Supported Return to Training (SuppoRTT)

SuppoRTT is a centrally funded Health Education England project to help trainees return to training. This project was formed following the junior doctor contract talks where HEE offered to enhance the return to training (RTT) experience of trainees and the support given to doctors who are out of programme (OOP).  Find out more information about SuppoRTT in this short video

:At HEE EM we now have a process in place where trainees are encouraged to complete an individualised Return to Training plan when planning any time away from training or planning their return to identify support required on return in order for them to step back into training after taking time out without unnecessary difficulties.

All trainees can also use the national "My SuppoRTT" website My SuppoRTT (a UHBristol project) to access a wealth of information tailored towards their specialty and/or region.  It also includes inspiring videos relating to the return experience and the different obstacles that trainees can face.  (Please note this is a national website and not all the processes featured are available in the East Midlands).  The national website will be updated regularly so please keep an eye on it.


NEW FOR AUTUMN 2019! The SuppoRTT forms have been updated and are available.  We now have 3 forms:

- Form 1 - SRTT Planning your time away from Training

- Form 2 - SRTT Planning your return to Training

- Form 3 - SRTT Reviewing your return to Training


Dr Craig Smith - Lead APD for SuppoRTT
Lynne Cooke - SuppoRTT Officer


Useful Links:

HEE National Supported Return to Training document

HEE Enhancing Working Lives 

The Gold Guide 7th Edition



Who is eligible to access SuppoRTT help?

Access to SuppoRTT is available in the East Midlands Region to trainees who are thinking about, or are already taking an approved time out of training for the following reasons:

- Out of Programme - OOPE/OOPR/OOPC/OOPE

- Planned parental leave of 3 months or more

- Sick leave of 3 months or more

To be eligible to access support through the SuppoRTT Scheme, trainees must either have a national training number (NTN) or be a trainee on a recognised training scheme (such as Foundation Trainees)

We are also currently unable to offer support to Trust Grade Doctors, Public Health and Dental Trainees.however the principles of SuppoRTT are being widely followed across Trusts in the East Midlands so you may be able to access some benefits of the scheme in your Trust even if HEE-EM are unable to provide actual support.

When should I begin planning time away from training?

As soon as you know you want to take time out, make an urgent appointment with your Educational Supervisor (or TPD's for GP Trainees) to discuss the situation with them.  This should be no less than 3 months in advance (where appropriate). 

At this stage, Trainees (in conjunction with their Educational Supervisor or TPD) should start to complete Return to Training Form 1 (Pre-absence Planning and Absence Activities Form).  This form can be found in the document list below. 

What is the role of the Supervisor in SuppoRTT?

The ES (Educational Supervisor), TPD (Training Programme Director) and College Tutor is required to meet with the trainee to discuss and complete the SuppoRTT forms prior to the trainee absence (where possible), prior to their return and 2 weeks after their return to training, to review their plan and decide if any additional/further support is necessary.  At HEE we are reliant on the knowledge and extensive experience of Educators to partake in and approve each bespoke plan and discuss with trainees what is best to support their return.

Who should conduct my Return to Training planning meetings?

The planning meeting should normally be conducted between the trainees and the Educational Supervisor.  However complex cases, such as ill-health or other issues impacting on the trainee's ability to complete the training programme, may require the involvement of the TPD, Head of School, APD and HR of the employing Trust if necessary.

The trainee should make the initial contact via an email or telephone call to arrange a face-to-face pre-return to training planning meeting.

What is a SuppoRTT Plan?

Trainees will complete an individualised SuppoRTT Plan and participate in structured planning and review meetings when leaving and returning to training with their TPD/Educational Supervisor (or Practice Manager for GP's).  This will enable trainees to document any plans to stay in touch with training while away from practice and also identify any support required upon their return.

There are 4 key components to the RTT process:

  1. Pre-absence Planning and Absence Activities
  2. Pre-Return to Training Planning
  3. Return to Training Enhanced Supervision Period
  4. Return to Training Sign Off
What should I expect when I return to training?

