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Support for doctors

Working in the NHS can be very challenging. It is vital that all doctors and NHS professionals support one another by providing an environment that encourages and enables us to make choices that promote healthy lives and wellbeing. We need well doctors so that patients receive the best care and management possible.

If you or a colleague is looking for support there are a range of organisations, services and websites which can offer help. The links below signpost support available.

The local department is usually the first place to seek advice and support. Staff there will understand specific problems and be in a position to provide solutions and support.
Examples of this support network include:

  • Clinical Supervisors
  • Educational supervisors
  • Occupational Health Department
  • Freedom to Speak up Guardians (England)
  • Medical Director
  • Training programme directors
  • Guardian of safe working
  • Champions of flexible working
  • HR department
  • Junior doctor forum

Health Education England

NHS Staff and Learners Mental Wellbeing Report. A framework aimed at helping health and social care employers improve the mental wellbeing of their employees by Health Education England (HEE).

Enhancing supervision for postgraduate doctors in training. Support and guidance for trainees is available through their Specialty Training/ Foundation School with access to local Professional Support Services.

The Workforce Stress and the Supportive Organisation. A framework for improvement through reflection, curiosity and change which encourages employers to take a closer look at the systems they currently have in place for managing staff wellbeing, it challenges them to give greater consideration to the impact workforce stress has on staff and look at the role they can play in providing better support to staff who may need it.

Scotland Deanery

Support for trainees. Support and guidance from the Deanencouragesery, aimed specifically at those experiencing issues that affect their work or training, such as health problems, family difficulties and/or workplace issues.

Wales Deanery

Professional Support Unit. The Unit provides guidance and information to all parties involved in postgraduate medical and dental training, addressing issues that may arise during the training process, which could hinder progression.

Northern Ireland

Professional Support and Wellbeing team. The team provides guidance and information to all those involved in postgraduate medical and dental training in Northern Ireland, addressing issues that may arise during the training process, which could hinder progression.

The Royal College of Anaesthetists

Wellbeing and support. A web page resource that points to a selection of general and profession specific resources for doctors experiencing problems in their personal or working life.

The Royal College of Emergency Medicine

Sustainable careers. The College has developed this important strategy to improve the working lives of clinicians working in Emergency Departments in the UK. It covers many areas such as wellbeing, work patterns, bullying, valuing trainees etc.

The Royal College of General Practitioners

GP Wellbeing. A web page resource that points to a selection of general and profession specific resources for doctors experiencing problems in their personal or working life. It also includes information and advice on general wellbeing.

Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine

The wellbeing Centre. A web resource that provides some original resources and key external links on the subject of wellbeing and career support.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists

Supporting our Doctors. A web resource dedicated to the O&G workforce covering issues around workforce challenges, culture, mentoring and peer support.

Advice and support for trainees. A web page resource for doctors in training covering issues around assertiveness, dealing with bullying or undermining behaviour, mentoring, pregnancy, indemnity and more.

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health

Where to go for help and support for doctors’ wellbeing. A web page resource that points to a selection of general and profession specific resources for doctors experiencing problems in their personal or working life.

Your wellbeing. A web resource that provides original resources about health and wellbeing.

Lifelong careers in paediatrics. A web resource that provides original resources on career development for paediatricians at all stages of their career

Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine

Good Pharmaceutical Medical Practice and GPMP Support Network provides guidance and direction to pharmaceutical physicians who face ethical or medical dilemmas in their practice.

The Royal College of Physicians

Mental health and wellbeing. This online resource aims to shine a spotlight on the mental health and wellbeing of physicians by opening up the conversation about mental health issues and their impact.

The Royal College of Physicians of Ireland

Through the Trainee Wellbeing programme the College provides support, training and information to doctors at all stages of their careers. The programme aims to support doctors and raise awareness of the importance of safeguarding doctors’ health and wellbeing.

The Royal College of Psychiatrists

Supporting your professional development. A wide range of support for College members, from the first moment they join the College to after they retire.

Supported and valued. A web resource that points to a selection of resources supporting local improvements and initiatives which aim to help overcome the challenges commonly faced by psychiatric trainees throughout the UK. The web page also includes the ‘Supported and Valued?’ report, a trainee led review into morale and training within psychiatry.

The Royal College of Surgeons Edinburgh

LetsRemoveIt is the RCSEd’s ongoing campaign against workplace undermining and bullying. This provides a range of resources that highlight the negative impact bullying has on patient care as well and freely available toolkits and learning e-modules that offer help, support and advice.

