Return to practice for Allied Health Professionals (AHPs)

Welcome to the Herts and West Essex AHP Faculty return to practice for Allied Health Professionals

  • Have you previously been registered with the Health and Care Professionals Council (HCPC)

  • Have you been out of practice for more than two years

  • Are you looking for an opportunity to update your skills and knowledge and return to the register

  • Are you unsure what to do next

Well, look no further!

We welcome enquires from Allied Health professionals who wish to return to practice and who we will endeavour to support in becoming registered with the HCPC again. We have a wide range of clinical and geographical areas available, and we will work with you to find a suitable opportunity to help you on your journey.  

As part of the return to practice support you may be able to claim up to £800 from Health Education England (£500 for the clinical experience and £300 towards courses and other learning opportunities)

Returnees who have left the HCPC register and wish to return to practice must apply to be re-admitted to the register before they can be contracted to work as professional practitioners, with a protected title.

Requirements of the re-registration process are flexible, and individuals wanting to return can decide how to complete their period of updating. Individuals can devise a bespoke professional development programme that best fits their personal circumstances and learning needs, allowing them to update their knowledge and skills through a self-directed process. This can be undertaken in the form of supervised practice, and private or formal studies.

The HCPC specifies the minimum number of days required for updating, depending on the length of time an individual has been out of practice. No more than 50% of these can comprise private study.

For further details, please see the HCPC’s Return to Practice document: returning-to-practice.pdf (

In order to become registered, you will be required to complete a minimum number of hours to update your clinical skills and knowledge, see table below.

Time out of practice / Time unregistered

Minimum time required to update skills & knowledge

*at least 50% of the hours need to be in practice

Up to 2 years

No requirement needed

2 to 5 years

30 days (210 hours)

Over 5 years

60 days (420 hours)

For further information on returning to practice, and the required eligibility criteria please click on the links below:

The return to practice programme 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.

There are vacancies waiting for returnees in both health and social care roles in across Herts and West Essex ICS for more information please email:

We understand that life and your personal circumstances change. If you choose a career to be an AHP you will have done so because you want to make a difference to people's lives through your chosen profession. If now is the right time for you to restart your career, then we would like to help you to do this in Speech and Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Diagnostic Radiography, Therapeutic Radiography, Orthoptists Paramedics, Art, Music, Drama Therapy, Dietetics, Podiatry, Prosthetists and Orthotics, Operating Department Practitioners and Physiotherapy.

Across Herts and West Essex, the AHP Faculty can connect you to an AHP lead/Manager who can welcome and support you back to your profession to help us deliver great care and therapy to our local population as we have a very wide range of physical, mental health and social care services across adults and children.

Coventry University offers a fully flexible course to support you to return to practice. For further information please email or visit Coventry University's website

Frequently asked questions

The Return to Practice programme is open to everyone, no matter how long you’ve been out of practice. To date, the longest duration a returnee has been out of practice is 24 years, and they have successfully returned to the HCPC register.

Yes! A whole team approach to returner support helps within busy teams.

You should be working alongside someone from your profession on the HCPC register – this may mean you are working in a team with them but not necessarily working in same room as them.

Yes! Remember, returners are not students, Return to Practice is an opportunity to refresh not start from scratch. If you are not attached to a university (which is often the case) you may have an honorary contract, you are supernumerary under the supervision of a qualified professional, Yes, you can see patients!

Returners have so much experience that can make a big difference to patients, clients, carers and their families.

Yes. Honorary contracts are used for individuals who aren’t employed directly but will carry out work in the organisation. The honorary contracts allow the host organisation to check and provide DBS and Occupational Health Checks as part of the recruitment process, which is a requirement for supervised practice.

When returners are not affiliated to university (often the case) honorary contracts offer supernumerary status under the supervision of a qualified professional and the necessary indemnity and insurances. Funding is available if returners undertake a supervised practice placement to help towards any costs incurred around the setting up of clinical placements such as contracts, DBS, OH etc.

There is no national HEE guidance to Return to Practice banding. This is down to individual organisations, but HR/Finance Departments should be able to advise you.

Many returners are put on and Band 3 or Band 4 contracts while completing their updating. Some organisations will recognise previous experience and therefore place mid to higher banding, but returners may be asked to prove this.

Yes! Any paid employment or volunteering that you undertake alongside a member of your own profession can be used to count towards your hours on the Return to Practice programme and submitted to the HCPC as evidence for registration.

Yes! Virtual supervised practice and simulation are accepted means of updating skills and knowledge for returners to practice by The HCPC.

If simulated learning takes place in a lab or as a part of study and is certificated, then it would be formal study evidence. If simulated learning takes place in a supervised practice place environment it may be included as evidence of supervised practice.

Funding is available to support formal study, private study and supervised practice. Returners can claim £800 for out of pocket expenses.

Yes! Many returners who are qualified clinicians use support worker roles to update their skills.

Check the NHS jobs websites for potential roles that may accommodate you. The other common route is working voluntarily with an organisation under an honorary contract.

HEE may be able to provide contacts if you are struggling, Return to Practice is self-led and the programme is designed to support you return to the HCPC register and get into a position where you can seek employment.

No, HEE does not fund professional body membership or HCPC re-registration fees.

However, if you undertake a supervised practice element as part of your updating and receive the £500 out of pocket expenses you can use this towards this if you wish.

Your Return to Practice can be a mixture of private study, formal courses and supervised practice.

The HCPC website also has information/guidance and forms to download for you to start filling in to help you with your return to practice documentation and evidence building ready for submission.

Check the competencies for your profession, work out your gaps, needs and draft a learning plan, remember HCPC registration is a self-declaration of competency, any signatories are not signing you off as competent – you decide that.

The Return to Practice programme can provide free access to the e-learning for health modules and HEE’s closed Return to Practice Facebook page provides a wealth of support.

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