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Frequently Asked Questions
The following are a range of frequently asked questions about the SuppoRTT programme. If you have any additional queries after reading the information on these webpages, please contact the SuppoRTT team: firstname.lastname@example.org.
You may wish to use the following links to quickly access a specific question and answer:
- Who should I inform if I have an extended period of unexpected leave or I am planning to take time out of my programme?
- Who is eligible for SuppoRTT?
- What is the Return to Training process?
- Do I need to read the SuppoRTT guidance?
- Who is responsible for communicating and arranging my return to training requirements?
- Will NHSE contact me whilst I am absent?
- Should I arrange a meeting with a SuppoRTT Associate Dean prior to my return?
- What if my plan of return involves an Occupational Health report?
- What are SuppoRTT Courses/Events?
- Am I entitled to Keeping In Touch (KIT) days?
- When will my next ARCP take place?
- What should I do if my supervisor isn't supporting me?
- What should a trainee expect when they return to training?
- What should I do if I'm thinking about going Less Than Full Time (LTFT)?
Who should I inform if I have an extended period of unexpected leave or I am planning to take time out of my programme?
- Your Training Programme Director (TPD): The TPD is responsible for coordinating your training programme and ensuring that trainees are placed in the right department at the right time with the right support. If you are unsure who your TPD is, please contact your specialty's programme support team.
- Your employing trust: As an employee, you are contractually obliged to inform your employing trust if you are taking a leave of absence. Your employer is also responsible for your welfare and making sure that you are paid correctly.
- Your programme support team: NHS England are your educational training provider and will need to maintain up to date records which have an impact on your ARCPs and CCT date. Please see our list of Programme Support Contacts if you are unsure who you should notify.
SuppoRTT is available for all postgraduate doctors and dentists who have had a period of absence from training regardless of the reason, this may include:
- Maternity Leave
- Shared Parental Leave
- Carers Leave
- Out of Programme (Experience, Research, Training & Career Break)
- SAS/Trust Grade Doctors who have secured a training post (must provide clear evidence of acceptance)
- Suspension (once your suspension has been completely lifted by the employer and GMC)
- Doctors who have been accepted on a training programme but have deferred the start of their training (must provide clear evidence of acceptance).
The process for planning your absence and returning to training is detailed within the Supported Return to Training (SuppoRTT) guidance document.
This guidance has been designed to be flexible and take into account the differing nature and length of absence, addressing your individual needs as you make the transition back into your programme.
This process and guidance document has been ratified by the English Deans and SuppoRTT Assurance Board.
Returning to full duties, including on-calls without a re-introduction period, could potentially have negative implications for your wellbeing and patient safety. It is ok to ask for help and support.
Please see our forms and guidance page for more information about the process you should follow.
You should ensure that you thoroughly read the guidance as it defines the recommended process for all stages of your absence and return. It also outlines what additional support you may be entitled to. E.g., for trainees who are absent for a period of six months or more, they are eligible for a three day supernumerary period upon their return. Remember, this guidance has been put into place to support you, promote patient safety and quality of care.
If you are unsure who your Educational Supervisor will be on your return, you can contact your Training Programme Director for further advice.
Once your plan of return has been created and documented on the Initial Return Meeting form in collaboration with your TPD or relevant supervisor, the SuppoRTT administration team will forward a copy of your completed form highlighting all requests, i.e., amended working pattern, the need for supernumerary etc.
However, it will be the trainee and TPD/relevant supervisor's responsibility to liaise with the relevant departments to ensure that all amendments are incorporated into the rota (if applicable) and that your plan of return is disseminated to all relevant parties.
Yes, please expect to receive emails from the SuppoRTT team for the following:
- Monthly emails detailing all the SuppoRTT courses and events which are taking place within the next three months.
- Invitiations to SuppoRTT courses and events outside of the YH SuppoRTT Programme, i.e., speciality specific courses and conferences.
- Return to Training Notice at 3 months, 2 months and 1 month prior to your return.
The SuppoRTT Team will also aim to contact you post your return requesting feedback regarding your experience.
Don't forget, you can also contact the team at any stage if you need further information or support at email@example.com.
For trainees who have been absent for more complex reasons, you may request to have a 1:1 meeting with a SuppoRTT Associate Dean.
