Out of Programme Options

During radiology training, there are opportunities for trainees to spend time out of programme if they so wish. These periods of ‘out of programme’ time have been given several different names and acronyms which are described below:

OOPE – Out of Programme Experience

A period of time out of the standard Radiology Training Programme, which will not be counted towards working for the Radiology CCT. This means that your CCT date will be extended.

OOPT – Out of Programme Training

This is a period of time taken out of the Radiology Training Programme, which can count towards working for your Radiology CCT. This means your CCT date will remain the same. This could include training in a different Radiology department or a pre-CCT fellowship post.

OOPR – Out of Programme Research

This is like the OOPT described above, except that your main role will be within research but you will still have this time as counting towards your CCT. You could also do research as an OOPE and not make it count towards the CCT.

OOPC – Out of Programme Career Break

This is a special case basis, which is designed for trainees who wish to step out of training for a designated time in cases of domestic responsibilities, ill health or develop talents in other areas.


More information on this is available from the RCR website at the following link and it includes information regarding the applications that need to be submitted to the college and GMC for approval of this period of out of programme time:


In all cases, it is very important to give your department as much time as possible before you plan to take time out of programme. Many departments would like at least 6 months advance notice and if it is possible to do this further in advance than then even better! It does take time to submit the relevant forms and to wait for approval from the deanery, GMC, College, local department – so do bear this in mind and allow for this time (which can be up to 2-3 months depending on the situation)!

Your first point of call when considering time out of training is your clinical and educational supervisors, training programme director (TPD) and college tutor. Do keep them involved of your plans and discuss the various options and consequences of time out of programme.

Several trainees in the UK and Europe have made the most of the European Society of Radiology visiting fellowships in the past, which last for up to 3 months and cover various subspecialties in different European and American countries. If you wish to undertake an OOPE and are looking for ideas, it may well be worth checking out the website below:




Feedback and experiences from trainees who have undertaken such a ‘OOPE/Fellowship’ can be found at this link (see the end pages):


If you have completed an OOPE and would like to share your experiences with other trainees, please send us a review of your activities/reflective pieces/tips for arranging an OOPE/OOPT/OOPR to us to upload: president@www.thesrt.co.uk

We shall be uploading some experiences from current radiology trainees here soon so do keep checking this page!