Physio Sophie among those to benefit from returning to practice at UHDB | Latest news

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Physio Sophie among those to benefit from returning to practice at UHDB

Healthcare professionals that have had a career break are being encouraged to follow a perfect route back into work by returning to practice here at UHDB.

The Trust is looking for former nurses, midwives and Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) who have taken some time away to consider coming back to their health and social care careers.

All returnees will be given the support they need to help get back up to speed, through supervised placements and formal Continuing Professional Development (CPD), while they will also be offered mentor support to re-register with the NMC or HCPC. 

Health Education England, which is leading the return to practice scheme, may also be able to offer financial and academic support to returning professionals, such as free university course places and a bursary to help with costs accrued from travel, childcare and books. 

Physiotherapist Sophie Dales successfully made the transition back to her role at Royal Derby Hospital in February 2019, after spending seven-and-a-half-years away from the profession in order to raise her three children.

You can find out more about Sophie’s story by tuning into BBC East Midlands Today, from 6.30pm this evening.

Now working 22.5 hours a week with the women’s he alth team treating patients with obstetric and gynaecological conditions, Sophie has delighted to have been able to rekindle her passion for helping others.    

She said: “I'm really pleasantly surprised about where I am. I had been looking at re-directing my career away from general rehabilitation towards women’s health and that is what I have been able to achieve. As a mum, it’s a big passion for me, and I know a lot of ‘mum friends’, who have had certain issues, and it really hit home that this was the group of people I wanted to work with. I have managed to re-direct my return to practice with the women’s health team and hope to continue along this path.

“Everyone here has been really supportive, generous and understanding in helping me return to practice and work around dropping the kids off at school and picking them up. I've been able to come back into an absolutely brilliant team who have been really supportive. I was proud to put my tunic back on, and my medical hat back on, and my kids are really proud, which I didn’t really anticipate, and that makes a difference to me.”

The return to practice programme, led by Health Education England, supports the commitments made in the NHS Long Term Plan to recruit more people into the workforce and ensure staff have rewarding jobs and work in a positive culture.

The move to encourage more professionals to return to practice is also timely, with 2020 representing the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife.

Cathy Winfield, Executive Chief Nurse at UHDB, said: “People who have chosen a career in healthcare at some point in their lives will have done so because they possess the core attributes needed to work in a healthcare setting – compassion, care and the desire to make a difference – and we believe that returnees not only have their clinical experience to offer but also these valuable assets, which are needed to provide high quality patient care.

“Healthcare may have changed over the years but the one thing that remains the same is that our patients need compassionate, nurturing staff to care for them when they are at their most vulnerable. Returnees, we believe, are valuable to patient experiences and outcomes, and they can offer so much to our colleagues by sharing their knowledge and expertise.

“It takes courage to step back into a career after a break, which is why we will support returnees throughout their journey back into practice with a structured programme of support including a designated supervisor, a learning plan created around specific learning requirements and support from our Practice Learning Support Unit with sourcing a placement area to complete the required supervised practice.”

Nurses makes up the largest part of the NHS workforce. Allied health professionals (AHPs) cover 14 different professions and are the third largest workforce in the NHS, with the return to practice programme enabling AHP and healthcare scientist returnees to re-enter and gain their Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) registration.

For further information about the return to practice programme, please contact Joined Up Careers Derbyshire on 01629 532415 or email 

You can also visit the Joined Up Careers Derbyshire on