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Structure of the Vocational Training Scheme (VTS)

VTS ST1/2 Structure


Your first two years of General Practice training in Southampton, the New Forest and Jersey consist of three six-month hospital posts and one six-month General Practice post during ST2. The hospital posts are educationally approved and relevant to General Practice.  Hospital posts are based at Southampton General Hospital (UHS), Royal South Hants Hospital (RSH), Jersey General Hospital, Lymington Hospital, the Western Community Hospital and the Countess Mountbatten Hospice.

Posts are allocated by the PD team. Where possible we take into consideration a trainee's previous experience and geographical location during the allocation process.

As well as your clinical commitments, you will need to maintain an ePortfolio of reflective learning log entries, records of workplace-based assessments, a Personal Development Plan, and Educational Supervisor Reviews. For more information on the ePortfolio and workplace based assessments, please see the following handbooks:

Wessex Deanery AiT Guide to Completing Your GP Training

Southampton GP Education Unit Handbook 2017

The GP Education Unit in Southampton provides ST1 and 2 trainees with regular education sessions, including the Day Release Course and small group sessions. 

For every six month post, the following people should have regular contact with you:

A Clinical Supervisor
This is your Consultant in hospital posts in the ST1/2 years and will change every six-months. He or she oversees the education you receive in your specialty post and should ensure you receive an induction and at least one review during your post. You should have informal access to your Clinical Supervisor each week if you need it.

An Educational Supervisor
During ST1 you will be allocated an Educational Supervisor who will be one of the GPEU Southampton Programme Directors.  During ST2 your Educational Supervisor will be your GP Trainer.  You should arrange to meet with your Educational Supervisor at least every six months. Your Educational Supervisor will help you review your learning objectives for each post in the context of your career in General Practice. Educational Supervisors also provide general support and advice.

GP Programme Directors
Will co-ordinate the Day Release teaching for GP Specialist Trainees.  They oversee the rotation and are also available for career advice and general support.

Starting GPST1

The Health Education England (Wessex) website contains all the essential forms that needs to be completed at least 6 weeks prior to the start of GP training.

Transfer of Information Form
GPST1s must bring their completed Transfer of Information form with them to the GP training induction day, which is the first GPST1/2 Day Release educational session and pass it to Inga Janmere.  This form must be completed and countersigned by your Education Supervisor from your last training post prior to General Practice training and handed in to ensure the Programme Directors are aware of any particular support or help you may need during your training programme.

You will need to register as an ‘Associate in Training’ (AiT) with the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) as soon as possible in order to gain access to the ePortfolio. The ePortfolio is the online record of your training which enables you to record a wide range of learning experiences through Work Based Placed Assessments, the Personal Development Plan and the Learning Log. It is essential that you complete this regularly and have it signed off to proceed to Certificate of Completion of Specialist Training in General Practice (CCT) at the end of the ST3 year. Registration can be completed via the College website.

You will need to quote your GMC number, your training Deanery and be ready to pay a registration fee.  A delay in signing up may affect the quantity and quality of evidence that you can present at your first review which will be held in December or June and impact on your smooth progression through training. How to get started with the ePortfolio is discussed at the Day Release induction session, but you are encouraged to look at this yourself at the earliest opportunity and use the available online information.

Patient Safety
All trainees in Wessex must attend the patient safety training day (as an ST1, or later if missed) and must provide evidence of patient safety activity in each year of training and have this signed off at their ARCP.  The Patient Safety days are arranged by Health Education England (Wessex) and are held at Southern House, Otterbourne at no charge.  Further information will be available from the Health Education England (Wessex) website and can be booked via the Intrepid booking system here.

GP trainees in hospital placements should preferably attend on their allocated specialty days or, if this is not possible, may attend on one of the GP Trainee days instead. After the Patient Safety Day you are expected to undertake a patient safety project. You can then submit an abstract of your work the Wessex Patient Safety Conference later in the year. The Deanery offers an annual prize for the best 3 posters and presentations at this conference.


Starting ST1/2 Hospital Posts

Each Hospital Trust will run their own Trust and Local induction programme and should provide you with all of the relevant information to ensure a smooth start to your hospital post.

For further information in relation to your gp training in hospital posts please refer to the GPEU Southampton Handbook.

Starting ST2 in General Practice

During your first 1 to 2 weeks in General Practice you will have a comprehensive induction that will include areas such as:

  • Sitting in and observing GP surgeries
  • Observing practice nurse clinics
  • Going out with District nurses/Health visitors
  • Observing receptionists roles
  • Time with the practice manager

Half of your ST2 year will be spent in a General Practice post. During this post you are expected to attend a monthly small group session (GP ST2 Small Group) in addition to the ST1/ST2 Day Release teaching sessions. These half day sessions replace your private study session for that week and allow you to share experiences of General Practice with each other or focus in depth on topics chosen by the group. You will be sent a list of dates and times of these sessions via email prior to starting your GP post.