Associate Dean Support can help with:
- Career Planning
- Pastoral Support
- Confidence Issues
This should not delay or replace the trainee's requirements to meet with their ES/TPD (or relevant supervisor) to plan their return.
If you would like to arrange an appointment with a SuppoRTT Associate Dean, please contact the SuppoRTT team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If Occupational Health stipulate that you need a phased return this will determine your working pattern for a period of time and will thus take precedence. However, the need for enhanced supervision may still be required. All enhanced supervision plans can run in parallel alongside your outlined working pattern.
SuppoRTT Courses/Events can include:
- Non-Clinical activity days / workshops which are provided specifically by NHSE that are designed to:
- Build personal and professional wellbeing.
- Facilitate access to coaches and mentors.
- Provide practical advice and signposting.
- Provide information/support for trainees who want to work less than full time.
These events are free to attend and some are child friendly!
Details of our courses can be found in the SuppoRTT Course Catalogue.
- Clinical Educational Days and Supported Learning Activities that you can access through either: YH SuppoRTT Programme, Trust, School or NHSE. This can include:
- Clinical Training including simulation.
- Clinical shadowing days.
- Educational update days.
There is no definitive list on what is or isn't available to any specific trainee. If you find a course that would benefit your return to training that is external to the YH SuppoRTT Programme, you may be eligible to apply for funding.
If you have taken Maternity or Shared Parental Leave, you may have access to up to 10 paid Keeping In Touch (KIT) Days.
KIT Days can be used to attend any SuppoRTT activities either within the YH SuppoRTT Programme or externally ran courses, if your employer agrees.
To find out more, please contact your local HR Medical Staffing department who will be able to advise on if you are eligible for KIT days. Each trust will have their own policies in realtion to the number of KIT days that each trainee can access. NHSE has no influence over your local Trusts policy in relation to KIT days.
Details for all trainees regarding pay should be discussed with your employer.
The Annual Review of Competence Progression (ARCP) takes place every year for every trainee, however, there are occasions where trainees may have more than one ARCP if they take a period of absence from their training programme. NHSE recommends that the ARCP is arranged at the following periods:
- For parental leave and OOP, a trainee should whenever possible have an ARCP prior to the start of this period of leave, or if this is not possible, within four weeks of return. This will review the period from the last ARCP to the start of the OOP/Parental Leave.
- For trainees who are absent due to more complex reasons, i.e., sick or carers leave, it is recommended that a date for the ARCP is discussed between the trainee and Training Programme Director at the Initial Return Meeting. The ARCP upon your return will review the period of training from your last ARCP to the date your period of absence commenced.
If you are not getting the required support from your Educational Supervisor, we would recommend that you contact your Training Programme Director at your earliest opportunity in order to address your concerns.
We have SuppoRTT Champions available in the majority of our Trusts, and one for the School of Psychiatry who are all happy to help with any queries you may have regarding the logistics of your return or Trust / Speciality specific queries.
Alternatively, you can contact the SuppoRTT Team for further support and guidance at email@example.com.
The TPD / FPD / Supervisor, Service Lead, Rota Coordinator and HR department must be aware of the return date and must plan an initial induction session for the trainee. This should include:
- Essential Employer Induction (Security, ID badges, parking etc).
- A plan of activities for the first week.
- Awareness of key policies or procedural changes.
- Awareness of new personnel.
- Awareness of key new equipment.
The trainee should not be on any part of the rota which would mean they are working without senior supervision during this period (for many specialities, this would mean no nights, or on-calls).
It is the responsibility of the TPD or ES to ensure that Medical Staffing and Rota Coordinators have this information and adhere to this plan.
It is the responsibility of the TPD or ES to ensure that all Clinical Supervisors who will be working with the trainee at the point of their return are aware of their requirement for enhanced supervision.
If you are thinking about training LTFT then you need to speak to your TPD to discuss this. This discussion should take place as early as possible as it can take up to four months for the LTFT application to be reviewed. Please do not wait until your Initial Return Meeting. This is often discussed at our Coffee and Catch-Up Sessions where trainees have discussed what percentage they have chosen and discuss the pros and cons in terms of extended training time, finances and work-life balance.