Paediatric Return to Work Guidance


Returning to Work after a period of leave can be a stressful experience.  This aim of this policy is to provide some structure and guidance for the trainee, their supervisor and the paediatric department to which they are returning. It is to ensure patient safety and quality of care whilst giving trainees an opportunity to acknowledge Returning to practice is a challenging time and aim to regain their confidence and skills more quickly.

 A period of absence can be for a number of different reasons and for varying lengths of time all of which may affect how the trainee transitions back to work. The Academy of Medical Colleges “Return to Practice Guidance” recommends that any period greater than 3 months absent from practice should be planned for.   It also states that it can be used for absences less than 3 months if trainee or Educational Supervisor feel it is necessary.

 The Flowchart sheet goes through when and how each form should be used. 

  • Form 1(Pre absence form) should be completed 1 month before the trainee doctor is due to go on absence by the trainee doctor and their Educational Supervisor. If a sudden absence occurs then it should be completed at a mutually convenient time.
  • Form 2 (Pre return to work form) should be completed by a face to face meeting, 6-8 weeks PRIOR to the estimated return date. The trainee must contact his / her Educational Supervisor (or nominated deputy) to arrange this review. This should allow time for necessary adjustments to be made to the rota. It may be appropriate to swap on calls within the first 2 weeks so that the trainee doesn’t start on nights on long days.
  • Form 3 (Post return to work form) should be completed by a face to face meeting, 2-3 weeks after to their return date. This form is different to their Initial placement meeting as a Post Return to Work meeting is to review the trainees progress with respect to a time of absence, however it could be done at the same time as the Trainee initial meeting
  • There is no formal supernumerary period or set of assessments that need to be completed for this Policy.


 Things to consider

 For Educational Supervisors / Clinical Supervisors during the re-introduction period

Every trainee will have different needs for their re-introduction period, and should be aware of what they are. In addition to the questions on the absence from training form you may like to consider:

  • Has the period of leave been extended beyond that which was originally planned? What was the impact of this?
  • How does the doctor feel about their confidence and skills level? Have any new issues arisen since the doctor was last in post which may affect this?
  • Have there been any changes since the doctor was last in post, within the department, hospital or specialty?
  • Most importantly they need to feel supported during this time, as their confidence may be lower than usual.
  • Remember issues of confidentiality may arise and your responsibilities in this respect


For Trainees

There are no mandatory requirements regarding what preparation is necessary before returning to work, however there is a duty to ensure that you are safe to return to practice.

You may like to consider the following suggestions based on guidance:

  • You may be entitled to take up to 10 Keeping in Touch (KIT) days.
  • Explore availability of Return to Work Courses
  • Update your personal development plan and portfolio to prepare for returning to work. Review your last ARCP, training objectives and any outcomes from your annual review.
  • Up date / refresh your knowledge by :
    • Familiarisation yourself with any recent updates to guidelines that have been published during your period of leave (NICE guidance, Resuscitation Council Guidelines, GMC Guidance)
    • Revision of the management of paediatric emergencies
      • Review your level of RCPCH Curriculum


 Helpful courses and resources

  • PGME training days – great opportunity to see colleagues and their resource as well as updates. No cost of study and breast feeding friendly events
  • Bristol Medical Simulation Centre: Step up to registrar course and COPE courses (both attend & teach on)
  • Step back Neonatal Emergencies Course (both attend & teach on)
  • Paediatric care online – RCPCH website resource
  • Paediatric Pearls (UK-based monthly blog newsletter with answers to commonly asked questions from paediatric trainees
  • RCPCH News and Campaigns Sign up for RCPCH press cuttings - a daily summary of the most important Child Health news topics delivered directly to your e-mail inbox.
  • RCPCH yearly conference & RSM study days on different specialties
  • NLS and APLS- revalidation in time for return to work, again if you have your instructor qualification you can teach on them, equally you can be excused for the non work time period if you let them know.


 Useful links

  1. Academy of Medical Royal Colleges. Return to Practice – Guidance.AoMRC March 2012:
  2. South West Paediatric Less Than Full Time Training Guide (Especially the section on Checklist prior to going on prolonged period of absence, Maternity leave & KIT days, Returning to work, Helpful courses
  3. School board members for any questions :