1. Am I eligible to access SuppoRTT?
  2. Who should I inform if I am planning or unexpectedly have an extended period time out of my programme?
  3. When should I begin planning time away from training?
  4. What is the role of the supervisor in SuppoRTT?
  5. Why are there so many forms?
  6. Do I need to read the Supported Return to Training (SuppoRTT) Guidance?
  7. Will NHSE contact me while I am absent?
  8. Who is my SuppoRTT Champion?
  9. What are KIT, SPLIT and SRTT days?
  10. What additional funding may be available to me?
  11. Can I get funding towards childcare costs for trainee attendance at SPLIT/KIT/SRTT days?
  12. I am interested in working LTFT, what should I do?
  13. What if my plan of return includes an Occupational Health Report?
  14. What is enhanced supervision?
  15. When will my next ARCP take place?
  16. What should I do if my supervisor isn’t supporting me?
  17. I'm still breastfeeding; what are my rights?
  18. What courses are funded and is there a cap?


1. Am I eligible to access SuppoRTT?

Access to SuppoRTT in the North West is available to all trainees in the region who are planning to take, or already on, an approved period of time out of training (of generally 3 months or more) for one or more of the following reasons:

  • Parental leave 
  • Out of Programme (OOP)
  • Global Health Fellowship
  • Long-term sick leave
  • Carer’s leave 
  • Doctors who have been out of training and have accepted a North West training post (this includes if you have had a break following F2 and are re-entering training)
  • In the NW we have a discretionary offer for International Medical Graduates starting their first NHS training post (or within their first 6 months of starting); please contact your TPD/Trust SuppoRTT Champion for support. 

If your time out of training is less than 3 months but you feel as though you would benefit from accessing the SuppoRTT programme, please discuss this with your supervisor.

2.  Who should I inform if I am planning or unexpectedly have an extended period time out of my programme?

Your 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.

The details of your TPD can be found on NHSE NW website here.

Lead Employer: As an employee you are contractually obliged to inform your employer if you are taking a leave of absence. Your employer is also responsible for your welfare and making sure that you are paid correctly. You can email them on Lead.employer@sthk.nhs.uk. Put your specialty in the subject header and your email will be picked up by the correct team. If you are planning parental leave, the lead employer has a useful toolkit on their website with lots of information.

Programme Support: NHSE are your educational training provider and will need to maintain up-to-date records which have an impact on your ARCPs and CCT date.  Deanery Support within each specialty school can be found on the NHSE NW website here.

Host Organisation: You should let the rota coordinator and medical staffing at your workplace know as soon as possible if you are taking time out of training as they will need to anticipate any rota gaps.

SuppoRTT Champions: These individuals throughout trusts and schools in the region are there to offer advice and assistance in making your return to work as positive as possible. School champions are involved with arranging specialty specific return to work activities within many specialties in the region. Trust champions can offer advice and assistance to trainees returning to their Trust and communicate your return to training plan with the necessary clinical and administrative staff. You should contact your SuppoRTT champion whenever you need advice or assistance. A full list of current champions can be found here.

3. When should I begin planning time away from training?

You should begin planning your time away from training with your TPD/FPD/Supervisor at the earliest opportunity and no later than 2 months in advance of your intended leave date, where possible. We understand that this is not always possible if the leave is unexpected, but we do encourage the Pre-Absence meeting to still take place at the earliest possible opportunity to provide support to the trainee, however the pre-return meeting may be more relevant. 

4.  What is the role of the supervisor in SuppoRTT?

Each trainee will have different requirements but within your training programme there should be a supervisor who is responsible for overseeing your smooth transition out of and back into training. Depending on your circumstances and training programme, this could be your ES (Educational Supervisor), TPD (Training Programme Director), FPD (Foundation Programme Director) or College Tutor. We do not specify who as we realise that each specialty school is different. Usually the Educational Supervisor can conduct your SuppoRTT planning meetings but your TPD or FPD should be able to advise you further if unsure.

Your TPD/FPD/Supervisor should meet with you at three points in your SuppoRTT timeline:

Pre- Absence:

  • Approximately 6-8 weeks prior to your exit from the training programme whenever possible
  • Lay out plans for your return
  • Set a tentative return date
  • Share information about courses and ways of keeping up to date while away
  • Ensure up-to-date contact details are available to keep in touch with you while you’re away from your usual workplace.

Pre- Return:

  • Approximately 8-12 weeks prior to your return into training
  • An up-to-date health assessment (if required)
  • An agreement on the anticipated period of phased return and/or enhanced supervision (anticipated as usually 2-6 weeks in the AOMRC guidance)
  • Confirmation of LTFT or FT status planned on RTT
  • List of mandatory requirements e.g. resuscitation and safeguarding
  • The clinical activities of the enhanced supervision period (e.g. ward work, surgery/outpatient work, home visits, emergency work, out of hours work etc.)
  • The assessment methods for the enhanced supervision period (e.g. SLEs, direct observations, simulation scenarios, senior team feedback, peer feedback etc.)

Post- Return:

  • 2 weeks after your return to training or at the end of your agreed period of Enhanced Supervision, if longer
  • Mutual agreement about whether you are ready to “restart the clock” on training and commence usual duties.
  • Discuss any ongoing learning needs you might have.