Before starting in General Practice as an ST2 there are a number of items that require your attention. You can read more about this in the GPEU Southampton Handbook.


Teaching Sessions

We hold half day educational sessions for GPST1s and GPST2s monthly. The sessions take place in the Education Centre, C Level, South Academic Block, University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, Southampton General Hospital, Tremona Road, Southampton, SO16 6YD and occassionally at other external venues.

These GP orientated educational sessions provide an important part of your Specialist Training, as well as giving you an opportunity to meet with other trainees at different stages of their rotations.

The sessions begin at 9.00am and end at approximately 1pm. Trainees are expected to attend for the whole session and should arrange for their clinical commitments to be covered.  Lunch will is not provided,however, refreshments are. Please ensure that you arrive promptly to teaching and sign in. Attendance at these sessions is compulsory and a valuable part of your training. It is part of your contractual agreement to attend.  If you are unable to attend please contact either Inga Janmere, GPEU Administration Manager or  Katherine Barnes GPEU Administrator to provide your apologies and the reason for your absence.  This information is periodically noted on your Educational Notes in readiness for your ESR and Panel reviews.

Programme Directors run the teaching programme and are available throughout the session for teaching, support, career guidance and mentorship.

GP Curriculum

The RCGP sets the GP Curriculum, which describes the skills and expertise you will need to acquire over the course of your training. The RCGP website contains a wealth of guidance and case-discussions for each section of the curriculum. This is an invaluable resource for completing WPBA and you should refer to it regularly.

Assessment Requirements

There are a number of requirements that you need to meet in each year and placement. You can read more about these requirements in our GPEU Southampton Handbook.

Educational Reviews and ARCP Panel

Every six months, you will meet with your Educational Supervisor to complete a review of progress. Evidence collected is reviewed, a self-assessment conducted and your progress will be assessed by the Educational Supervisor in each of the thirteen professional competency areas.

ST1 and ST2 reviews will take place in December and June – please ensure these are arranged with your Educational Supervisor.  Dates for the ARCP Panels are fixed therefore reviews must be completed by the deadlines set.

Prior to each review, you are required to collect a number of pieces of evidence to support judgments that will be made about your progress. The minimum data set required is shown in our GPEU Southampton Handbook and from the RCGP website

In the self-rating, you are required to rate yourself in the curriculum areas and comment on the evidence in your portfolio to support this and how you will develop in the area. You should reference at least three pieces of evidence per competence and then discuss how this evidence demonstrates this competence.  Please try and make your ‘actions’ specific, measureable, achievable, realistic and time-based (SMART). The options for rating are:

  • Needs Further Development (NFD) – Below Expectations
  • NFD – Meets Expectations
  • NFD – Above Expectations
  • Competent For Licensing
  • Excellent

You should rate yourself in comparison to the level required for an independently practicing GP. Therefore at ST1 and ST2 we would expect you to need further development. Each category on the self-rating has word pictures to help guide you.

The Educational Supervisor makes a recommendation to the Wessex Deanery regarding your competence.  A failure to reach the standard will trigger a review by an expert Wessex Deanery panel called the Annual Review of Competency Progress (ARCP), which will make decisions and recommendations as to whether the Workplace Based Place Assessment has been completed satisfactorily.

More information on ARCP and Form Rs can be obtained from the Health Education Wessex website, the ‘Gold Guide’ which is the national guidance document containing the regulations that apply to GP training and the RCGP e-module on ARCPs.

Dr Jonathan Rial and Dr Janet McGee are the Wessex ARCP Associate Deans and queries regarding the ARCP should be directed to Health Education (Wessex) via email or by telephone 01962 718 440.



Study Leave
More information on study leave and study leave reimbursements can be found in the GPEU Southampton Handbook.

Sick Leave
For further information regarding sick leave, please refer to your GPEU Southampton Handbook.

Maternity Leave
In the first instance, please refer to our GPEU Southampton Handbook if you require information about maternity leave.

Other useful resources are:

  • The Guide to Planning Your Maternity Leave which has been written by Wessex trainees
  • Maternity leave checklist for ST1/2 here
  • Summary chart for maternity leave here
  • Advice for ARCPs and maternity leave here
  • Employee rights when returning to work from maternity/paternity/adoptive leave here

Less Than Full Time Training (LTFTT)

It is possible for trainees to work less than full time for their training posts. The minimum time worked is 50% of full time. If you are a LTFTT trainee you cannot do any other paid work (medical or non medical).

Tier 4 sponsored trainees are not allowed to work LTFTT.

It must not be assumed that supernumerary funding for flexible training will be granted and the option of a slot share may have to be considered.

For further information regarding being eligible to work LTFTT please refer to our GPEU Southampton Handbook or visit the Health Education England (Wessex) website.

Please contact the Less Than Full Time Training Team at Health Education England (Wessex) who will be able to assist with further information and procedures.