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Acting up and locum consultant posts

Advice about acting up as a consultant near the end of specialty training, and working as a locum consultant.

Acting up as a consultant

Acting up as a consultant isn’t a mandatory part of training, but it is permitted if undertaken in O&G. If this is the case, it can count towards your CCT.

Acting up provides trainees who are coming to the end of their training with experience of navigating the transition from junior doctor to consultant, while maintaining an element of clinical supervision.

However, the RCOG regards acting up as inappropriate more than 6 months before CCT.

To be eligible for an acting up position, you must have a satisfactory ARCP outcome. To arrange an acting up position:

  • If you wish to act up as a consultant in the deanery/LETB that your training number belongs to, you can do this with prospective approval from your Head of School, who will inform the Postgraduate Dean.
  • If you wish to act up as a consultant outside your home deanery/LETB, you’ll need to complete the usual out of programme for training (OOPT) application process.
  • You will remain in training and should engage with educational progression and supervision.

Although acting up often fulfils a genuine service need, it’s not the same as being a locum consultant. Doctors in training who are acting up will be carrying out a consultant’s tasks, but with the understanding that:

  • They will have a named supervisor at the hosting hospital
  • The designated supervisor will always be available for support, including out of hours or during on-call work

Subspecialty trainees who wish to act up as a consultant would have to fulfil the above criteria and can only do so within the same unit they are undertaking their subspecialty training to ensure appropriate indirect supervision by their subspecialty training programme supervisor.

Working as a locum consultant

Locum consultant positions are not appropriate pre-CCT.

After you’ve gained your CCT, you can take up a locum consultant post without informing the GMC. You’ll need to inform your Deanery as you may need to give 3 months’ notice. The following rules will apply:

  • All trainees are offered a maximum 6-month period of grace post-CCT while they’re seeking a consultant post. If you find a suitable consultant post, you opt out of the period of grace.
  • If you want to extend your period of grace, you’ll need to discuss this with your Postgraduate Dean.
  • If you undertake a locum consultant post during your period of grace, you won’t have to resign your NTN (national training number) unless the locum period equals or exceeds the end of the period of grace. In these circumstances, the locum post would be viewed as substantive non-training employment outside the provisions of the period of grace.

Contact us

If you have any questions, or need help and advice, please email