Less than full-time training for doctors

This page has information on less than full-time training (LTFT). It includes information on eligibility, applying, tips and resources. 

There are a number of reasons why you may want to consider less than full-time training. Spending time with your baby or child is not the only reason. You might be caring for an ill or disabled partner, relative or other dependent, or have a disability or health problem yourself. If you are undertaking certain kinds of professional development it may also be possible to be accepted for LTFT. In order to be accepted for LTFT you need to fulfill certain criteria, which are explained here.

female GP with male patient

Although working LTFT has many benefits it can also be a challenge. It is important to plan your working arrangements and patterns very carefully.


Although working LTFT has its many benefits, it can also be a challenge. Recent research carried out by the Medical Women’s Federation has shown that those working LTFT feel they are often taken less seriously than their full-time colleagues and it is often difficult to attend training and to demonstrate commitment through working longer hours.

The advice below may lessen this challenge and help you to maintain a balanced, manageable and professional career:

Eligibility for less than full-time training (LTFT)

There are two different categories of applications to LTFT. These are used by local education and training boards (LETBs) to assess eligibility and prioritise applications. However these categories are not exhaustive:

Category 1

Those doctors in training with:

These result in the individual doctor or dentist being professionally disadvantaged by circumstances, and less able to fulfil their potential on a full-time rather than on a part-time basis.

Category 2

Those doctors in training with:

Sources: Doctors in flexible training – Principles underpinning the new arrangements for flexible training and the Gold Guide (page 40)

Applying for LTFT

Most LTEBs ask for three months ’notice for those hoping to make a LTFT application. Local education and training boards (LETBs)will all have a process for determining eligibility and then making arrangements for your training plan. The difficulty for LETBs is accommodating all requests whilst at the same time ensuring training programmes remain fully populated and making sure that there are sufficient trainees overall.

Pros and cons of LTFT



Types of LTFT post (reduced sessions and slot shares)

Determining your work schedule

LTFT can be undertaken either as LTFT in a full-time slot or as a slot share. Except in exceptional circumstances LTFT can be undertaken at a minimum of 50% full-time and may be supported, dependent on arrangements, up to 80% of a full-time post. If you are based in secondary care you will need to work a rota and you may not be in a position to choose when you work. If you are based in primary care you will probably have to work at least some full days. If you are slot-sharing, it will be good to brush up on your negotiation skills, especially as you will want to try to negotiate a win-win situation with your slot-sharing colleague and your employer.

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