Less than Fulltime Training (LTFT)

Postgraduate medical training on a less than full-time (LTFT) basis is well established.  Previously known as flexible training, now entitled LTFT it differs from full-time training only in the period of time over which it is undertaken.  Anaesthesia has a reputation for successfully managing and delivering high quality training for those wishing to train less than full time. Over the past decade the number of doctors in this type of flexible training has increased, supported by the Royal Colleges and the Deaneries / LETBs in recognition of the rising number of doctors wishing to work on a less than full time basis for a variety of reasons. LTFT training in anaesthesia has a well-deserved reputation for being family friendly and attracts doctors seeking the opportunities and challenges of training in a busy acute specialty whilst still being able to take responsibility for caring for children or other dependents. There are few barriers to part time working and the majority of flexible trainees say that they are well supported and find their work extremely fulfilling. Figures taken from the 2015 GMC Trainee Survey report that 12% of trainees in anaesthesia are less than full time.  This number appears to have plateaued over the last two years but rose gradually before that from 9% in 2009.  Although a large number of anaesthetists are LTFT for part of their training programme only a few remain so for the majority of the programme. It is generally easy to move back into full time training after discussion with the Training Programme Director.

At a consultant level 8.5% work part time in job shares or have negotiated less than 10 PA contracts. This flexibility recognises the importance of family or commitments outside Anaesthesia but encourages continuing involvement with the specialty and maintains a link for career progression.

Training recognition is awarded pro-rata, e.g. if working 60% then ten months equals six months whole time equivalent (WTE). Out of hours duty should be organised pro rata and include the full range of duties and shifts. An individual trainee should be neither advantaged nor disadvantaged by training LTFT. The LTFT trainee will be reviewed on an annual basis (ARCP) and move between posts on the rotation to ensure they receive a programme that is educationally comparable with that undertaken by full-time trainees.

Within the College, the Bernard Johnson Advisor (BJA LTFT) has specific responsibility for less than full time training. The current BJA LTFT is Dr Susan Underwood, Consultant Anaesthetist at University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust. Further information on Shared Parental Leave is available here.

Membership during parental leave

Those undertaking extended periods of maternity or paternity leave may also wish to consider putting their membership in to abeyance, effectively suspending their subscription to the College whilst they are out of training.  To discuss this option, and what it includes, please contact the Membership Department at membership@rcoa.ac.uk or on 020 7092 1700.

General Medical Council (GMC) statement on less than full time (LTFT) training

The GMC has published an update to their position statement on less than full-time (LTFT) training. This revises the 2011 statement and sets out conditions to make sure that the duration, level and quality of LTFT training, is not less than that of continuous training. You can read the revised statement here...>

Contact information

RCoA Training Department

For information on GAT representatives please visit their website here.


Helpful tips for managing a successful transfer to LTFT
Explanation of options for LTFT