Maternity (Paternity) Leave

Maternity Leave Guidance for Foundation Training (revised Jul 07).pdf14.77 KB
Maternity Guidance for rotational junior doctors in training (Jun 13) - NHS Employers.pdf186.13 KB


This document aims to provide doctors with advice about the training implications of taking a maternity/paternity break during foundation training. It does not cover the employment aspects, which are the responsibility of the employing NHS Trust. Further information about your employment entitlement can be obtained from your Trust’s Medical Staffing Department or from the BMA.

It is acknowledged that your family commitments may impact on your training and so it is important that you consider carefully how you can balance your training with your personal circumstances. You may need to make some difficult but important decisions, which could include delaying completion of foundation programme training, if this seems appropriate for you in the circumstances. However, we would clearly wish to support your decision in any way possible and will consider your needs on an individual basis, within the scope of options available.

Additonal guidance is available on the NHS Employers website including:

Taking time out of Foundation Programme Training

Completion of the two year Foundation Programme depends on performance, competencies and time. Whilst the legislation allows for normal statutory and contractual entitlement to maternity/paternity leave and pay, completion of the two year programme only allows for a break of up to four weeks per year (during the F1 and F2 years), which would include statutory reasons such as maternity/paternity or sickness related absence.

This means that if you have taken more than four weeks off in one year then additional training will need to be arranged by the foundation school to enable you to complete your F1 or F2 year, and progression to the next phase of your training is likely to be delayed. As at present there is only one start date a year, in August, this would mean a delay of one year.

In the first instance, you may wish to explore your maternity/paternity entitlement from the medical staffing department of the employing Trust, but you should also talk to your educational supervisor or foundation programme training director, at the earliest opportunity. Your employer should also be able to provide you with their maternity/paternity procedures and advise you of your obligations to notify your maternity/paternity start date in writing within the appropriate timescale. Guidance is also available in Section 15 of the NHS Terms and Conditions of Service Handbook, which provides details of entitlement to maternity leave and pay for NHS staff.


e-Update: 12 October 2015 - NOW AVAILABLE

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The latest edition of the STFS e-update (12 October 2015) is now available on the e-updates/bulletins page of the STFS website.

Certificates of Merit

Please note the Merit nomination process for 2016/17 is now closed. 2018 will be launched in the summer.


Certificates of merit are awarded at the end of the training year to acknowledge excellence across South Thames Foundation School.

The following categories are available for both F1 and F2:

  • Audit
  • Contribution to Teaching
  • Foundation Learning Portfolio
  • Leadership

In addition, starting this year each Dr Toolbox hospital webpage (including mental health sites) is able to nominate one F1 and one F2 for a Dr Toolbox merit.

Timeline & Process

Nominations are agreed by foundation faculty groups and submitted to STFS.

STFS reviewed nominations and, once confirmed, produced individual certificates which were sent to trusts.

Guidance for trusts

The number of merits available per site/trust is determined by the number of programmes at the site/trust, i.e.

  • Between 1 and 29 programmes per F1/F2 year = 1 nomination per category
  • Between 30 and 59 programmes per F1/F2 year = 2 nominations per category
  • 60 or more programmes per F1/F2 year = 3 nominations per category

Dr Toolbox - One F1 and one F2 for each Dr Toolbox hospital webpage, including mental health hospital webpages.

Foundation faculty groups should decide on the exact mechanism for agreeing nominations locally.

Nominees must have an up-to-date ePortfolio, be progressing well and be expected to receive a satisfactory ARCP outcome.

LAS trainees are ineligible for nomination as they are not appointed by the foundation school but can be nominated for a local award at the trust’s discretion.

In addition to nominations made by trusts, a small number of merits will be awarded by STFS for outstanding foundation school-wide work, e.g. outstanding committee representation.

Foundation faculty groups may, in exceptional circumstances, sacrifice a nomination in the standard categories to nominate an individual for a specified outstanding contribution. However, the total number of merit nominations per site/trust must not exceed the number of merits available, as determined above. NB Dr Toolbox awards may not be sacrificed for an award from another category.


1. What are the criteria for awarding a merit?
STFS has established the following merit categories for both F1 and F2:  
• Audit
• Contribution to Teaching
• Foundation Learning Portfolio
• Leadership  
The criteria/mechanism by which candidates are nominated for a Merit Award is at the discretion of the individual trust. The local nomination process should be discussed and agreed at the local Foundation Faculty Group and then communicated to clinical/educational supervisors and foundation doctors.   

2. What are the criteria for awarding a merit for Dr Toolbox? 
For each Dr Toolbox hospital webpage (including mental health sites) is able to nominate one F1 and one F2 for a Dr Toolbox merit.

3. Can we nominate a LAS doctor?
LAS doctors are not registered with STFS and are, therefore, not eligible for an STFS Merit Award.  