The forms for completion during these meetings can be found on the Guidance and Process page

The forms should be uploaded to your e-portfolio and emailed to your ES, TPD/FPD, School SuppoRTT Champion and Trust SuppoRTT Champion (where you are leaving or returning to a Trust).

5. Why are there so many forms?

These forms are now available online to help make the process easier for trainees and their supervisors.  We ask that a form is completed at each SuppoRTT meeting (Pre-Absence, Pre-Return, Post-Return Review) as a record of your discussion and any agreed plans which can then be shared consistently to all parties involved in the SuppoRTT process to ensure trainees receive the bespoke support that they need for their return to training. We use the information on the form to make sure we keep you informed of activities at a time where it is relevant to you. We also use the information on the form to monitor how the SuppoRTT programme is performing generally- how many trainees are getting access to the SuppoRTT programme, what kind of support you are receiving, and whether there are gaps in our service which could be addressed which helps us to deliver the best SuppoRTT programme possible.

Uploading these forms to your e-portfolio is strongly advised, acting as a record of your engagement in the SuppoRTT programme.

The RTT-A application process is now joint witht he Lead Employer to enable you to apply for the time and funding in a single form.

6. Do I need to read the Supported Return to Training (SuppoRTT) Guidance?

Yes! You should ensure that you thoroughly read this guidance as it defines the recommended process for all stages of your absence and return. It also outlines what additional support that you may be entitled to. Remember, this guidance has been put into place to support you, promote patient safety and ensure ongoing high quality of care.

7. Will NHSE contact me while I am absent?

Yes, please expect to receive emails from the SuppoRTT team with information and updates on courses available to you. Don’t forget, you can also contact the team at any stage if you need further information or support on england.supportt.nw@nhs.net.

8. Who is my SuppoRTT Champion?

Within most Specialty schools and Trusts across the region there is a specially appointed SuppoRTT champion. They can assist you with planning and making the most of your return to training period. Trust champions can also help ensure you have an Enhanced Supervision period on your return by liaising with the appropriate staff in your workplace.

A list of their details can be found here.

9. What are KIT, SPLIT and SRTT days?

Please visit our SuppoRTT Days webpage for details.

10. What additional funding may be available to me?

Attending the NW SuppoRTT course is the preferred method for re-developing competence and confidence, however, if you find additional activities that will assist your return, there is return to training activity (RTT-A) funding available for returners.

To apply for the time and funding for activity to support your return, even if this is just travel expenses, please complete an RTT-A application form in advance of the activity and await notification of approval. If your application is approved we will send you an Expenses Claim Form which should be completed once you have undertaken the activity. Proof of attendance/completion will be required.

Please visit the SuppoRTT Activities webpage for more information and the Activities Calendar for centrally organised activities.

11. Can I get funding towards childcare costs for trainee attendance at SPLIT/KIT/SRTT days?

At present in our region, we do not specifically fund childcare costs as part of expenses claims.

Many regional NHSE-run Return to Training Activities allow you to bring your child with you. Check with the course organiser when booking your place. There is a creche service included at our RTT Spring/Autumn Social, which has been well received in past events. Breastfeeding or expressing is always encouraged and supported. Ask the course organiser if you need assistance with finding a suitable time or place to do this comfortably.

12. I am interested in working LTFT, what should I do?

For trainees considering less than full time training, they should discuss this with their FPD/TPD/Supervisor as early as possible and complete the application process. The Flexible Training Champion at your Trust can also help you with this process.

Please click here for LTFT information.

LTFT Presentation from SuppoRTT Update Webinar

13. What if my plan of return includes an Occupational Health Report?

If Occupational Health stipulates 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.  

14. What is enhanced supervision?

Please visit the Enhanced Supervision webpage for information about enhanced supervision. 

15. When will my next ARCP take place?

The Annual Review of Competence Progression (ARCP) will take place every year for every trainee however, there are occasions where you may have more than one ARCP if you take a period of absence from your training programme.

NHSE recommends;

For parental leave and OOP, whenever possible, you should have an ARCP prior to starting this period of leave. If this is not possible, then this will happen after your return to training. This will review the period from the last ARCP to the start of the OOP / parental leave.

If you have been absent due to more complex reasons i.e. sick or carer’s leave, it is recommended that a date for the ARCP is discussed between yourself and your TPD/FPD/Supervisor at your Pre-Return meeting.

16. What should I do if my supervisor isn’t supporting me?

If you are not getting the required support from your Educational Supervisor, then we would recommend that you contact your TPD or FPD at your earliest opportunity in order to address your concerns. Alternatively, you can contact the SuppoRTT team for further support and guidance on england.supportt.nw@nhs.net.

17. I'm still breastfeeding; what are my rights?

Please see this Breastfeeding Factsheet for information about your legal rights.

18. What courses are funded and is there a cap on funding?

Please see school approved activities for an idea of what courses are allowed.

If a course/activity is overseas and all other curriculum requirements are met, one international event/activity will be considered for each doctor in training for any one programme (Foundation, Core, Higher or otherwise every three years). NHSE will consider funding either the full cost of the course/conference fees or the full cost of economy travel and accommodation whichever is the lower amount.

Page updated 13th May 2024