Return to practice: Allied Health Professionals

Return to practice: Allied Health Professionals

Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) are the third largest health and care workforce in England.

AHPs deliver crucial patient-centred care in both clinical and community settings.

Our Return to Practice Programme in Surrey Heartlands supports the recruitment of AHP staff.

I am a returner

Returning to practice is a very important decision. If you feel ready to return to the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) register, but are unsure how to do it, you are in the right place.

We can guide you through the process, step by step, to ensure a smooth transition back to current practice.

There are different requirements for returners. These depend on the length of your career gap.

As a returner, you are expected to be responsible for your learning. You will need to have a good working relationship with the placement provider that you choose.

Roles and Responsibilities: Returners

A returner has the responsibility to:

  • Provide the organisation offering the RTP programme with a letter from the HCPC, stating the date they left the register and any information related to previous fitness to practice
  • Register with the HEE Return to Practice programme
  • Discuss learning needs with the learning facilitator and supervisor and outline the placement required to regain skills and competences
  • Lead their own RTP placement and complete a RTP booklet with appropriate information and supervisor signature
  • Carry out self-lead study as part of their RTP programme and keep record of it
  • Carry out and record self-reflective practice as part of their return to practice process and as evidence to submit to HCPC for registration

Evidence for submission to HCPC

On completing the requirements set out by HCPC the returner needs to submit their evidence and complete the following forms:

The Return to Practice Returners Record Booklet [docx] 169KB has been developed to support the returner to gather evidence during their supervised practice.

What can I claim for as a Returner?

Return to Practice Funding

One of NHS England (previously HEE) responsibilities is to make long term investments in education, managing their annual budget the best possible way which is in line with NHSE overall goal and ensuring value for money to the public.

Funding is available for up to £1300 for those that sign up to the Return to Practice Programme and are undertaking a supervised practice with a NHS commissioned health, educational, social care service or charity.

Funding will only be paid to Returners and any supporting organisation when the returner has formally registered their interest with the Return to Practice Programme by completing the relevant HCPC Return to Practice Programme questionnaire and have been assigned a unique reference number starting with HCPC_RTP_...

The supporting organisation who has agreed to provide clinical placement must email and register/ inform the national team of their support. All parties must agree to provide the relevant information in a timely manner to ensure relevant payments are authorised and paid.

What can you claim for?

Academic support

Up to £300 per returnees. This can be used towards any specific and approved Return to Practice course the returnee undertakes or to provide funding for accredited profession specific courses, ad hoc university support or modules suitable to support a return to practice candidate. Any fees paid for this must be agreed relevant for RTP and not used to advance skills.

Returners need to commence or complete the course prior to the HCPC re-registration being applied for and should form part of their RTP updating process. Ad hoc support will only be paid to universities offering this facility as part of the programme and have expressed an interest to do so.

For any other academic support, the returner must provide receipt before payment can be made and complete the relevant forms, when provided. Reimbursement can be claimed every three months.

Placement support

A payment of up to £500 can be claimed by the organisation providing placements for every returner they host. This payment is not linked to any Tariff or LDA and can be claimed by following the process below (no invoices will be accepted by the local NHSE offices).

Should the returner decide to undertake clinical updating with more than one provider then the £500 will be divided by the respective supporting organisations and the payment will be proportional to the clinical days/hours of placement provided.

Where there is a single placement provider, payment will be claimed in two parts, £250 within two weeks of the returner commencing the placement and the second part when the returner has confirmed to the provider and NHSE they have returned to the HCPC register by providing their HCPC number for checking.

At the second point of invoicing, the provider will need to forward HCPC number and the date the registration started, by using the appropriate Invoice and entering the details in the orange box referencing “Return to Practice Placement Support fees HCPC national programme”. On the invoice the organisation must state Returner’s name, profession HCPC number and organisation and most importantly reference number HCPC_RTP_... 

The payment of £500 is to be used by the provider to support any expenditure incurred in relation to set up costs e.g. DBS or setting up of Honorary contracts etc. It is requested these costs are not passed onto the returner as it is considered the placement fee will cover these costs. The money can also be used to benefit the service in educational development through funding of courses or education equipment. The money can also be used to reimburse for travel incurred by the returner as part of the clinical interventions. 

Payment of money to the returner is the responsibility of the organisation. Therefore, it is the organisation’s responsibility to have a process in place for the timely payment of the returner, if not on the organisational payroll.

Any payment made to the returner is to cover educational costs therefore should not incur tax. (Need to add the statement) 

Returner Out of Pocket Expenses

In addition to the £300 to cover formal study, £500 will also be paid to the returner to provide financial support for any out-of-pocket expenses they incur if undertaking a clinical placement.

In recognition of the payment the returner is required to provide any requested information in a timely manner to the main provider of their clinical placement when they have returned to the HCPC register, the date they registered, and the location of any employment offer as part of the payment terms.

