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Return to Practice - Allied Health Professionals

Currently viewing course to start in 2023/24 Entry.

This return to practice programme for allied health professionals who are eligible to register with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) launched in April 2022 has supported over 50 returners to date....

  • School School of Health Sciences
  • Faculty Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences

This course is:


This return to practice programme for allied health professionals who are eligible to register with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) launched in April 2022 has supported over 50 returners to date.  It builds on the success of our prior programmes which have supported speech and language therapists, paramedics, physiotherapists and operating department practitioners to get back on to the HCPC register.

If you are looking to return to practice this programme will provide you with both theoretical updating and virtual practice-based learning that count towards your days of updating* and help you feel ready to return. 

*please note you may need to complete additional updating and supervised practice opportunities outside of this course to fulfil your personal updating requirements.  

You can apply for this programme if you are from any of the following allied health professions:

  • Art Therapists
  • Drama Therapists
  • Music Therapists
  • Chiropodists / Podiatrists
  • Dietitians
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Operating Department Practitioners
  • Orthoptists
  • Paramedics
  • Physiotherapists
  • Prosthetists and Orthotists
  • Radiographers
  • Radiotherapists
  • Speech and Language Therapists
This course is not open to International students.

What's covered in this course?

This course will enable you as a previously registered (or eligible for registration) allied health professional to undertake both knowledge and practice focused learning in order to complete the self-directed process of returning to practice as set out by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC, 2017). 

We know that your learning needs, as a returner, are varied, so you will devise a personalised return to practice action plan (with support from your personal tutor) and will then work towards fulfilling this.  You will also access learning resources specific to your field of practice to enable you to update on key concepts of the knowledge base relevant to your allied health profession (and as identified in your action plan). 

In the knowledge-focused module you will have access to content in the following areas (these are examples and not a complete list)

  • Updates on current health, education and social care policy, practice, sustainability and core values
  • Public health and health promotion
  • Continuing professional development standards
  • Study skills, critical analysis skills and evidence based / research informed practice
  • Safeguarding
  • Equality, diversity, inclusion and difference
  • Functioning effectively in a team
  • Being a digitally literate practitioner
  • Maintaining mental health and well-being, and building resilience

In the practice-focused module you will have access to learning in the following areas (again these are examples and not a complete list)

  • Inclusive person / family / child centred practice and empowerment
  • Reflective practice
  • Supervision
  • Leadership
  • Legal and ethical aspects of practice
  • Evidence based practice
  • Inequality in health and social care including respecting diversity and difference

You are expected to maintain an auditable log of the hours that you personally have completed on this course to provide evidence for your application to return to the Health and Care Professions Council register.

Why Choose Us?

  • This is one of only 2 programmes of its kind in the UK 
  • You can undertake this programme flexibly, at a distance helping you fit this around other commitments
  • You can undertake virtual practice- based learning that will help you get ready to return, as well as update your theory
  • You will work with our Experts by Experience, who will share their lived experience of healthcare through your course.  

Fees & How to Apply

Please select your student status to view fees and apply
  • UK Student
  • International Student

UK students

Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation (capped at 5%) or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.


Starting: Sep 2023

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Short Course
  • 12 months
  • £783 per 20 credit module

International students

Sorry, this course is not available to International students.

Access to computer equipment

You will require use of a laptop, and most students do prefer to have their own. However, you can borrow a laptop from the university or use one of our shared computer rooms.


You will receive £5 print credit in each year of your course, available after enrolment.

Field trips

All essential field trips and associated travel costs will be included in your course fees.

Access to Microsoft Office 365

Every student at the University can download a free copy of Microsoft Office 365 to use whilst at university and for 18 months after graduation.

Key Software

You will be able to download SPSS and Nvivo to your home computer to support with your studies and research.

Key subscriptions

Subscriptions to key journals and websites are available through our library.

DBS check

You will require a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check for this course. Your first DBS check is included in your fees.

Placement expenses (mandatory)

Placements are a compulsory element of many health and teacher training courses. You'll need to budget for accommodation and any travel costs you may incur whilst living or working away from home.

