returning to physiotherapy after a career break, physiotherapy career break

Returning to physiotherapy after a career break

By Dan Allard

​If you have taken a physiotherapy career break you may find that there are a few steps that you need to take before you can return to practice.

Step 1: Re-register with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)

As a regulated profession, all physiotherapists must be registered with the HCPC to practice.

If your career break has lasted less than two years:

You can simply renew your registration.

If your career break has lasted longer than two years:

You will need to undertake the steps listed by the HCPC as part of their return to practice guidance. This is also the case if you gained your approved qualification more than five years ago and have never practiced as a physiotherapist.

Step 2: Ensuring that your CPD is up-to-date

To be readmitted to the HCPC register you will need to update your knowledge and skills. The amount of continuing professional development that you are required to do will depend on how long you have been out of practice.

If you have been out of practice between two and five years, you will need to complete a minimum of 30 days (or 210 hours) of CPD activity. This increases to 60 days (or 420 hours) of CPD activity if you have been out of practice for more than five years.

Your choice of CPD activity is flexible; it can encompass supervised practice, formal learning, or self-study. You may find that you benefit from specific training courses or you can make use of journals, library books and websites to update your knowledge. It should be noted that the HCPC stipulates that self-study can only account for up to 50% of your CPD activity. The remaining 50% should be a mix of supervised practice and formal learning.

The HCPC also recommend that you structure your learning in the following four ways:

  • The area in which you plan to work when you begin practising again

  • Your prior experience

  • Any relevant skills you gained whilst out of practice

  • Any relevant developments in your profession when you were out of practice

This structure is designed to update your skills in a way that matches your experience. We’ve previously published guidance on how you can make the most of your CPD portfolio which is also a useful aid to help you manage your CPD requirements.

Step 3: Check your statutory and mandatory training

To work within the NHS, you will need to have up-to-date training as per the Statutory and Mandatory Training Framework. This may include modules such as conflict resolution, manual handling, and infection control. Some modules need to be refreshed annually, whilst others are updated every three years.

Your Sanctuary consultant can arrange training updates for you if required.

Step 4: Think about what type of physiotherapy job you would like

Once you’re ready to return to practice you may start to think about your preferred physiotherapy job. With a choice of employed, part-time and locum physiotherapy jobs available within the NHS, you can find the right job role that meets your clinical expertise and works with your lifestyle.

At Sanctuary, we recruit for a wide range of physiotherapy jobs across the UK.

We have written a series of blogs about each stage of your physiotherapy career. To find your next role, browse our latest jobs.