'Supporting the welfare, rights and inclusion of chronically ill and physically disabled doctors and medical students'
Return to Work
Upon your return to work, certain things should occur depending upon the amount of time taken off work and the reasons for the leave. If you have taken sick leave for what you would consider to be a ‘significant’ illness (i.e.one that has long term implications on your daily abilities) then your clinical/educational supervisor +/- HR should conduct a return to work interview, with or without Occupational Health assessment if appropriate. This may also occur for less significant illnesses which have required a ‘prolonged’ time off work
You should be allowed to undergo a phased return to work and, if needed, Occupational Health review to advise on this if your or your medical team feel this would be beneficial
It may be worth considering long term strategies such as reducing your hours of work or changing your work rota by working with HR to ensure that there are regular planned days of the week where your work load is fixed and cannot, unless in extreme circumstances, be influenced by the acute workload on that day to allow for a degree of pacing in order to reduce the likelihood of you needing regular time off sick when crisis point is reached
It is worth noting that, as a cohort, we tend to feel most guilt about ‘letting down’ our colleagues when we are at our most sick/unwell. It is tempting upon a return to work therefore, to overcompensate for the time taken away from work and pay everything back ‘in spades’ which then re-activates the sickness cycle again. Recognising this and trying to avoid this can be very valuable in helping to reduce your stress on return to work and the likelihood of you needing to take further sick leave in the near future
When it comes to returning to work after having time out of training for whatever authourised reason, if you have been away for more than 3 months, you are entitled to support from Health Education England. Each Deanery can organise and provide this support in their own unique way. However, generic information about this service can be found below:
- HEE website: Supporting doctors returning to training after time out