Returning to work in paediatrics - guidance for doctors

This page gives the College's suggested approach for doctors returning to clinical practice after a period of leave. It has details especially for doctors in training, including how to access support within deaneries.
Last modified
8 February 2024

Suggested “return to work” timeline

The SuppoRTT timeline (download below) from Health Education England is a good starting point to think about how to plan your return to work after a period out of clinical practice and what to consider at each stage. The specific forms required by your deanery will vary: speak to your Training Programme Director (TPD) and your Human Resources (HR) department to find out which specific forms are required in your case.

Specific issues for each nation are found further down this page. 

Checklist for returning to work

What to do before returning from leave

  • Educational supervisor meeting - about 3 months before planned return to training. This is to discuss your concerns about returning to training and support needs. Identify any courses/resources that may be helpful prior to return to clinical duties and/or any KIT (keep in touch) or SPLIT (shared parental leave in touch) days and book these in. Discuss the possibility of a period of enhanced supervision; the recommendation is that for the first 2 weeks of returning to work the trainee is not rota’d to undertake any independent out of hours duties.
  • TPD meeting - around same time as educational supervisor meeting. Get in touch with your TPD to discuss and clarify points such as where your post will be on your return to work (this is not always the same post you left).
  • KIT days and SPLIT days (for those on shared parental leave). These generally are taken before accrued annual leave (AL) starts. In some cases you can take them during the accrued AL but in that circumstance, you are generally not paid for the KIT Day and can take an AL day in lieu later instead. Check with your local HR for details where you work. You have 10 available. These can be used to attend courses that you and your educational supervisor feel would be useful, and can also be used to come into work and do some supernumerary shifts prior to your formal return to the rota.
  • Courses: These include resuscitation courses (eg EPALS/APLS/NLS) or back to work courses. When on parental leave you are entitled to study budget to fund these courses. For other types of leave this can vary so check with your TPD.
  • Mentorship: It is recommended that those returning to clinical practice be offered a mentor and, wherever possible, be put in contact with other returners.

Administrative processes to be aware of

  • Submit your “change form”. Check details with HR in the deanery/trust/region that you are returning to. But usually this is an electronic form, completed by your clinical lead confirming your date of return to payroll (for parental leave this will be the date of ending parental leave before you start to take your accrued AL). It also often confirms details on your working hours on return (full time or less than full time (LTFT)), and where you worked before you took leave as well as the post you will be returning to.
  • Your TPD is likely to be a good first person to ask about how to find and complete this form, in some cases they complete it for you once you have discussed your plans together and forward it to the relevant clinical lead.
  • Confirmation of return date requires a minimum 8 weeks’ notice (though longer period of notice generally helpful for rota planning).
  • You can alter maternity leave duration during leave, if shortening it usually a “curtailment notice” form is needed.

Specific issues for each nation


In England, there is now the SuppoRTT (Supported Return to Training) programme which is centrally funded by HEE.

What is SuppoRTT?

As part of the negotiations at the time of the new junior doctor contract in 2016, there was an agreement to try and remove the disadvantage to those trainees who needed to take time out of training for any reason (generally applied to those taking 3 months or more out). SuppoRTT (Supported Return to Training) was formed to address this disadvantage. It aims to provide an individualised package for each doctor returning to training to facilitate a safe and structured return to practice. It is available across England and can provide:

  • Accelerated learning
  • Refresher courses
  • Supported and enhanced supervision
  • Mentoring
  • Supernumerary periods (amount funded can vary by region – clarify with your TPD and SuppoRRT champion)
  • Funding for the above as individually required

This short video explains the programme: SuppoRTT - a Guide

Local support in your deanery

Visit the SuppoRTT HEE website to find a link to the SuppoRTT champion in your deanery and get in contact with them. They will be the best link to helping you navigate the administration of returning to work, to help with accessing local return to work courses and resources, mentoring and coaching programmes, and in arranging any period of enhanced supervision or supernumerary time you may wish to undertake:

HEE National Supported Return to Training website


The formal SuppoRTT programme does not exist, but there are mentoring/buddy schemes in each of the 4 deaneries:

Mentoring schemes and how to contact them in each 4 areas

  • South East Scotland: Offer return to work mentoring to trainees returning from time out of programme. They also offer a mentor to all trainees who are new to the deanery above ST1 and a buddy system for new ST1s. Contact: or visit South East Scotland Paediatric Mentoring
  • North of Scotland: Senior buddies are allocated to any new trainees joining the programme (at any stage), or any other trainees who would like one, though this is not a formal “return to work” mentoring program. For more information and for email contacts to ask to be allocated a buddy: North Deanery Wellbeing Resources
  • West of Scotland: A mentoring program is open to all paediatrics trainees in West of Scotland, though again it does not have a specific return to work mentoring stream. For more information and contacts: West of Scotland Paediatric Mentoring
  • East of Scotland has a more informal buddy scheme set up, for more details and to ask to be matched to a buddy contact:

As well as the TPDs, is the administrator working within all 4 deaneries and an excellent point of contract regarding questions about who to email about leave, return from leave, mentoring, etc.

Whilst the SuppoRTT program does not formally exist in Scotland to fund a supernumerary position on your return, if you find yourself struggling on return to work discuss this with your clinical/educational supervisor or TPD at an early stage. The Scotland Deanery website has useful information and resources for trainees who are struggling: Scotland Deanery - Thriving in Medicine.


Wales offer mentoring / buddy schemes which is available to all paediatric trainees within Wales. A Mentorship Programme is in place and a returning to-work trainee is paired with another trainee who has undergone mentorship training and can provide support. We have an “All Wales Paediatric Mentorship Programme”, whereby all interested paediatric trainees within Wales are paired with a mentor, including those who are returning to work, less than full time or new to the deanery. This is an initiative started for both South and North Wales trainees. Please contact us at the following email address for more information and support:

Wales has a Paediatric Learning, Advice, Networking and Training (PLANT) website which is maintained by trainees and serves as a useful point of contact to find documents, information relevant to training, teaching calendar and events occurring. Please see the following website: PLANT WALES - Home.

HEIW is currently developing a centralised programme for all return-to-work trainees within Wales and information regarding this will be updated in due course.

Northern Ireland

Whilst there is not a specific SuppoRTT scheme there is a very successful Return to Acute Paediatrics course organised by paediatric trainees that runs 1-2 times per year. The course is a refresher for trainees that are returning to work after a period of time out of training. It is free of charge and takes place in RBHSC. The course is generally advertised and booked through the NIMDTA. It is possible to apply for KIT days to attend the course.

Professional support is also available from NIMDTA.

Resources - courses, webinars, guides and apps

Paediatric specific

  • Thrive Paediatrics is a project that aims to improve the working lives of paediatricians and the many multi-layered, multifaceted challenges that they can face in the workforce.
  • London Paediatric Deanery “Paediatric Return to Acute Clinical Practice (PRACP) Course” – open to trainees (as well as all members of the multi-professional team) from across the UK, included high fidelity simulation scenarios, hot topic talks (signposting key updates in paediatrics) and workshops addressing issues associated with flexible training, academic training, ePortfolio, the RCPCH curriculum, resilience etc: PRACP Course
  • Scotland Deanery “Back to Work in Paediatrics” run in Glasgow and usually twice yearly, email for upcoming dates and more details about the programme
  • Resus council courses eg APLS/EPALS and NLS can be attended whilst on leave, for example using your KIT/SPLIT days if applicable. Study budget can also be accessed when on parental leave to fund attendance on these courses
  • RCPCH courses and events can also be attended (using KIT/SPLIT days if on parental leave): RCPCH Courses and Events

Generic courses

Webinars and what to watch

  • SuppoRTT online resources eg webinars, online learning, podcasts and videos. These are designed to help you on your return to training. (generic, not paediatrics specific): SuppoRTT Online Resources Link
  • RCPCH webinar archive to refresh on any topics you chose: RCPCH Webinar Archive
  • Videos made by members of the London Paediatrics Deanery “Paediatric Return to Acute Clinical Practice (PRACP) Course”, addressing less than full time training, human factors, sleep management, serious incidents and returning to clinical practice – barriers and solutions: PRACP Video Learning Material
  • Personal stories: Dr Helen Goodyear, Head of School in the West Midlands, interviews Dr Rebecca Martin and Dr Karen Manias on their experiences of returning to paediatric training after an OOP (out of programme) time for research and maternity leave: RCPCH Personal RTW Stories
  • Returning to Paediatrics Training Series: Supporting a returning trainee – a guide for educational and clinical supervisors: RCPCH - Supporting a returning trainee webinar

What to read

What apps to download on your phone

  • Clinical guidelines, drug doses and algorithms: examples include “GG&C paediatric Guidelines”, “Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne Clinical Guidelines”, “Paediatric Emergencies” and “NeoMate”
  • The BNFC app
  • Induction App for phone and bleep number lists where you work