There are many reasons why a trainee may have a prolonged period of absence from clinical work. Whatever the circumstance, time away can significantly impact on a trainee’s competence, technical skills and confidence. Recognising this, in 2017 the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (AoMRC) produced their Return to Practice guidance which recommended a framework for ‘Pre-absence Planning’ and ‘Return to Work’ assessment to enable doctors and supervisors to mutually formulate action plans in which individual needs are recognised and acted upon. Subsequently, Health Education England developed its Supported Return to Training initiative "SuppoRTT" which provides generic documentation for trainees in all specialties to use when planning an absence and when planning their return. The SuppoRTT programme also has a dedicated pot of funding which is available to training programmes and to individuals through their local HEE office.
RCR's Return to Training Toolkit
The RCR is keen to support radiology trainees who are returning to training. With this in mind we have developed a toolkit which provides advice and guidance tailored to radiology. We hope this will support radiology trainees undertaking generic return to work programmes and facilitate such activities in regions that have yet to establish anything similar.
The resources contained within the toolkit are heavily based on HEE's generic documentation as well as resources produced by the Royal College of Obstetricans and Gynaecologist (RCOG) and we are grateful for their willingness to share their work. Thanks are also due to the London School of Radiology which is pioneering this work within the specialty and many of the resources included in the toolkit are based on theirs.
Alongside the toolkit itself there is also some additional guidance on out of hours supervision, supervision of imaging studies and practical procedures, and mentorship, as well as a couple of case studies.
Returning to training following COVID-19
We have adapted the forms in our radiology return to training toolkit to facilitate a structured and supported return to training following COVID-19. If you were redeployed, have had to self-isolate or shield, you may find these adapted forms useful:
Developing your own return to training course
The London School of Radiology has developed it's own return to training course which has now runs successfully three times a year with excellent feedback. It has proved to be a very valuable resource and we would recommend that all regions consider implementing such activity.
In order to assist in this process we have developed some guidance on how you might structure such a course, what to include and what supporting material may be useful. In addition there is a case study from the current organiser of the London course.
Accessing HEE funding
Every HEE region has been allocated funding to be used for the provision of support to trainees returning from absence. Trainees can make individual applications to this fund and all who are getting ready to return should be encouraged to do so. It can be used for a variety of activties such as return to training courses and supernumery clinical sessions. Applications to the fund can also be made by trainers wishing to establish return to training courses or other activities that would fall under the SuppoRTT umbrella. Go to your HEE Local Office's website to find out how to apply.
Send us your feedback and contribute to future developments
We are keen to ensure that the toolkit and the guidance on these pages is useful and appropriate for all radiology trainees who are returning from a period of absence. To ensure that is the case we need your feedback and suggestions. Please let us know your thoughts on the resource and tell us about your experience of using it to plan your own return. Feedback can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have any queries about the toolkit or need advice on returning to work email email@example.com.
The development of this toolkit has been led by Dr Sam Fossey, JRF Chair and LTFT Representative, supported by Dr Kate Hawtin (RCR LTFT training and working advisor) . Dr Fossey initiated and coordinated the project and has contextualised the forms and guidance to the new radiology curriculum. Dr Hawtin developed Supported Return to Training resources for Radiologists in London, and her work and experience form the foundation of this guidance. If you are returning to training and want advice, or if you have feedback on the toolkit, Dr Fossey and Dr Hawtin are keen to hear from you. They can be contacted via the RCR by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.