Less than full time training (previously termed flexible 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.


The purpose of this guide is to provide applicants and existing less than full time trainees with advice and guidance on how the less than full time training scheme works, who is eligible to apply and the arrangements necessary to secure approval. The guide is aimed at a trainee target audience, whilst the less than full time training policy is intended for a wider audience, including new applicants and existing less than full time training trainees.


This guide applies to all practitioners whose training is both educationally approved by the Peninsula Postgraduate Medical Education and General Medical Council (GMC) and applies to the following grades:-

  • Foundation Year 1 Trainees
  • Foundation Year 2 Trainees
  • Core Trainees (CT1 – CT3)
  • Specialist Training Registrars (ST1 upwards)
  • Specialist Registrars (including LATs)
  • Academic Clinical Fellows (ACF)
  • Academic Clinical Lecturers (ACL)
  • Fixed Term Specialty Training Appointments (FTSTA)

Practitioners appointed to a programme that over-arches with the Severn Postgraduate Medical Education and is administered by a single organisation should refer to the Lead organisation less than full time training policy. The table below details the Lead for over-arching programmes:

Peninsula Severn 
ST3+ General Surgery ST3+ Cardiothoracic Surgery
ST3+ General Surgery All levels Neurosurgery
ST3+ Plastic Surgery ST3+ Renal Medicine
ST3+ Urology All levels Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
    All levels Public Health Medicine
    ST3+ Occupational Medicine




Applications for less than full time training will normally be completed within three months.

Once approved the trainee will be expected to take up the post promptly subject to reasonable notice of a start date to allow appropriate arrangements, such as childcare to be made.

There are 6 key stages to the less than full time training application process as follows:

STAGE 1 - Eligibility Application
STAGE 2 - Eligibility Confirmation
STAGE 3 - LEP Educational Approval
STAGE 4 - Funding Approval
STAGE 5 - LETB Approval
STAGE 6 - Approval Confirmation


StageTimescaleAction RequiredFormCheckbox
Eligibility Application
1 week Trainee to download LFT1 application form from the website, complete and submit to the relevant Manager (refer to Appendix 1). Any relevant supporting information must be included.  LFT1  
Eligibility Confirmation
1 week Subject to approval the trainee will be sent an eligibility confirmation letter. This letter will confirm that the trainee’s personal circumstances make it impractical for them to train on a full-time basis.

Where possible the letter should confirm whether the trainee will be slot-sharing, part time in a full time post or supernumerary. Where this is not stated the trainee MUST contact the relevant School Manager to confirm details of the training placement prior to completing the LFT2 form.

LEP Educational Approval
2 - 3 weeks

Trainee to download the LFT2 form from the website and arrange to meet with their Educational Supervisor (Specialty trainee) / Foundation Programme Director / Training Programme Director (General Practice) at the employing Trust to agree their timetable.

Trainee to agree with their Educational Supervisor (Specialty trainee) / Foundation Programme Director / Training Programme Director (General Practice) the out of hours commitment.

Trainee to meet with Medical Staffing / Rota Coordinator to produce a ‘rota-works’ printout of their timetable showing their actual hours of work and out-of-hours supplement.

(Part 3)

(Part 4)  

(Part 5)

Funding Approval
2 weeks The form requires Trust agreement, typically from the Directorate Manager, that any additional cost will be met. This section must be signed even where the trainee is part-time in a whole-time slot.  LFT2
(Part 6) 
LETB Educational Approval
2 weeks Following approval from the employing Trust the less than full time application requires LETB approval. Depending on grades and/or specialty approval should be sought from the following:-
• Foundation – Head of Foundation School
• Specialty – Training Programme Director
• General Practice – GP Dean
(Part 7)
Approval Confirmation
1 week Approval will only be granted once all relevant signatory approvals have been obtained and the application has been returned to South West Peninsula Postgraduate Medical Education along with a copy of the ‘rota-works’ timetable.

Upon receipt of this confirmation the relevant Manager will formally write to the trainee and employing Trust to confirm the arrangements. The trainee will not be able to commence less than full time training until confirmation has been received from South West Postgraduate Medical Education.

TOTAL APPROXIMATE TIMESCALE 10 weeks Trainees are advised to start the application process a minimum of four months prior to commencing in post. The same timescales apply where trainees rotate between employers.