Supported Return to Training (SuppoRTT)

Anaesthetists may be away from their normal working environment for many reasons and these periods of absence can extend from months to years.

Read on for guidance directed at anaesthetists returning to anaesthesia after a career break. Please note this guidance is not for those who are exploring a change of specialty after a career break. 

Managing a successful return to training is ultimately a customised journey, led by the individual and supported by their employer, with patient safety the key factor to be addressed by both parties. It is the duty of all doctors to ensure they are safe to return to practice.

HEE has developed SuppoRTT (supported return to training) to improve the return-to-work experience of post-graduate doctors. Access to SuppoRTT is available to all trainees in the West Midlands who are planning to take, or are already on, an approved period out of training, usually for a minimum of 3 months’ duration. In some circumstances, trainees with an absence of less than 3 months’ duration may benefit from accessing SuppoRTT and these should be looked at on a case-by-case basis.

 SuppoRTT Process Trainees are encouraged to complete these forms when planning time away from training and prior to return. The aim is for a trainee to identify any support that may be required. The forms should be completed electronically

Complete ‘Planning Your Leave Form

This should be completed with the TPD approximately 3 months prior to your anticipated planned leave date. If the absence is unplanned you should aim to complete it at the earliest opportunity following the start of your leave period.

Complete ‘Planning Your Return Form
This should be completed approximately 3 months prior to your anticipated return date. If this is not possible, you should aim to complete it at the earliest opportunity

Complete the ‘Reviewing Your Return Form
It is advised that this is completed approximately 2 weeks after your return. All steps in this process should be completed collaboratively between the trainee and their ES/College Tutor

SuppoRTT Activities to Consider:

KiT/SPLIT days:

Return to work courses can be extremely helpful for refreshing clinical skills and boosting confidence. You are entitled to 10 KiT/SPLIT days during parental leave and can claim pay for these days. Dr Nicky Osborn (RCoA regional advisor) runs a return-to-work course 3 times a year. The course is free and always gets excellent feedback. 

Please contact Dr Osborn to find out when the next one is and to book your place – 

There are also courses run by the RCOA. More information is on this page:


Trainees must follow their employer’s expense process in order to claim reimbursement for SuppoRTT activities; a copy of the ‘course approval request form’ below must be submitted with the claim. Only activities that have been prospectively approved by the ES/TPD/College Tutor are eligible for reimbursement and these should all be documented on the ‘Planning Your Return Form’. 

Through SuppoRTT employers can claim reimbursement. Employers must complete the SuppoRTT Reimbursement Form below and email it to on a quarterly basis for reimbursement which will be made through the Learning and Development Agreement (LDA) on a quarterly basis.

Enhanced Supervision:

You are entitled to a period of enhanced supervision of 10 NWDs (or 20 sessions) upon returning to work. This should take place in different clinical environments to ensure you get a varied experience. Speak to your ES or CT prior to your return to plan your supernumerary period.  You should not be asked to work unsupervised or cover on-calls solo during this period (unless you wish to). Trainees are encouraged to contact their TPD if they are not being offered this minimum period of enhanced supervision.  During the ‘reviewing your return meeting’ you should discuss with you supervisor whether you feel ready to restart on-calls. Every trainee’s needs will be different depending on the length of their absence and their stage of training etc.

Additional Support:

Returning to work after a prolonged absence can be a stressful time. Formal mentoring is available through the SSA. There is also the option of requesting a buddy at any time once you know you will be undertaking a period of leave – you will be paired with someone who has already gone through the return-to-work process and if possible, placed in the same hospital as you. They can act as a link to work/training while you are off as well as guiding you through your return to work.

Here is the link to request a buddy

SuppoRTT Representatives:

You can also seek advice from our SuppoRTT reps – Beth Lewis and Sarah Dunn at

Helpful Resources: