DCP: Section 3: Trainee Employment

Health Screening and support for trainees with health and/or learning issues

The commissioned Trainees on the Southampton DClinPsych Programme are employed by Somerset NHS Foundation Trust. Specialist HR advice and support is available via their HR team with the key contact being Alan Taylor (Alan.Taylor@SomersetFT.nhs.uk). Trainees are given Occupational Health screenings prior to starting training and the Programme team are advised if a trainee has specific needs which must be taken into consideration. These would usually be discussed with the potential placement supervisor before the placement is confirmed.

Trainees with a disability, long term health condition or dyslexia have access to support provided for students by the University of Southampton by the Student Support Service.

Where concerns about the health of a trainee may impact on their functioning on placement, the Programme Director and/or Clinical Director will discuss this issue with the trainee to determine how best to proceed. The Programme Director acts as line manager for trainees and implements Somerset NHS Foundation Trust’s policies together with the University’s Fitness to Study and Fitness to Practice policies.

Flu Vaccinations

If you would like a flu jab, please ask your placement if they are able to arrange this.   If they are not able to, then please arrange to get your jab through Boots, The Chemist, usually free of charge. You need to take your NHS ID badge with you to prove that you are a NHS member of staff. If they do insist on charging, then please let the Clinical Director know.

Other Employment During Training

Whilst employed as a Trainee Clinical Psychologist, you are not permitted to undertake any other employment whatsoever.

Placement Related Travel

Trainees are allocated a nominal training base from which they are entitled to claim travel which will fall within their allocated training Region. This forms part of the terms and conditions of their employment and the training base cannot normally be changed once you have started training unless authorized by the Clinical and/or Programme Director. Trainees are entitled to claim for placement related travel at the rate advised by their employers. They are entitled to claim at the ‘training rate’ for travel to/from placement or university beyond their training base and can claim at the ‘business rate’ for any clinical/placement related work. Trainees are not reimbursed for any out of area travel for their Specialist Skills module (SSM) for which they should claim from their SSM. Trainees are also not permitted to claim for any out of areas research expenses from the employing Trust but are permitted to do so through their research budget (funds permitting).  Please see the Trust expenses system for full details.

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Checks

Trainees are given an enhanced level DBS check by Somerset Foundation NHS Trust before starting training. Details of the DBS check are included in the letter sent to supervisors confirming placement arrangements and trainees should also keep a copy of their DBS certificate. Trainees are encouraged, but not required, to apply to the DBS update service. It is the trainees’ professional responsibility to advise the Clinical Director should there be any changes to the DBS status during training.

Absence from work policy

As NHS employees, trainees are employed 365 days a year (April to March). Any absence, other than bank holidays and weekends, should be covered by one of the following:

Annual leave

Trainees are encouraged to use their annual leave entitlement as an important part of managing their own self-care. The leave year runs from the 1st April through to the 31st March and the leave entitlement is as follows:

  • 27 Days on appointment
  • 29 Days after 5 years of service
  • 33 days after 10 years of service

It is strongly suggested that trainees plan their leave in advance and take their leave allocation spread over the leave year, so that placement learning is not jeopardised by failing to complete sufficient days on placement. It may be possible, under exceptional circumstances, to carry over up to 5 days annual leave from one leave year to the next. Please note that this is at the discretion of the Programme and/or Clinical Director and the employing Trust and will be viewed in the light of whether the trainee has made reasonable efforts to use their leave during the year.

Any request for leave during placement should be negotiated with, and approved by, the Placement Supervisor who should sign the leave card or send an email authorising the holiday. Where this is not possible (perhaps where leave is being requested in advance and the Placement has not been confirmed), leave requests will be confirmed by the Clinical Director. Your Personal Clinical Tutor should sign when leave is being taken on a study day or research day.

Please ensure that you email clinicalpsychology-fels@soton.ac.uk a scanned version/electronic version of the leave card to every time your leave has been authorised and before taking the leave.

Conferences/ Courses

Any absence to attend Conferences should be agreed in advance with the Placement Supervisor and approved by the Clinical Director. Such days should not be included as a placement day when calculating the total placement days unless it directly relates to placement learning. Trainees are required to attend the two-day Postgraduate Conference, these do not count as placement days. Please note that there is no funding available for conferences or CPD events.

Study Leave

Trainees are not entitled to any additional study time on placement to complete any clinically related assignments. The expectation is that trainees will come into placement on their study day should they need to do any work relating to an assignment.

Sick Leave

If trainees are unwell they are required to notify the Clinical Psychology Administrator, Personal Clinical Tutor and Clinical Director by email. They also need to inform their Placement Supervisor to manage any clinical work or appointments.

The administrator will acknowledge this email and will attach a self-certificate which should be completed for sick leave of up to 7 days. Trainees who are sick for longer than 7 days will be asked to supply a Fitness certificate from their GP when they return to work. This confirms that they are fit to return; and may specify any special arrangements which may be required to facilitate this.

When fit to return to work, Trainees must advise the Clinical Psychology Administrator via email and attach the relevant sickness certificates. This email should be sent regardless of whether the day is one on which the trainee would normally work; even if the trainee returns to fitness on a Saturday or Sunday they should inform the office of the day the sick leave ceased.

In terms of COVID 19, there is a clear reporting procedure.  If you are experiencing COVID 19 symptoms and/or awaiting a COVID 19 test result and/or self-isolating as you (or someone in your household) has received a positive COVID 19 test result then you must take the following actions:

  1. Advise the Programme immediately of your current(and ongoing)  COVID status by emailing the Programme Director, your Personal Clinical Tutor and the admin team
  2. Please note that if you fear you may have COVID 19 symptoms when you are on placement then you must also follow the Trust reporting procedure
  3. You are considered as Key Workers whilst on placement which means you are eligible for fast track COVID 19 testing through the NHS
  4. You must also complete the University’s COVID 19 Reporting Form

Other Leave

Other forms of leave (maternity, paternity, carer, compassionate etc.) may also be taken during training. If the Trainee feels that they qualify for such leave, they must liaise with the Clinical Director for authorisation. If it falls within placement time, any such leave will be deducted from the total days on placement. Please note that the Trust does not provide for paid carer leave and such leave should be taken either as an unpaid day or as a day of annual leave. You can find further information in Trust HR policies on their Intranet.



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