Clothing and safety equipment (mandatory)

This course requires the purchase of safety equipment. You will need to provide appropriate shoes for placement experiences.

Specialist equipment (mandatory)

This course requires the purchase of specialist equipment, including stethoscope (approx. £80-£100) and fob watch.

Excess printing (optional)

Once you have spent your £5 credit, additional printing on campus costs from 5p per sheet.

Books (optional)

All module key texts will be in the University library, but in limited numbers. You may choose to purchase a copy.

Subscriptions (optional)

You may wish to purchase subscriptions to additional journals and websites.

Memberships (optional)

You may wish to join a union or professional body related to this course.

Accommodation and living costs

The cost of accommodation and other living costs are not included within your course fees. More information on the cost of accommodation can be found in our accommodation pages.

Start dates

This course has monthly start dates, your application will be processed for the next available cohort. 

Entry requirements

You will need to supply evidence of your original qualification as an allied health professional.

Your allied health profession needs to be eligible for registration with HCPC.

Guidance for application

We do not need evidence of qualifications OTHER than evidence of your original qualification as an allied health professional.

We do not need a reference so ignore this section on the application form.

Your personal statement only needs to be one or two paragraphs – we’d like to know areas you have worked in or are interested in returning to (if you know); your registration number with the HEE return to practice programme if you have it already and a little bit about what you have been doing since your registration lapsed (if relevant). 

Please feel free to add anything else you think is relevant to your application. 

NHS England has a programme that can support your return. At this present time you do not to be part of the NHSEngland programme to undertake this course but funding could be used from the NHS England programme to pay in part for this course.  Please see the information about the NHS England support programme here

Equipment needed

You will need access to a device that enables you to engage online with Microsoft teams, for example a lap top or tablet device with a working camera.  You will also need to be able to use e-mail, video calls via Teams and our virtual learning environment Moodle

Course in Depth


How you'll learn

The course will be delivered using distance learning, with you engaging with specific scheduled tutorials / learning activities through Microsoft Teams and directed learning via our virtual learning environment (Moodle).  There is an expectation that you will be working independently through specific learning materials for a lot of the time, but that you will also “attend remotely” for blocks of learning using Microsoft teams for example for practice-based learning weeks. 

The hours of learning you will undertake are personal to you.

You will engage in activities that support you in preparing for the assessment at the end of your course – these assessments are virtual ‘in-person’ assessments reflecting clinical skills you need as an allied health professional. 


We know as a returner to practice you have so much to offer your profession, so within your course you will have access to support and development opportunities from our careers service to enhance your employability.  In addition, you will be engaging in learning activities that value all of your knowledge and experience, in particular that gained from taking time out of your professional area.

Throughout the time you are at the University you are eligible to take part in any activity offered to current students such as Graduate+ activities.


Throughout your programme you will engage with practice based learning events that will provide ‘virtual placement/practice’ experiences.  These practice-based learning days/weeks will get you working in (multi) professional groups, engaging in clinical activities, and producing clinically relevant outputs such as content for websites, evidence based tools, case management plans or training resources.    

To help with planning some practice-based learning weeks are already scheduled. (Please note you would not have to attend all of these but could select appropriate weeks for you dependent on availability of learning and on your personal availability.)  Please note these weeks could be subject to change:

Practice based learning weeks:

  • Week 1 – w/c 13 March 2023
  • Week 2 – w/c 17 April 2023
  • Week 3 – w/c 15 May 2023
  • Week 4 – w/c 12 June 2023

Facilities & Staff

We have invested £340 million in our facilities, including an upgrade to our Skills and Simulation facilities at City South Campus. We boast up-to-date, innovative facilities that simulate the real situations that you may come across in the workplace. These resources are essential in offering you a hands-on introduction to health and social care practice.

Mock Wards

These are set up to look like typical hospital wards, with four to six bays. Depending on the topic in hand, different manikins can be used as patients and relevant equipment is provided to practise clinical skills. Some of the manikins are interactive and can simulate different scenarios e.g. some allow you to cannulate, check pulses, intubate etc, and some can talk to you. One ward is often used as an adult ward, and the other as a child ward.

