Workforce, training and education
East Midlands

Frequently Asked Questions for Doctors in Training

Click on the blue headings for more information.


What does the SuppoRTT Team offer Doctors in Training?

Doctors in Training returning to training can access the following via the SuppoRTT team:

  • Funding for RTT Coaching from one of our specialist external providers.

  • Funding and access to other specialist forms of support such as Counselling, Study Skills and Exam Coaching from specialist external providers dependent on need (NB – you may need a referral to the Professional Support and Wellbeing (PSW) service to access this)

  • Funding for external update courses not already available in the region, e.g. GP Update; GAS Again (Anaesthetics) – only fees are refunded

  • Funding for Keeping in Touch (KIT) day expenses such as travel and childcare costs for KIT days (NB we do not pay salary for KIT Days; this is paid for by your employer)

  • Support and advice for trainees out of training to help them keep in touch with their training programme and remain updated with clinical skills

  • Evidence-based courses which support returning to training 

  • Access to SuppoRTT Digital and online resources such as Webinars, Podcasts and VR scenarios.

  • Signpost to support from the National SuppoRTT Team and any relevant upcoming courses in other regions

  • SuppoRTT Champions - in Trusts and Schools

Who is eligible to access SuppoRTT help?

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

  • Out of Programme - OOPE/OOPR/OOPC/OOPP/OOPT for more than 3 months
  • 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, PGDiTs must be a PGDiT on a recognised training scheme (such as Foundation Trainees). 

We are currently unable to offer support to Trust Grade Doctors, however the principles of SuppoRTT are being widely followed across Trusts in the East Midlands so you may be able to access similar benefits of the scheme via your Trust.

When should I begin planning time away from training?

As soon as you know you want to take time out, make an appointment with your Educational Supervisor (or TPD or GP Programme Manager for GP Trainees) to discuss your circumstances with them.  This discussion should take place ASAP and ideally no less than three months in advance of your out of programme date (where appropriate). 

At this stage, Doctors in training (in conjunction with their Educational Supervisor or TPD) should start to complete the Pre-Absence Form 1

Have a look at the SuppoRTT timeline to help you plan. 

What is the role of the Supervisor in the provision of SuppoRTT?

Your Educational Supervisor, (or in some cases your Training Programme Director or College Tutor) is required to meet with you to discuss and complete the SuppoRTT forms at three phases: prior to any long term absence (where possible), prior to your return to training and two weeks after your return to training. This is so they they can work with you to review the SuppoRTT plan and decide if any additional support is necessary.  At NHSE WT&E we are reliant on the knowledge and extensive experience of Educators to partake in and approve each bespoke plan and discuss with doctors in training 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 Doctor in training and the Educational Supervisor.  However complex cases, such as ill-health or other issues impacting on the doctor'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 doctor in training should make the initial contact (this does not have to be face-to-face and can be via email, telephone or virtually) to arrange a return to training planning meeting.

What is a SuppoRTT Plan?

Supervisors will work with doctors in training to create an individual SuppoRTT Plan. In doing so doctors should participate in structured planning and review meetings before leaving and on returning to training with their TPD/Educational Supervisor (this should also include the Practice Manager and Programme Manager for GP trainees).  This will enable doctors to consider when they should stay in touch with their training programme whilst out of programme and also facilitates the timely identification of any support required upon returning to training.

There are three key components to creating an individual SuppoRTT Plan:

  1. Planning Your Time Away from Training (see the Pre-Absence Form 1)
  2. Planning Your Return to Training (see the Pre-Return To Training Form 2)
  3. Reviewing your Return to Training (see the Post-SuppoRTT Form 3)

The forms are designed to lead you through the return to training process and act as a prompt regarding potential issues you may need to consider with your Supervisor. 

What should I expect when I return to training?

Where possible, Form 2 - the Pre-Return to Training form, should be completed prior to the return date.  Information logged may include:

  • An up-to-date health assessment (if required)

  • An agreement on the anticipated period of any phased return and/or enhanced supervision

  • 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, HR department (and GM Programme Managers and SLE for GP trainees) 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 including discussion of placement allocation updates

  • 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 is the difference between a period of enhanced supervision and a supernumerary period?