The payment will be claimed by the organisation providing the placement and claimed in two parts. Organisations are requested to ensure that they have processes in place to ensure the returner can be paid. Our understanding is that the money is not taxable and are being used to support the returner in an education capacity. Returners receiving additional income support are advised to seek advice and understand the impact any additional payment may have.

Out of Pocket expenses are to be used to cover the following areas of return to practice. 


To cover transport cost to and from location whilst undertaking placement. Out of pocket monies should not be used to cover cost incurred by the returnee as part of any role they undertake, this should be paid by the provider as part of travel cost and claimed accordingly.


It has been acknowledged cost may be incurred to cover additional child care to allow the returnee to undertake placements. This cannot be claimed separately, and the out-of-pocket expenses are designed to support this 

Disclosure Baring System

All returnees will be required to provide a Disclosure Baring System (DBS). The cost of this should be covered by the provider of the placement from the placement through the £500 placement fee provided.  


This will cover parking cost at the site of clinical placements HEE cannot be held responsible for any parking fines. 

Support re-registration fee

It is not NHS England policy to pay registration fee all this funding may be used by the returnee to pay any HCPC re-registration fees. The payment process does not allow for payment to be released prior to re-applying for HCPC registration.  

Ad hoc non-accredited courses fees

Returnees are encouraged to undertake a variety of experiences to update their skill and knowledge and although it is acknowledged additional ad hoc courses can support this sufficient support is available the £800 out of pocket expenses will not cover courses not agreed in advance of the programme. Additional funding for specific courses will be made available, but only if agreed and approved by NHSE. 


To cover the buying of food and beverages to support clinical placements. 


Cost towards purchase of uniform if required. 

Although the list is not intended to be prescriptive it is aimed to provide guidance on what NHSE will fund. It will not pay specific accommodation or relocation cost borne by the returnee to allow them to undertake the RTP process.  

Out of pocket expenses

Out of pocket expenses can be claimed in two payments. First payment of £250 to be paid two weeks into commencement of the clinical placement. This will be claimed by the supporting organisation. The second payment is to be made once proof of HCPC registration and any employment offer has been provided and forwarded to NHSE.

It is suggested that, if more than one placement organisation is involved in the process, the first payment of £250 is requested by the first organisation providing the first placement and the final payment by the last organisation supporting the returner.

It will be the responsibility of the returnee to inform each organisation providing clinical placements if they intend to undertake more than one clinical placement with more than one provider.

How to make a claim

NHSE will pay up to £1300 to support any appropriate HCPC registrant returning practitioner to work.

Academic – support up to £300

  1. Relevant academic courses or formal support. Returner will need to provide invoice as evidence of spend.
  2. Invoice details below for relevant RTP fees to be applied for via adhoc expenses form
  3. Please send all invoices to:

    Health Education England
    West Midlands LETB
    T73 Payables F485
    Phoenix House

Out of Pocket expenses and Placement support of £500

  1. Claimed by supporting Trusts in two parts
  2. Invoice details below for relevant RTP placement support and out of pocket expenses. Payment to be requested in two parts
  3. All returners are now allocated a UID:

    HCPC_RTP_xxx which have been provided

    Please add this number to the invoice.

Hannah, a physiotherapist in Surrey, takes time to answer some questions about her experience of returning to practice.

I found the whole team really supportive... everyone's been really welcoming and very flexible.

I am a manager or mentor

Supporting someone to return to practice is an important responsibility for a manager or mentor. You and your team need to commit time and resources to support the returner. A positive experience can make them decide to stay as a permanent member of staff.

Our guides for managers and mentors support you through the process.

Roles and Responsibilities: Supervisors and Organisations

Responsibilities of the organisation

The responsibilities of the organisation offering a Return to Practice programme are to:

  • enable the returner to access the organisation’s induction, statutory and mandatory training and any other training which the supervisor feels is relevant to the returner’s learning objectives
  • provide the returner with a supervisor from the same profession
  • provide the necessary IT equipment and resources needed for the returner
  • provide an effective learning environment for the returner

Responsibilites of a supervisor

A supervisor is expected to:

  • provide weekly supervision to the returner
  • ensure that they have the necessary equipment to complete their supervised practice
  • provide an effective learning environment for the returner
  • sign-off the completed supervised hours as described in the Return to Practice booklet

Raising concerns

The placement can be terminated by either part at any time. Grounds for organisations terminating the placement will include the returner behaving in a way that is not in line with the organisation’s visions and values and/or is not in line with the HCPC’s standards, performance and ethics.  

If there are concerns about the returner, this should be discussed with the Therapy Manager/Clinical Lead and HR.

