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Supported return to training

We are committed to developing a supportive, high quality learning environment for all doctors in training, regardless of their personal circumstances. Our Supported Return to Training strategy and investment plan outline how we will deliver better support to doctors who return to training after approved time out.


As part of the Acas Junior Doctors’ Contract Agreement, we committed to develop evidence-based, innovative approaches for supporting postgraduate medical trainees who return to training after time out of programme.

To inform our strategy, we ran a call for ideas to better understand the pastoral and training requirements of trainee returners. We asked about the challenges faced by these doctors; sought feedback on the provision existing effective support; and encouraged the submission of innovative ideas that were evidenced but perhaps untested. The call for ideas received responses from doctors in training and their representative bodies, educators, medical Royal Colleges, employers, and other clinical professions.

In response to the views we heard, and further feedback and discussion at a co-design event, we have outlined 10 commitments to support trainees with their return to training. These include:

  • capturing data on returners so we can continue to provide individualised support for returning trainees where and when it is required;
  • ring-fencing funding for doctors to access activities and resources in support of their return;
  • coordinating and centralising a defined process for exit, time out and re-entry to the training programme;
  • commissioning training and resources for Educational Supervisors to help them better support trainee returners;
  • delivering biannual Keeping in Touch conferences;
  • collaborating internally and with the wider system to identify and address interdependencies and raise the profile of returners’ voices;
  • conducting further investigation to develop a “menu” of bespoke return to training approaches for trainees.

We will continue to work with trainees, their membership organisations and other organisations with responsibility for education, training and the regulation of postgraduate medical trainees to deliver our Return to Training strategy, and to identify and resolve further areas for improvement.

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