These rooms also allow for scenarios to be set up for other professions such as dietetics, paramedic science and social work.

The Operating Theatre and Recovery Suites

The operating theatre and recovery suite gives you the sense of what it would be like in a real surgical environment.

These spaces emulate the full surgical journey from anaesthetics, through surgery and into recovery. ODP students can practice a range of skills including gowning, hand washing, preparing instrument trays, and working with a patient. Nurses and midwives may experience a surgical placement and need to go to theatre or be part of the midwifery team involved with caesarean sections. Many other Allied Health Professionals may also see patients in recovery if necessary.

Home Environment Room

This space is used to simulate non-clinical settings, as not everything health professionals deal with is hospital based. This is used for simulations of home visits and home births. It also houses soft matting and a bubble machine that are used by the Learning Disability Nursing team.

Assisted Living Space

This space replicates a flat and is used for scenarios such as home visits. The sitting room area provides a different space to practise skills and simulations and work with service users and other students.

Assisted Kitchen

This specially designed kitchen has different areas where you can practice cooking, cleaning, boiling the kettle etc., with someone who has actual or simulated visual impairments. There are adapted devices to help, and simulation glasses for you to wear to experience visual impairments.

Physiotherapy Room

This is a space for physiotherapy students to use, with various equipment to practise client meetings.

Radiotherapy Planning Computer Suite

Our computers allow you to plan hypothetical treatments, in terms of angles and directions, ensuring that radiotherapy reaches where it is needed on a patient’s body.

Radiography Image Interpretation and Reporting Stations Computer Suite

These facilities allow you to view and analyse x-rays.

VERT - Virtual Environment for Radiotherapy Training

This room contains 3D technology to view virtual patients and look at trajectories for treatment.


This room contains the same bed/couch used when patients are given radiotherapy treatment. While students of course do not administer radiotherapy in this room, it does allow them to practise adjusting the equipment to make sure both it and a patient would be in the correct position to receive treatment.

Telehealth Room

This room allows for small group teaching in a central area (large boardroom type table) with five small telehealth booths down either side. These are to allow all our health professions students to practise delivering healthcare and advice remotely, either over the phone or on a video call. This addition to our teaching reflects moves in the sector to offer more flexible access to healthcare services, particularly as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Imaging Academy

This new facility is a larger version of our existing image interpretation computer facilities and forms part of the Midlands Imaging Academy Hub, funded by Health Education England. These expanded facilities will mean we can further develop our courses and expertise in radiography and imaging.

Speech and Language Therapy Resource Room

Our Speech and Language Therapy Team have developed a collection of tools, books and resources to help you learn and understand the implications of a speech or swallowing limitation. You can practise one to one client meetings and clinics and use the video recording equipment to review role play scenarios.

Ultrasound simulation suite

Students have access to a wide range of Ultrasound simulation equipment to develop their clinical skills and aid in training. The equipment includes two ultrasound machines with a range of phantoms, scan training stations and eve body works.

Our staff

Claire Hartley

Senior Lecturer

Claire Hartley is a Speech and Language Therapist (SLT) and Senior Lecturer (in acquired communication difficulties) at Birmingham City University. She is also the Programme Director for the Return to Practice in SLT Programme. Her interests include aphasia, motor speech disorders, simulated practice in SLT, and working with service users. She is a...

More about Claire

Jodie Bryant

Course Leader Msc (Pre-registration) Physiotherapy, Simulation Lead: School of Health Sciences

Jodie has been a HCPC registered Physiotherapist since 2006 after graduating from Oxford Brookes University. She has worked predominantly in NHS settings, completing the majority of her clinical work in London at Guy's and St Thomas’ NHS Trust. Jodie currently contributes to the teaching of all modules on the MSc Physiotherapy...

More about Jodie


Course enquiries

To find out more about this course, please contact the Programme Director, Claire Hartley on: