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SuppoRTT FAQs

What is the Supported Return to Training (SuppoRTT) initiative trying to achieve? 

SuppoRTT is designed to ease the transition back into a training and working environment for trainees who have taken time out of their training. Through providing a structured process for exiting and returning, resources, coaching, courses and funding, SuppoRTT aims to make the process of returning to work a smooth and supported one, while ensuring patient safety.

Who is eligible for SuppoRTT?

Any medical or dental trainee employed on a formally approved training programme who has taken at least 3 months out of their training for any reason will be eligible for SuppoRTT. Reasons for taking time out could include parental leave, sickness, out-of-programme experience/ research/ training/ career break, and carer’s leave.

Where do I find guidance for SuppoRTT?

The local guidelines for Supported Return to Training can be found on our website. You are encouraged to familiarise yourself with this document if accessing SuppoRTT.

What should I do before I take a period of planned absence?

You should arrange a Pre-Absence Meeting with your educational supervisor or training programme director/foundation tutor at least 3 months prior to taking time out of training and complete a Pre-Absence Form. A copy of this form will need to be sent to your programme coordinator and filed in your ePortfolio. Other forms will need to be submitted to the LET depending on the reason for your time out of training (e.g. Fitness to Work note, OOP Application Form etc.).

What should I do if my time out of training is unexpected?

If you unexpectedly take time out of training (e.g. due to sickness), a pre-absence meeting can be held later when more convenient for you. This meeting can be held over the phone if you are unable to meet face-to-face.

How should I best utilise SuppoRTT during my time out of training?

While out of training, consider what activities may be useful in relation to your return. Consider attending courses, clinics, conferences, accessing our coaching service or staying in touch with your training programme director/foundation tutor. You can use Keeping in Touch Days if on parental leave, and funding may be available to support your attendance to activities relevant to your return no matter the reason for your time out.

The SuppoRTT team, your training programme director/foundation tutor and supervisors will signpost you to courses that you may find useful, both clinical and non-clinical. It is not mandatory to engage with any of these activities while out-of-training, but we encourage you to do so.

What will be funded by the SuppoRTT budget, and how do I access it?

Activities (e.g. courses, training days, conferences etc.) that are relevant to your return and will improve your return to work experience will either be funded by the SuppoRTT budget or Study leave budget, depending on the reason for your time out of training. If you remain under the employment of the LET during your time out of training (e.g. parental leave, OOPE etc.), you can access funding via the Study Leave budget through the normal study leave process. If your time out of training is not funded by the LET, you may be able to access the SuppoRTT budget depending on your circumstances.  This will need prospective approval from the SuppoRTT team if expenses are to be claimed. There may be funding for travel expenses and accommodation, aligned with the values set in the Study Leave Policy. Funding will also be available for childcare expenses at a maximum of £50/day, however this will not be granted if a child is already enrolled with a childcare provider for that particular day.  Please note that this reimbursement will be subject to tax deductions.

To claim expenses for any return to work activities, please follow the normal Study Leave process, gaining approval from an educational supervisor and forwarding a completed Study Leave Request Form to EducationSupport.NE@hee.nhs.uk.

What should I do prior to my return to training?

We recommend you arrange an Initial Return Meeting with your educational supervisor or training programme director/foundation tutor approximately 8-12 weeks before your return. The aim of this meeting is to discuss what support you may require, and identify any concerns or training needs you may have. An enhanced supervision/supernumerary period will also be discussed and agreed, depending on your length of time out. Complete and submit an Initial Return Meeting Form and an Individualised Action Planner to your programme coordinator, and file both documents in your ePortfolio. 

What is the difference between a Supervised and a Supernumerary period?

For all trainees who are out-of-training for longer than 3 months, it is recommended they have a period of enhanced supervision on their return. This can range from 2 days to 2 weeks. A full range of duties can be undertaken but an increased level of supervision will be provided.  Activities and competencies within work can be assessed using workplace-based assessments.  

There may be occasions when a trainee or supervisor feel a supernumerary period is required on return. This is a period where the trainee is an additional member of staff, not required for service provision, can shadow other members of staff but is not restricted in their practice (e.g. they can still perform procedures etc.). This will generally be held at the training site you will continue to work at on completion of this period. A maximum of 7 days is allowed for a supernumerary period if a trainee has greater than 6 months out of training, and you will receive your normal level of pay, funded from the SuppoRTT budget.

What happens at the end of my supervised/supernumerary period?

Meet with your educational supervisor or training programme director/foundation tutor for a Return Review Meeting. If you are both satisfied that you can return to normal duties, you will be signed off. A Return Review Meeting Form should be completed and sent to your programme co-ordinator and filed in your ePortfolio. If more time is required, an extension can be granted. Further reviews should be documented on additional Return Review Meeting Forms. Extensions may have an impact on your CCT date.

What is coaching, and how do I access it to help support me returning to training?

Coaching is a form of one-to-one support to help you achieve a specific personal or professional goal by providing training or guidance. A coach does not tell you what to do or provide career guidance but supports you to identify actions you can take to move forward.

To access coaching, complete an application form with your training programme director/foundation tutor and submit via your school manager.

What do I do if I don’t feel supported?

If you feel you are not receiving adequate support to return to work, you should contact your training programme director/foundation tutor at the earliest opportunity to address your concerns. Alternatively, contact the SuppoRTT team for advice at: EducationSupport.NE@hee.nhs.uk