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Return to Practice: allied health professionals, healthcare scientists and practising psychologists

If you want to return to the HCPC register, we can provide the help and information you need to Return to Practice.

Make an enquiry or register your interest now. 

Start date: Now! You can start whenever you are ready

Duration: 2 years to complete your RtP journey from start to finish

Funding (England):

Returner - £800

An organisation that hosts a Returner - £500

Contact: R2PAHP-HCS@hee.nhs.uk 


HCPC RtP Requirements and registration

Overview - why choose RtP?

If you are registered with the HCPC and have been out of your profession for 0-2 years there is no need to do any additional study or work experience. You can apply for relevant jobs straight away.  However, if you would like to talk through your options, or require some support, contact the Health Care Professions Council. The programme may be able to provide support if looking for a period of updating but not specific to return to practice.

If you have been off the register for two or more years, or if you did not register within five years of after qualification, you will need to undertake a period of updating your skills and knowledge. This can be undertaken within the healthcare educational and social care sector. The programme will support returnees who undertake supervised practice in the following areas including the NHS, Social Care Councils, Charities, Voluntary and non-profit making independent sector organisations. You can also use private study and formal study as evidence. Please see the HCPC RTP guidance for more information.

Eligibility criteria

The programme is open to and supports all current and former HCPC registrants:

  • All former HCPC registrant who live in England and plan to return to work in England once returned to the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) register.
  • You need to have been previously registered with the HCPC or qualified in the UK but have not registered in the last five years. If you have not registered with the HCPC since qualifying but did not re-register in the last two years, please contact the HCPC for advice.
  • Registrants who remained on the HCPC register for more than two years but have not practised.

Currently, the programme is not open to:

  • Overseas AHPs, HCSs or practising psychologist that qualified abroad and have never been registered with the HCPC. If trained overseas and never formally registered with the HCPC please follow the link to the HCPC website and follow the International registration process’ https://www.hcpc-uk.org/registration/getting-on-the-register/international-applications/
  • Returnees looking to work outside England when they have returned to the register.
  • Returnees that have any fitness/condition to practice issues cited against them by the HCPC.
  • The programme is unable to support Biomedical Scientists looking to undertake a period of updating to meet their Certificate of Competency. The programme is unable to support training posts.
  • The HEE AHP/HCS RTP programme does not support Social Workers to return to the HCPC register. Should you require any further support in this area please follow the link. http://www.returntosocial.work/
  • Is not open to those looking to return outside England; the other home nationals have similar programmes to support.

How you RtP - updating your skills

If you have had a career break, you may need to undertake a period of updating of your skills and knowledge before you can return to work in the healthcare and social care sector,  before being able to return to the HCPC register.

The HCPC defines a returnee to practice as an individual that has been out of practice for more than two years. This applies to you if your registration has lapsed, or if you did not go on to register once finishing your qualifications, and therefore have not practised.

HCPC recommends these minimum requirements to update your skills:

  • 0-2 years out of your profession – no requirements
  • 2-5 years out of your profession – 30 days of updating your skills and knowledge
  • 5 years or over out of your profession – 60 days of updating your skills and knowledge.

Your professional body will be able to let you know the specific RtP requirements for your profession - see supporting your study section for further information.

Supporting your study

Local organisations are encouraging returnees to work with them to gain the relevant skills and knowledge to meet the re-registration requirements for the HCPC. Placements need to be NHS, Social Care or non-profit making organization. Non NHS providers can be considered if they provide NHS contracted services.  

We can provide funding for out-of-pocket expenses and any relevant course that allows you to update your skills and knowledge. Once you have formally registered with the RtP programme you can find out more information.  

A number of local universities and NHS Trusts are encouraging returnees to work with them to gain the relevant skills and knowledge to meet the re-registration requirements for the HCPC.

We can provide funding for out-of-pocket expenses and any relevant RtP course or appropriate postgraduate study delivered by English AHP/HCS pre-registration universities.

To find out about the specific RtP requirements for your profession and the courses available find your profession in the list below:

Art therapist

Biomedical scientist


Clinical scientist


Hearing aid dispensers

Occupational Therapist

Operating department assistant




Practitioner psychologist



Speech and language therapist

Placement and employment

Local health, social care and educational organisations are keen to support returnees by providing clinical placements and/or employment.

We can let you know the about local organisation nearest to you who may be able to offer you support with supervised practice. We cannot guarantee all organisations will be able to support your to return.  You can also visit the NHS jobs and the TRAC website and type in 'return to practice' for more information potential return to practice roles.

For me it was well worth the journey and the feeling of accomplishment is arguably greater than when I graduated university, simply because of the juggling act of home/study life. I feel very proud to be able to say I am now a practising Occupational Therapist.

Ashleigh, Occupational Therapist and returner after six years.

Case studies 

>> Hear from Sandra Roper about her experience returning in 2020 during a pandemic

>> Access our written case studies here 


Watch Alan's story - Alan was returning to practice as a diagnostic radiographer during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Watch Cherry's story - Cherry was returning to practice as a radiographer during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Watch James' story - James was returning to practice as a physiotherapist during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Watch Rachel's story - Rachel was returning to practice as an occupational therapist during the COVID-19 pandemic.



Anyone considering returning to practice should definitely give it a go, it is never too late to get back into the work place, I am proof of that!

Mark, Diagnostic Radiographer and returner after 29 years.

I had been away from the profession for 25 years but it didn’t take long before I felt very at home again after all people haven’t changed, the skills you need to motivate and engage with people are still the same and human anatomy is still the same!

Diane, Physiotherapist and returner after 25 years.



The Government Equalities Office (GEO) has published an evaluation of this work to date. 

1. Let us know that you are thinking of returning to practice by completing the returnee information form. 

2. Contact the HCPC to discuss their requirements for you to re-register in your profession. Ask them to clarify how many days updating is required and provide you HCPC number if not previously issued.

3. Contact your relevant professional body to discuss any individual requirements you may have in order to re-register.

We look forward to hearing from you.

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