4. How many nominations can we make?
There is a set formula based on the number of approved programmes that each trust has:  
        o Between 1 and 29 programmes per F1/F2 year – 1 nomination per category 
        o Between 30 and 59 programmes per F1/F2 year = 2 nominations per category
        o 60 or more programmes per F1/F2 year = 3 nominations per category  

5. Is it possible to nominate more than the numbers above?
Yes. A trust may decide to nominate more FDs in one category but it would be necessary to nominate fewer in another category.  For example, (based on 29 programmes) instead of nominating a FD for audit and another FD for leadership, it is possible to sacrifice the leadership nomination to add a further nomination for audit.  The total number of nominations for the trust must remain within the maximum limit as detailed above.  

6. Is it possible to sacrifice Dr Toolbox for an award form another category? 
No, it is recommended that you do not sacrifice Dr Toolbox for an award from another category.  

7. Is it possible to not nominate for one category?
Yes. If there are no FDs the trust wishes to nominate for a particular category that is fine.  

8. The number of merits awarded by STFS seems too small for the number of doctors whose excellent work we would like to recognise. Could we award more?
The number of STFS merits is capped, but some trusts choose to award local awards as well, for the same categories or different ones, for example for achieving excellent marks in prescribing assessments . 

9. Do the nominations need to be approved by FTPDs? 
Yes, before submitting the nomination form approval of the nominations should be sought internally from the relevant FTPDs. 

10. Should all local Foundation Faculty Group reps receive a certificate of merit?
Not necessarily. The trust should establish its local criteria/mechanism for nominations (see 1 above).  

11. Do all STFS central reps receive a certificate of merit?
No.  All STFS central reps will be considered for a certificate of merit as they were appointed via a competitive selection process but they will only receive one if they have attended meetings regularly and engaged with their role satisfactorily.   

12. Will an awards ceremony be held?
Trusts are encouraged to present merits at local awards ceremonies.   

Visas - Tier 4 Sponsorship

STFS Tier 4 Activity Report form 2013.doc112.5 KB
STFS Tier 4 agreement form 2013.doc100.5 KB




The UK Foundation Programme Office (UKFPO) has agreed to undertake the role of Tier 4 sponsor on the understanding that they had the full support of the four UK health departments and that all Strategic Health Authorities (SHAs), through their postgraduate deaneries, comply with the terms of a service level agreement (SLA) in order that the UKFPO can comply with the reporting requirements complicit with being a Tier 4 sponsor.

As part of this service level agreement, South Thames Foundation School (STFS) is required to monitor the sponsored foundation doctors with Tier 4 status within each trust.

By signing the SLA, the Hospital/Trust has agreed to:

  • Monitor sponsored foundation doctors with Tier 4 visa status
  • remind sponsored foundation doctors with Tier 4 visa status that it is also their responsibility to engage with the monitoring process and advise the Hospital/Trust about any issues
  • report to STFS within seven working days of the information becoming known or the event occurring.
Activities to be reported upon

Employers must report the following to STFS (via Andrea Taylor – any of the following issues within 7 working days of the information being known using the Activity Report Form on the right hand side of this page:

  • the UKBA visa application has been refused
  • the start date is/will be delayed (e.g. visa issues, missed flight to UK etc.)
  • the doctor did not enrol/ turn up for their first day of work as expected
  • the doctor has their foundation programme withdrawn (e.g. is dismissed or FP not held open)
  • the doctor withdraws/resigns from the foundation programme (post enrolment)
  • the doctor completes the Foundation Programme earlier than expected
  • the doctor changes their sponsorship/immigration category
  • the doctor has a change to the length of the programme (e.g. extended / remedial training required)
  • the doctor is deferring/taking leave from the foundation programme (statutory/maternity leave only)
  • the doctor *intends to/has moved to another foundation school
  • the doctor takes more than 10 consecutive days leave without permission OR misses x10 ‘expected contacts**’ (expected contacts could be teaching sessions etc.)
  • Other (e.g. name change, visa application refused but later overturned via appeal, requests to work less than full time, a suspected breach of visa conditions or any other information relevant to sponsorship).

* Please note that reporting a change of foundation school will not affect the doctor’s visa status as long as the other foundation school still offers a recognised foundation programme and the doctor is not transferring to a service/locum post. This detail is important and the UKFPO must keep a record of the doctor’s primary place of study, which is shown as the foundation school to which s/he is studying, as agreed with the UKBA.

** Expected contacts include any instance where the foundation doctor is expected to attend a lesson, lecture, tutorial, seminar or scheduled meeting with tutors or advisors in relation to their foundation programme. If the foundation doctor misses an expected contact due to covering service delivery needs, it should NOT be counted as a missed contact.

Any Tier 4 queries should be directed to

For further Tier 4 Visa information, please access the following link

e-Update: 12 October 2015 - NOW AVAILABLE

The latest edition of the STFS e-update (12 October 2015) is now available on the e-updates/bulletins page of the STFS website.

Trusts Affiliated to STFS

South Thames Foundation School (STFS) is responsible for issuing educational approval for Foundation Training Programmes within its associated NHS Trusts and overseeing the management of Foundation Trainees within those programmes. Foundation doctors are employed by, and have contracts with, individual NHS trusts. Please note that each Trust may have slightly different local practices/arrangements (within national NHS policies/guidelines)

A list of Trusts affiliated to STFS can be found below together with the hospital switchboard number.

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