For all doctors in training who are out-of-programme for longer than three months, it is recommended they have a period of enhanced supervision on their return. In the East Midlands this can be for up to 80 hours (two weeks) or may be pro rata for LTFT trainees (this needs to be negotiated with the Training Programme and Trust). A full range of duties can be undertaken (the doctor is not supernumerary) but an increased level of supervision will be provided.  Activities and competencies within work can be assessed using workplace-based assessments.  This period needs to be agreed between the rota co-ordinator, Educational Supervisor and PGDiT at least three months prior to the return. 

A further explanation can be found here Enhanced Supervision | Health Education England East Midlands (

There may be rare occasions when a doctor in training or supervisor feel a full Supernumerary period is required on return, for example when an individual has been off sick for a prolonged period of time. Supernumerary is a period where the doctor in training 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. Due to the workforce issues, a supernumerary period needs to be discussed and agreed with your Supervisor, TPD and rota co-ordinator at least three months in advance and should not be organised at the last minute. You will be paid as normal by the Trust and NHSE WT&E will refund the Trust the cost of your basic salary.

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 you to attend external courses.  Please fill in a SuppoRTT Funding Request Form and forward to the SuppoRTT Officer at with details of the course and why it is important to your 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.  If your application is accepted, you will need to pay for the course yourself and claim back your fees back with us.

External courses should be accessed in the three months prior to your absence or in the three months following your return.  The course must be directly related to your return to training.

We will not fund the costs of exam revision courses or professional fees.

Maternity leave pay entitlements under the NHS scheme & What are KIT/SPLIT Days?

Maternity leave pay entitlements - Guidance on maternity leave entitlements for doctors across the UK working under the NHS scheme.                                                                  See guidance here -

For doctors in training 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 you returning and keep them 'in touch' with the Training Programme.

The NHSE WT&E SuppoRTT team does not organise your KIT days nor pay salary for KIT days.  PGDiT should therefore contact their Supervisor and HR team (this will be Lead Employer for GP Trainees) who will confirm your KIT days and advise on pay. The HEE-EM SupporTT team cannot advise on KIT days.

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

Further information is available via employing Trusts and here:

Also see the KiT and SPLiT days guidance here.

How do I get reimbursed for external courses and KIT Day expenses/childcare?

Funding is currently paused pending the merger of HEE and NHS England on April 1st, 2023.  Please contact the SuppoRTT team for further information at

Funding may be available to reimburse reasonable childcare/travel costs incurred whilst attending KIT Days or for external courses taken related to your return to training (and not available free or locally).  We do not fund subsistence or costs of accommodation for external courses except under exceptional circumstances and with prior authorisation from our Associate Dean.

Once confirmed, you will need to pay any costs yourself and claim this back using our process. You must submit a Claims form before paying for any courses or expenses upfront so that we can confirm to you that we will be able to fund your claim.  

Please note that HEE-EM do not organise KIT/SPLIT days nor do we pay for them - this needs to be arranged by you in conjunction with your local HR team (this will be 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.

Where can I get support with careers?

If you are Doctor in Training who needs careers advice or a Trainer who would like to support a trainee, follow this link for further advice  The SuppoRTT Team is unable to 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 NHSE WT&E-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 you would like to take time out of programme as the application process can be lengthy (3-6 months).  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.

Also see the case studies of trainees returning from OOP and how SuppoRTT has helped them.

Who is eligible to attend EM Return to Training courses?

Places on our free SuppoRTT workshops are available to doctors in training who have recently returned or are due to return to training shortly.

  • You can book on as few or as many workshops as you feel are useful however, once booked, we would be grateful if you could make every effort to attend so that places are not wasted as demand is high
  • Once booked/attended, please could you ensure that your TPD/Educational Supervisor is made aware that you have a place on the workshop at your Return to Training meeting and that you add this information to your Pre-Return to Training Form 2
  • You are welcome to use course days for KIT (if approved by your employer) but please note that HEE-EM does not pay for your KIT days – that is the responsibility of your Trust (or Lead Employer for GP Trainees). You should liaise with the relevant HR Team at your Trust (or Lead Employer for GP Trainees) to advise them that you would like to go on a course as part of your KIT days. It is up to individual Trusts as to whether they accept this and HEE has no control over this part of the process as HEE is not the employer.  If you are a GP trainee, you must advise the Lead Employer of KIT days you would like to take in advance as they have specific rules regarding SRTT days.
    What are my rights in relation to breastfeeding?

    Please see the Breastfeeding Factsheet in the documents section below.

    NHSE WT&E is unable to advise on breastfeeding issues as this is the responsibility of your employer (i.e. - Trust or Lead Employer).

    Useful contacts and links