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How I successfully applied for an Interdeanery Transfer

If you’re a trainee (whether GP trainee or speciality trainee) and are considering an inter-deanery transfer (IDT) then this blog is for you! We’re lucky to have Dr Vanessa Robba explain the steps that she took to successfully apply for her own interdeanery transfer.

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How I successfully applied for an Interdeanery Transfer

Intra vs Interdeanery Transfer

An INTER deanery transfer means transferring from one deanery to a completely different one eg from West Midlands deanery to North West deanery.

An INTRA deanery transfer means transferring to a different region whist staying in the same deanery eg from North Worcestershire to North Birmingham – both within the West Midlands deanery. 

This blog focuses on inter deanery transfers. Intra deanery transfers are usually applied for through local processes – for example in West Midlands deanery this is the link.

How I successfully applied for an Interdeanery Transfer

Why I applied for an Inter-deanery transfer

I started my GP VTS training in the East Midlands and completed ST1 and ST2 in Nottingham. During the end of my ST2 training, my husband completed his own speciality training and was offered a Consultant post in the West Midlands, which was due to coincide with the start of my GP ST3 rotation.

I spoke to my Educational Supervisor (ES) to explore my options regarding my training at the time. I considered reducing my training to Less Than Full Time (LTFT) so that I could stay in the East Midlands VTS programme and commute to work from my new location. I felt that this commute would be more manageable on a LTFT rota. Other options discussed included applying for an Intra Deanery Transfer to relocate to a region closer to the West Midlands whilst staying under the East Midlands VTS programme or applying for an Inter Deanery Transfer (IDT) to the West Midlands.

In the end, I decided to apply for an IDT to the West Midlands. My main reason for this was because my husband and I were planning on settling down in the area, in view of his job offer, and I would therefore also be looking for GP jobs in the area after completing my training. I found the IDT process to be straightforward and felt very supported along the way. However, it is important to note that trainees are not automatically entitled to IDTs and approval of an IDT depends on various factors such as eligibility criteria and the availability of training posts.

I have outlined the steps I took in my own IDT application below, and some of the key resources available which I hope will be of help to anyone considering an IDT.

How I successfully applied for an Interdeanery Transfer

Checking eligibility for an IDT application

The first step involved having a discussion with my ES to explore all possible options, as detailed above. The next step was to discuss my request to pursue an IDT with the Training Programme Director (TPD). After obtaining the support of my ES and TPD, I checked the eligibility criteria and prepared the relevant supporting documents required for submitting an IDT application. Detailed information on this process can be accessed via the following document: Trainee Guide To Inter Deanery Transfers (2022), available from: https://specialtytraining.hee.nhs.uk/portals/1/Content/Resource%20Bank/Inter-Deanery%20Transfer/Trainee%20Guide%20to%20Inter%20Deanery%20Transfers%20%20(August%202022).pdf

When I applied for my transfer, the criteria for an IDT required an ‘unseen and significant change in circumstance’ which could not have been anticipated at the time of accepting a training post. The criteria involved one of the following options:

– Criterion 1A/1B – a personal physical disability or a mental health condition
– Criterion 2 – primary carer responsibilities
– Criterion 3 – parental responsibilities
– Criterion 4 – a committed relationship or the breakdown of a committed relationship

In my case, I met Criterion 4, because my husband was relocating. More information on each criteria can be found in the document listed above (Trainee Guide To Inter Deanery Transfers, 2022). My advice is to read the information on the document very carefully to check eligibility for the IDT application, especially as eligibility criteria may change with time. For example, since August 2022, a fifth criterion has been added to this list whereby a change to circumstances is not required, and an IDT can still be requested even if Criteria 1 to 4 are not met. 

The document also details other eligibility factors that need to be considered. For example, at present, the IDT application can only be submitted after the change in circumstance has occurred, rather than in anticipation of it potentially occurring in the future. Also, trainees must have accepted a training post offer by the closing date of the IDT application window and have a minimum of twelve calendar months of training to complete when they transfer. There is also further advice for trainees in other specific circumstances, such as those who are out of programme or on parental leave.

