The Return to Practice (RTP) programme from Health Education England (HEE) supports former Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) registrants, who have left their professions, to re-enter and gain their registration. Since the programme began in 2017, more than 600 allied health professionals have been helped to return to the HCPC register.
A great milestone was achieved last month when the cumulative total of radiographer returners hit the 100 mark – 21 therapeutic and 79 diagnostic. This is great news. We welcome them back and value their contribution.
In the HEE Supervised Practice Survey 2021, returners told us they wanted support in finding supervised practice, more flexible working and a centralised point of contact in organisations with knowledge of the RTP HCPC requirements and the HEE RTP programme.
They noted a lack of clarity in how to return to practice and mentioned difficulties associated with attaining placements. The RTP programme, in collaboration with HEE and the Royal College of Occupational Therapists, aims to assist with these issues and improve the RTP experience for radiographers.
If you are registered with the HCPC and have been out of the profession for less than two years, there is no need for any additional study or work experience. You can apply for relevant jobs straight away. Radiographers who have been off the register for more than two years will need to complete the RTP process to update their knowledge and skills.
The HEE RTP programme offers many benefits to returnees, including support to find a supervised practice placement, financial help and peer support through a closed Facebook group. The programme is also about to offer returnees HEE leadership placements with the help of our AHP regional leads.
RTP requirements are flexible and allow professionals to update their knowledge and skills through a self-directed process. It means a returner is able to decide for themselves how to complete their period of updating in a way that best suits their personal circumstances, be that through supervised practice, private studies or formal ones. The timescale to complete the RTP process stands at 24 months (increased from 12 because of the pandemic).
Organisations need to take a flexible approach to help returners to practice. Some ways to do this include:
The HEE RTP programme team can provide support on all these issues. Email us at [email protected]
Radiographers and employers can access support through the SoR website at www.sor.org/returning
In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, AHP leads will have links to the key contacts and HR departments can advise on mechanismsto return, with service leads being the main contact for returnees.