The Royal College of Surgeons England

Supporting the wellbeing of surgeons and surgical teams during COVID-19 and beyond. For surgeons experiencing problems with their work or personal life and would like to seek confidential and impartial advice. The pages signpost to a number of resources and organisations that provide support and advice to surgeons and their families. It also gives details of services provided through the College’s regional network of representatives and by the surgical specialist association.

Confidential Support and Advice Service. A surgeon to surgeon helpline, which provides a point of personal contact between surgeons, where they can discuss issues of concern with a professional colleague or peer. Callers are put in touch with an appropriate surgical colleague who can provide confidential and impartial advice.

Your Wellbeing, advice and support services. The BMA offer counselling and peer support to help you deal with a variety of issues. By seeking constructive help you may identify ways of addressing the root causes of your concerns and develop strategies to reduce the impact of the consequences.

BMA Doctor support service. Confidential, emotional support for doctors going through fitness to practise procedures with the GMC, or at risk of having their licence withdrawn.

BMA advisers. BMA’s 240 dedicated advisers across the UK are here to help members with all your queries and concerns in your working life, from pay and contracts to discrimination.

Caring for doctors Caring for patients report. An independent report commissioned by the GMC and published in 2019 into the wellbeing of doctors and medical students. It includes recommendations on how to transform UK healthcare environments to support doctors and medical students to care for patients.

Your health matters gives practical tips and sources of support for when you, or your colleagues, are finding it difficult to get the balance right.

Support for doctors points to a selection of general and profession specific resources for doctors experiencing problems in their personal or working life.

Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service Doctor Contact Service is available to any doctor on the day of a hearing, particularly aimed at those going to a hearing alone or without support.

The NHS Employers Health and Wellbeing programme provides information for employers to help and support staff through their wellbeing journey. The website is structured into key sections to make it simple to see what advice there is.

If you are a member of a medical defence organisation you can contact a union for support.

Most defence unions provide support for a broad range of services including:

  • Medico-legal complaints
  • Responding to patient complaints
  • Support for preparing a coroner’s report
  • Support with GMC fitness to practise
  • MPTS tribunals
  • Disciplinary hearings


NHS practitioner health is a free, confidential NHS primary care mental health and addiction service with expertise in treating health & care professionals.

DocHealth is a confidential, not for profit service giving doctors an opportunity to explore difficulties, both professional and personal, with senior clinicians. This service is delivered by Consultant Medical Psychotherapists based at BMA House in London.

Doctors support network is an independent, confidential and friendly peer support group for doctors who have experienced mental distress or mental health problems. The group also raises awareness, reduces stigma and influences the agenda regarding physician health.

Canopi is free and confidential mental health support service for doctors in Wales. It provides:

  • Self-help resources
  • Support from Wellbeing Allies
  • Guided self-help
  • Virtual and face-to-face therapies with accredited specialists.

British Doctors and Dentists Group. A self-help service for doctors and dentists recovering from or wish to recover from addiction or dependency on alcohol and/or other drugs.

Sick Doctors Trust. An independent helpline set up by doctors, for doctors recovering from addiction.

Gamcare. The leading national provider of free information, advice and support for anyone affected by problem gambling. It runs the National Gambling Helpline and also offers face-to-face counselling.

Gamblers Anonymous. A fellowship of men and women who have joined together to do something about their own gambling problem and to help other compulsive gamblers do the same. It runs local support groups that use the same 12-step approach to recovery from addiction as Alcoholics Anonymous.

National Problem Gambling Clinic. An NHS clinic commissioned to deliver care and support to problem gamblers who have difficulties that might be described as complex.

Royal Medical Foundation. The foundation aims to assist GMC registered doctors and their families in financial hardship.

The Royal Medical Benevolent Fund provides financial support and advice for doctors, medical students and their families when needed due to age, injury, ill health, disability and bereavement

The BMA Charities are two charities (the BMA Charities Trust Fund and the Dain Fund) which help all doctors, and their dependents, and medical students in times of financial crisis.

The Cameron Fund solely supports general practitioners and their dependents. It provides support to GPs and their families in times of financial need, whether through ill-health, disability, death or loss of employment. Helping those who are already suffering from financial hardship and those who are facing it.

Association of Anaesthetists. The website signposts to a number of specific and generic resources to help those facing difficulties in their work and personal lives.

GLADD (The association of LGBT doctors and dentists). The UK’s only organisation that unites and represents LGBT doctors and dentists from all over the country. Their website also includes information about support services specifically for those who identify as LGBTQ+.