quote HEE facebook linkedin twitter bracketDetail search file-download keyboard-arrow-down keyboard-arrow-right close event-note

You are here

SuppoRTTive Culture


Many trainees have found that the culture of their workplace has proven to be an obstacle when they return to training, and this can prove to be a barrier to accessing SuppoRTT resources. In order for trainees, patients and the wider NHS to benefit from the valuable resources that SuppoRTT offers, we need to ensure that trainees returning to work are welcomed into a positive, supportive working environment.

Everyone within the health service has a role to play in creating this positive culture, and improving the culture for returning trainees has a knock-on effect in improving culture in the whole NHS; leading to better wellbeing for staff, and safer patient care.


For the SuppoRTT programme to succeed, we need to ensure that it is backed up by a positive training environment.

A film has been launched July 2021, featuring an array of people promoting supportive culture for returning trainees; from trainees themselves to consultants, academics and NHS leaders.


"Supporting returning trainees helps create a safer, more positive culture for our patients and our whole NHS." (Dr Navina Evans, Chief Executive, Health Education England)

"When people return to training, we've got to make sure that they feel like they are cared for, valued and supported; we've got to help them feel a sense of competence and contribution, so that they grow in their confidence and deliver for the patients and the communities we serve." (Professor Michael West CBE)

Your thoughts

We would love to know your thoughts and opinions about the culture for returning trainees in your workplace.

Please fill in our short survey to let us know your experiences. All responses are anonymous.

Thank you for your help, your answers will be used to shape culture change initiatives to improve staff wellbeing and patient care.




We will soon be releasing an e-learning resource: Building a More SuppoRTTive Culture. This looks at the importance of a supportive, positive culture for returning trainees, and how this links to the importance of a positive culture within the wider NHS.

We have worked closely with healthcare leaders and academics including Dr Navina Evans, Professor Michael West CBE and Professor Jim Barrie to put together an engaging, interactive learning resource, which includes videos and practical advice about improving the culture in your own workplace.


The value of mentoring has been recognised for many years and it is a particularly powerful tool for trainees at points of career transition such as returning to work. 

HEE has a cohort of trainee peer mentors who are here to help support trainees in their return to training. Mentorship can help you to;

  • Reflect on your current abilities

  • Set out achievable as desirable goals

  • Develop clinical skills

  • Boost confidence

  • Increase self-belief.

It is also a brilliant opportunity to talk to a peer who can relate to your situation and share their experiences.

Each regional HEE office has its own mentoring programme; please see our own local SuppoRTT pages for more information.

E-learning resource on mentoring 


Professor Michael West CBE: Currently a Senior Fellow at the King’s Fund, Professor of Work and Organisational Psychology at Lancaster University, and Emeritus Professor at Aston University. He has authored more than 20 books, and published over 200 articles on teamwork, leadership and culture, particularly in healthcare. 

His latest book, Compassionate leadership: Sustaining wisdom, humanity and presence in health and social care is available now. The book presents ‘an evidence-based approach to transforming the leadership and cultures of health and social care teams and organisations. Practical, powerful, and compelling, it describes a strategy based on the core human value of compassion, showing that by sustaining that value in health and social care, we can cultivate wisdom, humanity, presence and high-quality in health and care services. Supplemented with practical resources, case examples and searching questions for discussion, it offers a simple, radical and powerfully effective strategy for change’. 

Supporting returning trainees is one aspect of positive NHS culture and we must ensure that all of our NHS people are treated with the compassion and support they need and deserve; because we know that this is what delivers staff wellbeing and high quality patient care.

Further resources

The King’s Fund: Improving NHS Culture

The Kings's Fund: Culture Change Through Collective Leadership

Caring for doctors, caring for patients

BMA: Caring, supporting, collaborative: a future vision for the NHS

Enhancing Junior Doctors' Working Lives