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How does the scheme work?

GP Specialty Academic Trainees undertake ST3 over two years with an average of 50% of time based in practice and 50% of time based within the academic department of a University.  Trainees continue to be employed by NHS Wales Shared Services for both the clinical and academic portion of their role and consequently receive a full 45% supplement meaning they are required to undertake the full mandatory OOH training requirements.   A trainee would need to agree to work a minimum of 70% (2 days General Practice, 1.5 days academic) to be eligible to apply.

E-portfolio entries are used to capture reflections on academic work. The academic supervisor completes a 6 monthly review which is uploaded to the portfolio and looked at by an ARCP panel.


Q1 - How does the academic GP training scheme work?

A1 – The Scheme is advertised during the Spring.  Cardiff training is linked with the Division of Population Medicine, Cardiff medical school, Swansea with the Swansea University Medical School and North Wales with Bangor University.

Trainees are only eligible to apply for the academic scheme if they are progressing satisfactorily in their training.  If their progress is affected whilst on an academic scheme it may be appropriate for them to give up their academic post.

Trainees apply for the scheme within their GPST2 year and if appointed GP Specialty Academic Trainees (GPSATs) undertake ST3 over two years, with an average of 50% of time based within the academic department. 

Trainees remain at their GP surgery for both GPST3 and GPST4 years, unless specific circumstances would require a change. 


Q2 - Does geographical location restrict which scheme trainees can apply to?

A2 - Trainees can apply to any of the schemes regardless of where they live or where their GP surgery is based.  COVID restrictions have affected some of the face-to-face work, but trainees must be prepared to travel.  Trainees based in any part of Wales can apply for an academic post


Q3 – Can the trainee claim travel expenses for attending academic meetings in person?  

A3 Yes, they can claim travel costs (for mileage) within SEL. SEL is a platform for claiming expenses online for NHS staff. Their line manager – usually the practice manager within the GP surgery will need to approve this.


Q3 - Will being appointed to the academic scheme affect the trainees pay?

A3 - GPSATs continue to receive a full 45% supplement and consequently are required to take the full mandatory OOH training requirements (72 hours will still need to be completed over the two years). 


Q4 - Does being appointed to the scheme affect study/annual leave?

A4 - No it doesn't – trainees have the full allowance of leave each year, and study budget.  It is strongly encouraged that they spread their study and annual leave over both academic and clinical days. 

Trainees need to apply through their practice managers/academic supervisors – and give a minimum of six - weeks’ notice. 


Q5 – How is the working week broken down?

A5 – The majority of trainees end up doing 60/40 in Year one and 40/60 in Year two as doing 50/50 and a half day of academic/ clinical can be difficult if commuting etc.

Suggested working week ST3

Previous trainees have completed their ST3 year with a 60% clinical week and 40% academic (3 days clinical and 2 days academic).  This is in order to focus on clinical experience and competencies and gain the experience to pass MRCGP. 

Clinical days would be broken down into 4 clinical sessions and 2 non-clinical e.g. Half day release, SDL or a tutorial. 

Suggested working week after passing exams

For ST4 years, the working week could be switched – to become 40% clinical and 60% academic (2 days clinical and 3 days academic) – perhaps when the exit exams have been passed. 

Clinical days would be broken down into 3 clinical sessions and 1 non-clinical (for four weeks, and then an extra non-clinical session every 5th week). 

It is suggested that 50% of half -day release sessions are attended each year. 

Less than full time training

Flexible working is encouraged and some academic trainees in the past have completed their training at 80%.  However, below this percentage it is difficult to complete all the clinical WBPAs, examinations and academic responsibilities. 


Q6 - Who do we contact for questions relating to the scheme?

A6 – For Cardiff Academic Trainees contact Adrian Edwards ( / For Swansea Academic Trainees contact Jonathan Harikrishnan ( or Chris Horn ( For North Wales Academic Trainees contact Prof Claire Wilkinson (


Q7 - Who will supervise Academic trainees within the scheme?

A7 - Trainees are appointed an Academic Supervisor at the University as well as a Clinical supervisor within their GP practice.  They will both have access to the online Portfolio and trainees will be expected to use the reflections to capture academic activities.

Within Cardiff university a six -monthly formal review with the academic supervisor, these documents are reviewed at the ARCP panel.

Within Swansea university – Any concerns should be raised with the supervisors, or HEIW directly.

Within Bangor University - Any concerns should be raised with the supervisors, or HEIW directly.