BMA Wellbeing Services Counselling | Peer Support
The BMA’s wellbeing services include a range of free and confidential services and information to help support doctors and medical students:
• Confidential 24/7 counselling line, and Peer support service for all doctors and medical students on 0330 123 1245
• BMA members, plus their partners and dependents, can also access a free structured course of up to six sessions of therapy with a counsellor
• A UK wellbeing support directory detailing various support services by geographical availability on their sources of support page
DocHealth is a confidential, not for profit, psychotherapeutic consultation service for all doctors. It is located in London but is open to all doctors in the UK. It is supported by the British Medical Association (BMA) and the Royal Medical Benevolent Fund (RMBF). The service offers up to six face to face sessions and video consultations are available (for follow up rather than initial assessment) if patients are living outside London. DocHealth is exclusively self-referral.
Fees are based on a sliding scale relating to the grade and circumstances of the doctor. Fees for doctors in financial difficulty can be covered where appropriate so this can be discussed with the service when people initially engage.
The aim is to develop regional hubs if the pilot project is successful.
Contact: 020 7383 6533 (confidential direct line)
The Royal Benevolent Fund
Leading UK charity for doctors, medical students and their families. RMBF provides financial support, money advice and information when it is most needed due to distress caused by age, ill health, or bereavement. RMBF has a telephone befriending service for anyone who needs to talk.
Eligibility criteria can be found on their website.
Contact: 0208 5409194
Medical Women's Federation
Offers advice and support to female doctors including mentoring and coaching schemes, support around issues with maternity leave, less the full time training, non-training grade doctors.
Contact: 020 7387 7765
Association of Medical Professionals with Hearing Loss (AMPHL)
Provides information, promotes advocacy and mentorship, and creates a network for individuals with hearing loss interested in health care fields.
Practitioner Performance Advice
If you have concerns about your own performance - perhaps you are returning to work after a period of absence, or you have health problems which may be impacting on your performance; you can self-refer to NHS resolution through the advice numbers.
England, Northern Ireland and Wales: 020 7811 2600
Scotland: 020 7811 2600
NHS 111 Online
The NHS 111 service provides online and on the phone help if you have an urgent medical problem and you’re not sure what to do.
It is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
You will answer questions about your symptoms and depending on the situation you will either find out what services locally can help you, be connected to a nurse, emergency dentist, pharmacist or GP or be given a face-to-face appointment if needed.
Samaritans is a unique charity dedicated to reducing feelings of isolation and disconnection that can lead to suicide. Their phone lines can be used by anyone who feels they need to talk and they are available 24/7, meaning they can be called in a crisis.
Contact: Call 116 123 for free, day or night, 365 days a year.
The Cameron Fund
The Cameron Fund is the only medical benevolent fund that 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. Both people suffering longer term from financial hardship and those who are newly facing it are supported by this charity.
Contact: 0207 388 0796
When you are going through a difficult time, it can be very easy to keep your worries to yourself and believe that you are the only one experiencing such painful feelings. While we all have our own ways of coping, information and support can make a huge difference. The Directory is a useful resource for locating a specialist counsellor who may suit you.
The world can feel like a very lonely place if you are feeling that life is no longer worth living: not only is it difficult to share those feelings but it can be hard to get the care and support that will make a difference. The Listening Place offers a warm and welcoming environment; somewhere that individuals can talk openly about their feelings without being judged or being given advice.
National Support Groups
Doctor's Support Network (DSN)
DSN is a confidential peer support network for doctors and medical students with concerns about their mental health. We aim to raise awareness, reduce stigma and influence the agenda regarding physician health.
Hope 4 Medics (Help in Obtaining Professional Equality)
This is an online support group for doctors with disabilities providing support in distress, advice about seeking help and thinking about career options.
Site is still under refurbishment.
Doctors Support Group
The group aims to provide support and assistance for medical professionals facing suspension, exclusion, investigation of complaints and/or allegations of professional misconduct. Monthly meetings based in London but attendees come from across UK.
British Doctors and Dentists Group
A support society for doctors and dentists who are recovering, or wish to recover, from addiction/dependency on alcohol or other drugs. The confidentially of all group members is strictly retained. Regular meeting groups in Scotland, Wales and England. The BDDG also has family groups to support the loved ones of the sick doctor or dentist.
Sick Doctors Trust (for those with dependency problems)
Confidential support service for doctors concerned about their use of drugs or alcohol. Telephone advice line 24/ 7 and is available to friends, family and colleagues as well as an individual requiring support.
Contact: 0370 444 5163
The doctor needs to register with doctors.net but this ensures that only genuine UK doctors can gain access. There is a forum "The Couch" for mutual support and advice, and the option of anonymous posting for delicate issues. The Couch also carries a long list of doctors around the UK happy to help others in distress.
Tea & Empathy Facebook group
National, informal, peer-to-peer network for healthcare professionals in the NHS. The aim is to foster an atmosphere of kindness and support where they can all offer an empathic ear to anyone struggling, signposting on to further help if needed. They have certain closed groups for healthcare staff with addiction problems and closed groups for consultants. They also have regional on-line groups which sometimes meet.
Physician Burnout blog
This is a blog set up recently by one of our regional clinical leads, Dr Kate Little. It is a resource for doctors who are feeling fed-up, stressed, anxious, depressed or burnt-out. Shared stories and information on where to turn to if you feel in need of help can be found here.
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