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Consultants, SAS and Locally Employed Doctors


As a Consultant, SAS or Locally Employed Doctor returning to work, you may experience very different stressors to Trainees due to seniority and level of expectation from you on immediate return.

This may include supervision of juniors during potentially complex procedures, which you yourself may not have performed for the entire period of your absence.

As with Trainees, any absence of leave for more than three months can lead to a significant decline in skills and knowledge and any period of more than 2 years is likely to require some form of formal re-training2.

It is therefore important that your learning needs and concerns are addressed. Integration back into work should also include a phased return to work in which you are able to focus on rebuilding confidence and skills to your previous level as quickly as possible.

The framework for all doctors returning to work should follow the same principles for Trainees returning to work.

In addition to this, should be an either formal or informal ‘buddy’ system. The buddy system would involve you being paired with a peer (who can be more or less senior to yourself) with whom you can meet for on going support after the phased return to work period has been completed.


Peer to Peer Support

The College offers informal peer to peer to members who are looking for guidance from their peers on workplace issues. This is not intended as a formal mentoring service but more a ‘connection’ service and a way for members to find other members who are willing and able to give guidance on handling mainly non-clinical issues. This may be one-off support or may lead to an ongoing dialogue. The service is treated as strictly private and confidential. Issues discussed will not be shared outside the peer to peer relationship unless there is a specific agreement between the mentor and mentee or a safety issue arises. You can make an initial enquiry using the form below.


Suggested framework

Pre-absence planning

  • Inform Head of Department/Line Manager of intention to take absence from work
  • Arrange Occupational Health appointment for Workplace Risk assessment as needed
  • Organise appraisal meeting to discuss how to maintain CPD, knowledge and skills whilst away
  • Complete Absence from Work form


During leave

  • Once return date confirmed, contact Department before hand to meet with Line Manager (6-8 weeks before return date is recommended)
  • Discuss needs on return, focusing on ways to re-build skills and knowledge in most efficient way, i.e. organising theatre lists with uncomplicated cases with appropriate access to supervision/back up
  • Agree on period of phased return to work and method of feedback/assessment
  • Agree on timeline for review of progress and assessment of readiness
  • Complete first part of Return to Work form 
  • Arrange KIT days with department – can be used for regaining passwords, IT training
  • Arrange Refresher courses e.g. PROMPT/local skills and drills training


On return to work

  • Once agreed period of phased return completed, meet with Line Manager to review progress
  • Extend period of phased return or,
  • Mutually agree on readiness to return to usual clinical duties
  • Complete second part of Return to Work form 
  • Agree ongoing support with informal/formal ‘buddy’ system


Special considerations and financial implications

You may find additional useful information in Resources including:

Special considerations

  • Workplace Risk Assessments
  • Out of Programme Placements

Financial implications of taking an Absence from Work

  • Out of Programme (OOP) Pay
  • Maternity Pay
  • NHS Occupational Maternity Pay (OMP)
  • Sick pay
  • Professional subscriptions
  • Working locum shifts whilst absent from work