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Facilitating a period of supervision

During the period of supervision, the doctor should not be on night time or on-call duties.

However, they may wish to perform these duties with appropriate supervision.

Where possible, the experiences should optimise the chances for the doctor to regain surgical skills under supervision and should start off with simpler procedures to build confidence.

Depending on the experience of the doctor, a ‘buddy’ system may be appropriate, i.e. pairing the doctor with either a colleague who is at similar level or more experienced than them during the period of supervision. SAS doctors should connect with their local SAS tutor and/or SAS advocate if available.

During the period of supervision, the doctor should undertake the appropriate Workplace-Based Assessments (WPBAs) to ensure formal feedback and assessment of progress.

A formal review of progress should take place after completion of the period of supervision. The doctor should present evidence (through WPBAs and previously agreed assessments and reflection) of readiness to return to usual clinical duties to the named supervisor. If either party feels that the returning doctor is not ready, an extension of the supervision period should be discussed and arranged.

It is important that even after a doctor has returned to normal clinical duties ongoing support is still available, e.g. through formal/informal mentorship.

You may wish to encourage the doctor (if returning from parental leave) to use their Keeping in Touch (KIT) or Shared Parental Leave in Touch (SPLIT) days in the weeks before their return date to enable a period of supervision if funding the supernumerary period presents a challenge. For doctors enrolled in training, these days are usually funded by NHS England through the SuppoRTT programme.


SuppoRTT was created by NHS England to facilitate a safe return to work for doctors in training. It offers a vast array of learning and support resources that can be customised to meet unique needs.

How to access SuppoRTT?

Once the doctor knows they are going to be taking a break from work, they should contact their local HEE team as soon as is practically possible. This can help facilitate an easier return to work and enable the doctor to effectively utilise their time away.

The local HEE team can provide the doctor with personalised advice and a bespoke ‘return to training’ package with the supervisor.

Every regional HEE team offers slightly different resources within the SuppoRTT programme, but since each doctor's needs are unique, there is an opportunity to request other resources if they would benefit the doctor returning; this should be discussed with the doctor's supervisor.

SuppoRTT | Health Education England (