How I successfully applied for an Interdeanery Transfer

Preparing and submitting an IDT application

Once I confirmed that I was eligible for an IDT, I signed up to the PGMDE (Postgraduate Medical and Dental) Support Portal via Support: HEE-NHS and followed the steps in the following document: Guide to Completing an IDT Application & Supporting Documents (2022), available from: https://specialtytraining.hee.nhs.uk/portals/1/Content/Resource%20Bank/Inter-Deanery%20Transfer/Guide%20to%20Completing%20IDT%20Application%20%20Supporting%20Documents%20(August%202022)%20%20(2).pdf

The online application form is only available in the PGMDE Support Portal during the application window which occurs twice a year (in February and August) and remains open for 4 weeks during each window.

I found it helpful to read the Guide to Completing an IDT Application & Supporting Documents (2022) because it answered most of my questions. It provided clear advice on how to complete each section of the application form, detailed which supporting documents were required and how to obtain the relevant signatures for certain forms. Examples of some of the forms required to support the application are a Deanery Document, Supporting Document, Cover Sheet, ARCP or Postgraduate Dean Letter of Support and other Criterion Specific Documents. The forms can be downloaded from the HEE Resources Bank via this link: https://specialtytraining.hee.nhs.uk/Resources-Bank

How I successfully applied for an Interdeanery Transfer

Awaiting outcomes and offers

Applicants usually receive an outcome approximately two months after the submission date. The transfer can be expected to occur between August and October that year (if the application was submitted in February) or between February and April of the following year (if the application was submitted in August).  In my case, I submitted an application in February 2019, and was offered a start date of August 2019 for my GP ST3 rotation. The Trainee Guide To Inter Deanery Transfers (2022) provides further detailed information on all aspects of the allocation and offer stage.

How I successfully applied for an Interdeanery Transfer

Summary and further information

In summary, I remember how the concept of an IDT transfer seemed daunting to me at first. However, I found the process to be straightforward and I did not encounter any problems throughout my IDT journey. I feel it is important for trainees to remember that not all IDT applications receive an offer due to various factors such as the availability of training posts in different deaneries.

I would advise anyone considering an IDT to meet with their ES initially to discuss their options depending on their individual circumstances. If an IDT is felt to be a suitable option, reviewing all the guidance and information available through Health Education England (HEE) will help facilitate a smooth application process. There is also a section for ‘frequently asked questions’ on the PGMDE Support Portal, as well as an online ‘IDT query form’ which can be used if further support is required.

How I successfully applied for an Interdeanery Transfer

References and resources

Trainee Guide To Inter Deanery Transfers. Health Education England. (August 2022).

Available from: https://specialtytraining.hee.nhs.uk/portals/1/Content/Resource%20Bank/Inter-Deanery%20Transfer/Trainee%20Guide%20to%20Inter%20Deanery%20Transfers%20%20(August%202022).pdf

PGMDE Support Portal: via Support: HEE-NHS

Guide to Completing an IDT Application & Supporting Documents. The National IDT Process. Health Education England (August 2022).

Available from: https://specialtytraining.hee.nhs.uk/portals/1/Content/Resource%20Bank/Inter-Deanery%20Transfer/Guide%20to%20Completing%20IDT%20Application%20%20Supporting%20Documents%20(August%202022)%20%20(2).pdf

HEE Resources Bank: https://specialtytraining.hee.nhs.uk/Resources-Bank

How I successfully applied for an Interdeanery Transfer

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Author Bio — Dr Aman Arora

Hello and welcome to Arora Medical Education! I am a Portfolio GP with a 24/7/365 passion for helping you fly through your medical exams and maximise your career. You can find out more about me here.

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Author Bio — Dr Pooja Arora

Dr Pooja Arora is a GP with a background in Medical Politics, where she passionately focuses on improving the opportunities and working conditions for junior doctors. She is proud to hold FRCGP (Fellow of Royal College of General Practitioners).

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