The National Clinical Assessment Service (NCAS) has published a new edition of the good practice guide, NCAS- Back on Track, designed to facilitate and support the return of doctors, dentists and pharmacists to safe professional practice.

With its forerunner published for the first time in 2006, Back on Track 2010 is a completely new edition of the guide describing how NCAS works with both returning practitioners and those whose performance has given cause for concern but is deemed remediable through training. It is designed to operate across general practice, community and hospital sectors, regardless of specialty, grade or employment status.

In its decade of activity to date, NCAS has found that a structured approach to further training offers the best chance of restoring practitioners to safe practice whether, on the one hand there are concerns relating to deficiencies of knowledge or skills or to the performer’s behaviour, and whether those concerns have been identified via formal NCAS assessment, local investigation or other governance activity or, on the other, the practitioner is returning after a significant career break, a period of illness, or time away from normal practice because of exclusion or suspension.

Back on Track suggests ways of identifying and addressing training needs and contains templates for action plans which can be adapted for local use and proposes ways of monitoring the operation of plans for progress. Further templates are expected in due course.

Back on Track is the third in a series of Good Practice Guides launched in 2010, earlier publications in the series include How to Conduct a Local Performance Investigation and Handling Performance Concerns in Primary Care. This latest publication is a timely one, with the Medical Profession (Responsible Officers) Regulations 2010 now on the statute book and the revalidation programme gaining momentum once again.