Where possible, an action plan should be created before the return to work date and may include:

  • 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)

The TPD, Educational Supervisor, Service Lead, Rota Coordinator and HR dept must be aware of the return date and must plan an initial induction session for the Trainee.  This should include active consideration of:

  • A welcome back meeting
  • Essential Employer induction (security, ID badges, Parking etc)
  • A plan of activities for the first week
  • Awareness of key policy or procedural changes
  • Awareness of new personnel
  • Awareness of key new equipment


What's the difference between a period of enhanced supervision 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 supernumerary period needs to be discussed with your Supervisor, TPD and rota co-ordinator at least 3 months in advance and should not be organised at the last minute.  You will be paid as normal by the trust and HEE will refund the trust.

Can I take external training courses during my time out of programme?

Attending pre-existing regional courses is the preferred method for re-developing confidence and competence.  If there are no suitable regional courses available, there may be a small amount of funding available for trainees to attend external courses.  Please fill in a SuppoRTT funding claim form and forward to the SuppoRTT Officer at with details of the course and why it is important to your return to training.  Courses should ideally take place in the 3 months preceding or post the trainees return to training.  Funding for external courses is at the discretion of the SuppoRTT team therefore it is recommended that you check with the SuppoRTT team before paying for courses.  Please note that, if confirmed, you will need to pay for the course yourself and will be reimbursed.

What are KIT/SPLIT Days?

For trainees taking maternity leave, Keeping in Touch (KIT) days should be used to access anything that will help them get back up to speed when returning to training. This could include shadowing in clinic or theatre, attending any relevant training courses, regional teaching, departmental meetings, accessing mandatory training or anything that will support trainees returning and keep them 'in touch' with the training programme.

The HEE SuppoRTT team does not organise nor pay for KIT days.  These should be discussed with your Supervisor and confirmed with your HR team (or Lead Employer for GP Trainees).  Your HR team will also be able to advise you on pay for your KIT days.  We do not have any further KIT days information - please speak to your local HR team (or Lead Employer for GP's).

Similarly for trainees taking shared parental leave, Shared Parental Leave in Touch (SPLIT) days may be utilised in the same way.

Trainees are strongly encouraged to plan the utilisation of any KIT or SPLIT days with HR at their employing Trust and any plans documented on their SuppoRTT plan form.  The SuppoRTT team cannot organise KIT/SPLIT days - this should be negotiated with your trust.

Further information is available via employing Trusts and here:

Can I get reimbursed for childcare/reasonable travel costs for my KIT/SPLIT days?

A small amount of funding may be made available to reimburse childcare or travel costs incurred while attending KIT or SPLIT days.  Please contact the SuppoRTT team for further help at  Please note that we do not pay for nor organise KIT/SPLIT days - this needs to be arranged by you in conjunction with your local HR team (or Lead Employer for GP Trainees).  If you are on maternity leave, the employer who is paying your maternity leave pay will pay for your KIT days, even if you are moving Trust to a new placement.

PLEASE NOTE THAT NO EXPENSES WILL BE REPAID WITHOUT A RECEIPT.  Please ensure that you keep receipts safe as proof.  For childcare costs we will need a receipt/invoice from your childcare provider with the exact costs to be repaid.

What if I am a trainee/trainer needing support with careers?

If you are trainee who feels they need careers advice or trainer who would like support for a trainee, follow this link for further advice  The SuppoRTT/PSU Team does not provide careers advice.

I am planning to take time out of Programme (OOP). What is the process for applying?

You will need to follow the East Midlands process for applying to take time out of programme.  Please use this link for further information 

Please speak to your TPD as soon as you become aware your would like to take time out of programme as the application process can be lengthy.  The earlier your TPD knows about your plans, the sooner the planning process can begin. 

The SuppoRTT Programme is separate to the OOP Process and the two should not be confused.