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Developing a Return to Work policy

For the purposes of patient safety, a clear, supportive process for those returning to work should be in place (3).

The emphasis should also be on the doctor to ensure that they feel ready to return to work.

Policies should include(3):

  • Preparation before any absence to work, where possible
  • An initial evaluation of the individual doctor’s needs just before or on return to work
  • Following evaluation, a proportionate response to address the doctor’s needs, including a period of supervision
  • Agreement of timelines for completion of any assessments/training set out in the initial review in order to assess readiness to return to usual clinical duties
  • Subsequent meetings to ensure that required objectives have been met, competencies achieved and WPBAs are completed. If required, an extension of supervised duties should be agreed during this meeting
  • Provision of ongoing support either through formal mentorship/clinical supervision, ‘buddying’ with a colleague and/or steering towards informal support systems
  • To build peer support systems through networking opportunities