Trainee Guide

This section is for trainees and aims to answer some common questions.

Checklist for new ST1s

Enrol with Royal College of Ophthalmologist: Once you have a national training number (NTN), register yourself with the College. This is required to complete training programme, exams and assessments.

Complete Form R (Part A): Complete and submit a Form R - to the school. This is required to maintain your NTN and commence the training programme. You will also need to complete and submit a Form R (Part B) every year prior to your Annual Review of Competence Progression (ARCP). Email it to: 

Contact your training programme director (TPD) - contacts - to find out who your educational supervisor is and book in a meeting with them.

Register with ePortfolio: There are many workplace based assessments to complete, so begin on them as soon as possible. In addition, the portfolio also is used as a CPD record. There are help guides on the site.

Register with eyelogbook: to record all procedures and simulation.

Learn about the curriculum: Know what your assessments and required competencies are. Not just for ST1 year but have a look at the next 7 years too! Information about this can be found in the Royal College of Ophthalmologists website. Tip: also try going to the "Progress per OST Stage" in your eportfolio under evidence.

Arrange an initial meeting with your educational supervisor: They will provide you with academic support. Use the meeting to decide on your personal development plans and how you will achieve them, also discuss other goals you have and how you will complete required assessments.

Check the school study days: There are many study days in August and September for new ST1 trainees, you may need to book these before you start your post, to be able to give 6 weeks notice. Make sure you have a timetable detailing postgraduate teaching, local meetings, case conferences or journal clubs. Your educational supervisor may be able to advise.

Attend trust and departmental induction: Contact the trust you are starting in. Know the time, date and place for the induction.

Sources of help

If you need help your clinical or educational supervisor may well be able to assist you. You can also contact your local college tutor. A local issue may be addressed by contacting the trust director for education which may not be a ophthalmologist. If a concern is not addressed, you can escalate by contacting the training programme director (TPD), or if necessary, the head of school.

Fellow trainees can be a useful source of help and support. There are also trainee representatives for regional ophthalmic training committees (ROTC) and the national ophthalmic trainee group (OTG).

There are also professional support services available. HEE provide services for trainees across the region, which can be found here. In addition, your trust may offer a service, contact your line manager or occupational health for further information.

Study leave

Trainees are entitled to 10 days study leave per year. Expenses for approved study leave can be claimed back from the school of ophthalmology. For approval of study leave from the school of ophthalmology it is required to submit a completed study leave request form (SL-A) , to your local officer, which may be a college tutor or training programme director. This should be at least 6 weeks before. If approved, you will receive an email from the school with instructions on how to claim all your expenses after the study leave. Receipts will be required.

Requests for study leave abroad should be submitted in writing/email to the head of school. Approval will not cover all expenses, but will be a bursary. Further funding can be obtained by other sponsorship or award.

Local or compulsory study days will be prioritised. It may be required to be presenting work at national or international meetings for approval to be given. Seek advice from your educational supervisor or college tutor when planning study leave.

Travel and accomodation

Excess travel expenses to a placement, and reimbursement of relocation expenses are the responsibility of the employing NHS Trusts. The exact arrangements and entitlements can vary between hospitals. Therefore, trainees are strongly encouraged to discuss eligibility with the relevant Trust prior to taking up an appointment, and when making claims.


Trainees unable to attend placements due to sickness should inform their local manager at the earliest opportunity with an estimated length of absence. 

In the case of absence due to sickness for three days or more a self certification form must be sent within the first seven days of absence. In the case of absence due to sickness for more than seven consecutive days, a doctors certificate must be provided for your employing trust. 

Special arrangements: LTFT & OOP

Both Health Education England - Yorkshire and the Humber and the School of Ophthalmology aim to support trainees from a variety of backgrounds, social and family circumstances in developing a career in ophthalmology and following specialist interests.

 This is done by:

  • Helping eligible trainees to pursue Less than Fulltime Training
  • Out of programme experience in research or overseas placements

Less than full time training (LTFT) is supported by the HEE School of Ophthalmology. Please visit this page which has details on LTFT policy and guidance on application. We expect our trainees to have discussed their plans with their educational supervisor and the training programme director prior to sending the application to HEE. 

Out of Programme experience/training/research (OOP) is encouraged by the School of Ophthalmology and can enrich training experience. Typical OOP experience and training include clinical placements within the UK and overseas. Trainees have also taken OOP research to undergo academic placements and pursue postgraduate degrees (ie: PhD). Please be advised that OOP may delay CCT. For further information including application forms, please visit this link. Applications should be made early and following discussion with your educational supervisor and training programme director.

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