For the purposes of patient safety, a clear, supportive process for those Returning to Work should be in place2.
The emphasis should also be on the doctor to ensure that they themselves feel ready to return to work.
Policies should include2:
- 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 doctor’s needs, including a period of supervision,
- Agreement of timelines for completion of any assessments/training set out in initial review in order to assess readiness to return to usual clinical duties,
- Provision of on going support either through formal mentorship/ clinical supervision, ‘buddying’ with a colleague and/or steering towards informal support systems for example Facebook groups such as ‘Tea and Empathy’ group or the Physicians Mum UK group1.
Developing a Return to Work policy