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Planning a return to work

Returning to work can be daunting but with the right support doctors can make a smooth transition back to working life.

Maternity Leave

If you are taking maternity leave, your expected return date is based on 52 weeks' paid and unpaid leave entitlement under the NHS Scheme. The length of any period of accrued leave that has been agreed upon may be taken following the end of the formal maternity leave period (9).

If you plan on returning to work before the expected return date, you will need to give your trust/health board at least 28 days' notice, the exact period will vary between employers (9).

Sick leave

If you are considering a return to work after a period of ill health, you should discuss this with your GP or specialist who may also be able to suggest changes to assist your return.

You should also contact Occupational Health to assess your fitness to practice and discuss what additional support or adaptations you may need (e.g. reduced working hours, no on-call, no nights).


If you are returning from an Out of Programme (OOP), you must ensure that your TPD is aware of your anticipated date of return to secure re-entry to the programme. Training placements will depend on availability and therefore it is important you give at least 6 months' notice before your return. You may not return to the same placement as prior to OOP. It is therefore important that a pre-absence meeting clearly states the support you may need on return.