaesthesia (Mersey) and are intended to supplement the NHS England - North West guidance available here, and the regular updates from the School via email.

School of Anaesthesia (Mersey) Courses: The School employs a system of ‘top-slicing’ money from each trainee’s study budget to provide a range of courses and meetings for trainees in each stage of training. This improves efficiency by allowing forward planning and reduces bureaucracy as trainees are not required to apply for study leave and claim expenses from the Deanery. As a result, each trainee’s study budget is reduced by a defined amount (see relevant Training Guides page for further information), dependent on the courses which are provided for their stage of training. The list of courses and meetings which are ‘top-sliced’ can be found on the Courses & Meetings page. These courses have been pre-approved by the TPDs and Head of School and do not require a study leave application to the Deanery, they only require local approval for attendance from the rota co-ordinator.

Other Courses: Any courses which are not ‘top-sliced’ require an application to the Deanery for study leave via the Accent system. Further information is available from the NHS England - North West study leave page here. Leave may be taken and expenses claimed dependent on local and national guidelines and the trainee’s remaining study budget. The study budget year runs from 1st March, so trainees may wish to factor this in when applying for courses for which they intend to claim expenses. Please ensure you apply for study leave at least 6 weeks before undertaking a course to ensure you can claim expenses back. The Deanery require a reason for late requests and do not accept retrospective applications. Trainees then have 3 months from the course end date to complete the expenses reimbursement process.

Leave: The total time away from clinical training due to annual leave and study leave combined during a 3-month period should be no more 15-16 days (pro rata for LTFT trainees). This reflects the fact that most trainees have 32 days of annual leave (dependent on time working in the NHS) and 30 days of study leave per year, which should be spread out evenly so trainees gain an adequate amount of clinical experience to meet curriculum requirements. This may be particularly relevant around examinations, so trainees need to plan their leave at these times carefully. Of these 30 days of study leave, 7 days may be taken as private study leave at the discretion of your Educational Supervisor, with attendance at an examination counting towards this.

Self-Development Time: All trainees are allowed 2 hours per week (pro rata for LTFT trainees) of self-development time, sometimes called supported professional activity (SPA) time. This can be used for any non-clinical work but is primarily intended for portfolio and other training-related administrative tasks. Trainees should therefore aim to take this regularly and try to avoid taking it as half days or full days off if possible. This should be arranged locally and taken at a mutually acceptable time for trainee and rota co-ordinator.

Teaching: Study leave may be taken for teaching on courses at the discretion of the Head of School. If you wish to request study leave for teaching, please contact Dr Simon Mercer ( before applying. If study leave is granted, trainees are expected to collect feedback on teaching and reflect on this within the Lifelong Learning Platform.

Life Support Courses: Life support courses such as Advanced Life Support (ALS) or Advanced Paediatric Life Support (APLS) are not required by either 2010 or 2021 RCoA Curricula and are therefore not a requirement at ARCP. The cost of these courses may be claimed from any remaining study budget, but this amount may not be enough to cover the full cost of the course after top-slicing. The cost of the Generic Instructor Course (GIC) may also be claimed from any remaining study budget, but again this unliklely to cover the full cost of the course. If in doubt, please contact Dr Simon Mercer ( before applying for a course.

Exceptions: Expenses may not be claimed for the following courses, in line with local and national requirements to ensure study budgets are used responsibly and represent good value for money. As such the following courses may only be approved for study leave time:
MSA Exam Courses (except Booker Course)

If you have any questions regarding the information above, please contact Dr Simon Mercer ( before applying for a course.

North West