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Yorkshire and Humber

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Trainees on Long Term Sick Leave

If you are having to take time out of training for health reasons, planning your return to work may understandbly be the last thing on your mind. However, we would encourage you to think about some of the practicalities of returning as soon as possible in case you need to take measures in advance. 


Your health problem may require a referral to Occupational Health, this will be particularly important to determine whether you may need a phased return to work, or any workplace adjustments/adaptions upon your return. An Occupational Health referral will need to be made by your line manager, and we recommend that this is organised as soon as possible in your absence period, even if you are far from being ready to return. Waiting lists for Occupational Health appointments can be long, owing to service demand and this process can take some time. In the case of elective operations, this referral should happen before the trainee has surgery. Details of the referral process will differ between trusts, so you should refer to your trust's website or contact your local HR department for guidance. 

If your referral identifies the need for workplace adjustments or specific equipment, Access to Work may be able to provide financial support. We would recommend reviewing the information provided by Access to Work as soon as you identify that adjustments are required, to identify whether you are eligible for support and how it can be accessed. 

We would strongly encourage you to review your trust's HR policies and, if appropriate, seek advice from a member of the HR team as soon as possible with regard to your options for a phased return to work, if you believe this will be needed. Different trusts have different policies, including the length of time for which you can phase your return and how much you will be paid. In some Trusts, the length of phased return may be as little as two to four weeks. Understanding the pay implications surrounding your return will ensure you can financially plan accordingly and avoid any unwanted surprises.

If you find yourself in financial hardship because of being away from work, you may be eligible to receive financial assistance from the Royal Medical Benevolent Fund

At any point whilst you are out of training, or returning to work, you can access support. This includes your local SuppoRTT Champion, who can provide you with advice and guidance that is specific to your returning trust. To identify who your local SuppoRTT Champion is, please see our contacts. You may also wish to seek support from the British Medical Association, who will be able to liaise with your employer and advocate on your behalf, whilst you focus on getting well. You also remain eligible to access the Counselling and Psychological Wellbeing services that the deanery funds. 

If you have any queries or need any additional help at any point, we would also encourage you to contact the SuppoRTT team at