Return to Work Guidance for Trainees

Support should be given to any trainee returning to work after a period of absence.

Ultimately, the needs of any trainee returning to work will be unique to that trainee and this should be recognised when planning a return to work programme.

It should be emphasised that returning to work can be a stressful experience and all appropriate support should be offered to the trainee to facilitate the process.

Reasons for requiring a return to work programme

  • Returning aftermaternity orpaternity leave
  • A period of full time research
  • Health - physical or mental
  • Following an approved leave of absence
  • Any other reason which has meant the trainee has been away from medical work relating to ICM

The length of absence may influence the speed ofreturn to practice. The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges' Return to Practice Guidance suggests that an absence exceeding 3 months is more likely to affect clinical skills and they provide auseful assessment around which to base local LETB practice.

In Intensive Care Medicine this can be further tailored keeping in mind specific skills which are required for safe hospital practice.

See the guidanwe document below for an example of best practice for regions looking to establish a return to work process for Trainees. This document does not supersede necessary HEE documentation already in place.

We are thankful to trainers in the North West region for their hard work on this document.

Planning an Absence from Work

The trainee, with assistance fromtheir Faculty Tutor or Educational Supervisor should plan the absence from, and return to, work. The Faculty Tutor or Educational Supervisor, Training Programme Director, Head of School, Health Education England (for your region) and Lead Employer should all be notified of the plans.

Consideration should be given to keeping in touch (KIT) days. The Faculty Tutor should address the questions in Appendix 1 of the guidance document. This should be completed and uploaded to the trainee’s e-portfolio.

Returning to Work

The local Training Programme Director will coordinate the return to work. Each ICM training unit should have a consultant nominated to support trainees returning towork after a period of absence.

The TPD should contact the trainee in the first instance. They should establish:

  • The planned RTW date
  • Are they planning to return to work full-time or less than full-time?
  • The TPD will also determine where the trainee is returning to work.

Each unit or placement should have a nominated consultant to support return to work. It is envisaged that this will be either the Faculty Tutor or an experienced Educational Supervisor.

The trainee should meet with the nominated consultant as soon as is practicable, prior to returning to work. It is recommended thatthismeeting takes place at least 8 weeks prior to return to allow enough time to plan. A discussion should take place between the trainee and consultant. Appendix 2 in the above guidance can be used as a checklist at this meeting.

Please consult the guidance linked above for more detail on this important topic.

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