The supervisor for the placement is required to sign off the completed period of supervised practice but not whether the person is fit to practice. If there are serious concerns about a person’s fitness to practice when unsupervised, after completing a period of updating under supervision, there are two options:

  1. Explain your concerns about signing the form to the returner, to help them planning additional updating activities.
  2. Sign the form, and then raise a fitness to practice concern with HCPC. For further details please see HCPC’s Return to Practice document.

Return to Practice Guide for Service Managers, Professional Leads and Mentors

Enquiries and introductions

Enquiries on Return to Practice opportunities and placements can be made directly with Organisational Leads or via email to Surrey Heartlands (

If contacting the organisational leads directly, following an initial short introduction via email, the applicant could be invited to a virtual or an in-person meeting where the following can be discussed:

  • personal circumstances and requirements
  • department resources and opportunities
  • opportunities for completing a supervised practice placement with other local organisations, in the case of limited capacity or if unable to meet applicant’s needs/ demand related to professional area of interest.

The introductory meeting could help Professional Leads to explore:

  • Circumstances that resulted in career break
  • Past clinical experience and career history
  • Relevant experience outside of AHP services
  • Strengths / weakness / gaps
  • Future career aspirations
  • Requirements in terms of time, clinical area
  • What other updating activities have been completed or planned
  • Current circumstances – availability to undertake placements (set days, week blocks, flexibility)
  • Any support required
  • Whether applicant would consider an employed return to practice role or voluntary placement (this is dependent on vacancies and ability to convert posts). The applicant will have the opportunity to make further enquires
  • Check applicant is registered with HEE national programme. If not, it would be a good idea to sign post the applicant to an HEE Return to Practice interest form

At the introductory meeting, Professional Leads can discuss opportunities and agree a bespoke offer to meet organisation and applicants needs.

Before placement

Before the start of placement, the following are recommended to be in place:

  • Honorary contract or Band 3 Support Worker or Bank Assistant contract (if the organisation is able to provide this)
  • DBS clearance
  • HCPC letter with details of last registration date and any previous fitness to practice alert

The placement provider will also ensure the returnee:

  • receives local/trust induction
  • is assigned a mentor and discusses learning needs
  • has regular meetings with their mentor.

With the support of the admin team ensure that the returnee has:

  • been issued with a Trust ID badge
  • an IT account and access to all relevant IT systems
  • received a Return to Practice Booklet 
  • been given advice about onsite parking arrangements.

During placement

During placement the mentor and returnee will have regular catch-up meetings to support the needs of the returnee.

The Return to Practice Booklet will be used to guide recognition of learning needs and will record supervision and placement hours completed.

After placement

The mentor will be asked to sign the completed hours as a record of placement and sign the Booklet.

It is the returnee responsibility to submit evidence of return to practice (RTP) placement and completed study to the HCPC to request re-registration.

It is recommended to gain returnee’s feedback for future growth and development (feedback questionnaire example)

This feedback will be shared with the mentor and Professional Lead and will be used to shape the future RtP process.

Practice placement support can be invoiced by the service manager.

Returnee will be responsible of informing RTP Lead of their successful HCPC registration and number.

It is recommended that future employment opportunities are explored throughout the placement and match both organisation and individual needs.


  • Current and future vacancies both permanent and fixed term contracts
  • AHP bank

In the case of capacity issues and lack of employment opportunities with the placement provider, the returnee details could be communicated to Surrey Heartlands to explore other opportunities within Surrey and match offer-demand.

The 9 step returner roadmap

This roadmap helps returners to create an action plan and follow the right sequence of events needed to complete a successful return.

  1. Step 1
    Check NHS jobs website for return to practice opportunities, or contact your nearest service provider.
    You can also contact the Surrey Heartlands AHP Faculty:
  2. Step 2
    You may be invited to an interview with your chosen service provider.
  3. Step 3
    The service provider may offer you a return to practice placement.
  4. Step 4
    The service provider may ask you for a copy of your HCPC letter, ask for your registration with the Health Education England Return to Practice programme, want to discuss your learning needs with the department learning facilitator for your placement.
  5. Step 5
    Agree your placement start date.
  6. Step 6
    During your placement, fill in your return to practice evidence record. You should also record reflective practice.
  7. Step 7
    Carry out private study. Keep a record of this study and any learning activities.
  8. Step 8
    At the end of your placement, submit your evidence material to the HCPC to gain registration.
  9. Step 9
    Start your new employment once the HCPC confirm your registration.

University short courses for Return to Practice AHPs

Universities in England can help returners regain confidence and address any skills gaps.

Short-term online courses, designed for AHPs, are run by Birmingham City and Coventry universities. They are free and flexible.

We recommend enrolling onto one of these courses. They offer a good support network and provide motivation to succeed. The courses can help to remove any feelings of 'imposter syndrome’ and can increase your confidence in your own skills and ability.


These guidance documents are used to standardise your return to practice in Surrey Heartlands. They tailor your return to practice programme to suit your learning needs.