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). 

In the East Midlands the SuppoRTT Project will be managed by Health Education England Working across the East Midlands Professional Support Unit (HEE EM PSU).

Health Education England has since allocated funding to each region to deliver the SuppoRTT intiative. SuppoRTT funding will be held centrally, managed in each local office and be used to support all East Midlands trainees.

The East Midlands has received funding which covers the following areas:

  • - Local Office KIT events
  • - East Midlands wide awareness events
  • - Educational Supervisor upskilling
  • - Trainee support e.g. coaching/counselling/study skills
  • - SIMs
  • - Shadowing support for trainees

Progress so far:

  • - HEE EM held an awareness event (Enhancing Junior Doctors Lives) on June 22nd 2018 attended by over 100 Educators and Trainees who took part in discussions around enhancing junior doctors lives and supporting trainees returning to training.
  • - One-to-one coaching has been arranged for Out of Programme (OOP) Trainees with our external PSU coach providers.
  • - A Productivity Retreat has been arranged for OOPR Trainees with Dr Katy Mahoney, an independent professional development coach (details and booking via Intrepid Course Manager).
  • A new course entitled Resilient Thinking for Peak Performance has been introduced for all trainees to start monthly from Dec 2018 (details and booking via Intrepid Course Manager)
  • A new mentoring and coaching course entitled Mentorship Using a Coaching Approach is due to start for all Trainees from Feb 2019 (details and booking via Intrepid Course Manager)
  • - Educational Supervisor training (half days) have been provided from October 2018 on a monthly basis to upskill Supervisors and provide consistent approaches of supporting trainees returning to training.  These courses are called Managing the Trainee Returning to Training: A SuppoRTT Workshop for Educational Supervisors (details and booking via Intrepid Course Manager). 
  • COMING Mid-2019 - online SuppoRTT Educational Supervisor training via our VLE (details to be confirmed)
  • - Funding has been made available for authorised trainee expenses for KIT/SPLIT days, external training courses while on parental leave and enhanced shadowing on return to training.  See FAQ below. 
  • - HEE EM engaged with the East Midlands Simulation Network (EMSN) and provided funding to allow  starting trainee focused SIMs  support.  iRIS, an on-line web-based platform, has been made available to develop simulation content for doctors returning to training.  Information about IRIS and how trainees can register can be found here


Laura Meaney - National and Regional Lead SuppoRTT Project

Dr Craig Smith - Lead APD for SuppoRTT Project Initiative

Lynne Cooke - SuppoRTT Project Support Officer 

Email address for queries:

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 currently unable to offer support to doctors who do not meet these criteria.  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 TPD/College Tutor 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 Appendix A of the Return to Training Guidance (SuppoRTT Policy). 

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

Please speak to your Training Programme Director/College Tutor as soon as you become aware your would like to take time out of programme.  The earlier they know about it, the sooner the planning process can begin. 

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 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.

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.

Further information is available via employing Trusts and here:

Can I have a period of enhanced Shadowing when I return to work?

In order to rapidly regain clinical knowledge and confidence, doctors returning to training following a sustained period of absence will be strongly encouraged to participate in a period of enhanced shadowing.  As a Trainee you will need to negotiate this with your HR/Rota Coordinator and your Educational Supervisor/College Tutor at least 3 months prior to your return date and the agreed amount will depend on budgetary and need review.  If you want to work on-call or out-of-hours during your enhanced shadowing period, you will need to agree this in advance and ensure that a peer or consultant colleague is available to offer supervision at the time.

Can I take 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.  A SuppoRTT Funding Request form will need to be completed by the Supervisor and Trainee and submitted at least 3 months in advance.

Please note that all expenses will be repaid by the Employing Trust, NOT HEE-EM.  Trainees should put in an expenses claim form in the usual way noting on their form that funds will be repaid by HEE-EM under the SuppoRTT Scheme.  You MUST then complete a SupoRTT Funding Request Form and send it to us to let us know the costs so we can repay your Trust.

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

Reimbursement of childcare costs and reasonable travel expenses for KIT/SPLIT Days - For trainees taking maternity leave, Keeping in Touch (KIT) days may be used to attend relevant training courses, regional teaching or departmental meetings.  Similarly, for trainees taking shared parental leave, Shared Parental Leave in Touch (SPLIT) days may be utilised in the same way.  A small amount of funding may be made available to reimburse childcare or travel costs incurred while attending KIT or SPLIT days.  A SuppoRTT Funding Request Form must be completed by the Supervisor and Trainee.

Please note that all expenses will be repaid by the Employing Trust, NOT HEE-EM.  Trainees should put in an expenses claim form in the usual way noting on their form that funds will be repaid by HEE-EM under the SuppoRTT Scheme.  You MUST then complete a SupoRTT Funding Request Form and send it to us to let us know the costs so we can repay your Trust.

What is 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