The Wounded Healer 2018                                                                                                             

10 Year Anniversary Conference of the Practitioner Health Service

International Practitioner Health Summit

The Wounded Healer

4 – 5 October 2018

We are very proud to have hosted this important summit focusing on the health of doctors and dentists with speakers, researchers and experts from around the world.

The programme examined the causes of the rising tide of mental ill health found among the medical profession and the consequences of this in terms of recruitment, retention of doctors and rising numbers who are taking their own life. It also explored models of care and interventions to support the well-being of the clinical workforce.

A selection of the keynote speeches and presentations from the 2018 conference are available below.

Dr. Abigail Zugler “Why are Doctors in Distress?”

Henry Marsh “Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death and Brain Surgery”

Group Discussion: Changing Practice to Support Sick Doctors (Chair: Dr Clare Gerada, Dr Ide Delargy, Professor Debbie Cohen, Dr Gustavo Tolchinsky)

Adam Kay, comedian and author of “This is Going to Hurt”


Prof. Jill Maben “The Emotional Impact of Caring”

Dr Robin Warshafsky “A Father’s Experience”

Amy Wilson “The Development of Expert Biographies in Medical Writing”

THE WOUNDED HEALER: Report on the First 10 Years of Practitioner Health Service

Read the report here 

Service highlights between November 2008 – March 2018


  • Between 2008 and 2018, over 5000 doctors have presented to PHS. 3,767 of these have gone on to have full assessments and become our patients.
  • The remainder are: people who have sought advice from us and not progressed to full assessment; pharmacists; medical students; senior managers and other health practitioners seen on special arrangement; or doctors who have passed through one of our group activities (group therapy, Time-To-Think programme, reflective practice groups).
  • From a London-based team of three in 2008, over the last decade we have grown to a network of over 300 clinicians, special advisors, clinical leads, therapists and operational staff across England.
  • PHS is the only NHS-funded practitioner health service.
  • PHS is the largest physician health service in Europe providing the whole range of interventions (from community detoxification to residential rehabilitation; from individual to group therapy; from mental health to addiction treatment; from consulting room to back to work).
  • Our delivery costs work out at around £54 per head for the population we serve.
  • At the start of the service we saw slightly more men than women (M53% vs W47%) but by the end of the first decade women far outnumbered men (M32.5% vs W67.5%).
  • Over the years, the service has seen a year-on-year drop in the mean age of doctors presenting for treatment, from 51.6 years in 2008 to 38.9 years in 2018.
  • Not surprisingly, given the age of doctors we see, many are still training.
  • The service saw a significant increase in self-referrals in 2016 which coincided with the NHS Junior Doctor strike.
  • Overall, 430 doctors have been involved in regulatory processes (GMC, GDC).
  • We believe we have the largest number of doctors with bipolar affective disorder being treated in a single service anywhere in the world.
  • We believe we have the largest cohort of doctors being treated for addiction in a single treatment service anywhere in the world.
  • Overall, most patients (83.5%) suffer from mental health problems; 10.1% have addiction issues and 6.3% other diagnoses.
  • Around 25% of practitioner-patients were not at work when they presented to us.


Over the decade, and across all services, we have had excellent outcomes with respect to:
  • Improvement in patients’ mental health and social functioning
  • Numbers of health professionals returning to work or training
  • Reducing potential risk to practitioner-patients and the public
  • Excellent patient satisfaction scores and feedback
  • Evaluation scores demonstrate that all groups of practitioner-patients have improved regardless of age, gender or diagnostic category
  • Return to work
  • Abstinence rates for those with addictions.
  • At discharge, approximately 76% of those not at work returned to work.
  • Over the last 10 years we have returned more than 1,000 doctors back to the workplace.
  • There has been a large drop in those involved with the regulator, from 33% (2008/9) to less than 5.1% (2017/18). Averaged out over the years 2008-2018, the figure is 11%.
  • Over the years we have seen a marked drop in the percentage of doctors with addiction problems, from 36% (2008/09) to 10.1% (2017/2018).
  • As a percentage of those presenting from specialties, anaesthetists, dentists and emergency practitioners are more likely to present with problems related to addiction than patients from other specialties.
  • On all measures (using validated instruments), our patients improve with our care. PHS significantly decreases levels of distress and improves work and social functioning.


  • PHS consistently receives positive written and verbal feedback from practitioner-patients and their families. Survey results from PHS patients show:
  • 93% are extremely likely/likely to recommend PHS to a friend or colleague
  • 88% say PHS has had a very positive or positive impact on their personal wellbeing
  • 81% say PHS has had a very positive or positive impact on their family life
  • 78% say PHS had a very positive or positive impact on their ability to work or train

Presentation PDFS:

Plenary Sessions 
  • International Keynote: Henry Marsh, author of “Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death and Brain Surgery” CLICK HERE
  • Keynote: Prof. Michael Myers ” Toward Preventing Physician Suicide: It Takes a Village” CLICK HERE
  • Keynote: Dr Robin Warshafsky “A Father’s Experience” CLICK HERE
  • Keynote: Amy Wilson “The development of expert biographies in medical writing” CLICK HERE
  • Keynote: Louise Freeman “#AndMe – changing minds about mental health” CLICK HERE
  • Keynote: Prof. Jill Maben “The emotional impact of caring” CLICK HERE


Day one 

Day one 

Stream A Addiction Stream

Stream B Doctors Stories Stream

Stream B – Helen Bolderston

Stream B – Redfern & Plunkett

Stream C Promoting Resilience

Stream C – Chantal Meystre

Stream C – Margaret O’Rourke

Stream D Mistakes, Complaints and Blame Culture

Stream D – Sine McDougall and Kevin Turner

Stream E Treatment Models for Mental Health Problems

Stream E – Anna Mitjans

Stream F Medical Students

STream F – Diana Bass

Stream F – Margaret Bunting

Stream G Pure Research (The Evidence Base)

Stream G – Daniele Carrieri

Stream G – Katherine Warren

Stream G – S Marrinan – Doctors self medication

Stream G – Ulrich Müller-Sedgwick

Stream H Reflective Practice

Stream H – Lee Grant

Stream I Resilience and Healthy Workplaces

Stream I – Peter Sturgeon

Stream I – Robyn Vesey

Stream I -Kathleen Kendall

Stream J Getting the balance right

Stream J – Jessica Whitehead

Stream K Mindfulness

Stream L Wounded Medical Students

Stream L – Gundi Kiemle

Stream L – Margaret O’Rourke

Stream L – Marrison Strank

Day two 

Stream A Burnout Workshop

Stream B Looking after Self

Stream B – Andrew Shepherd

Stream B – Rhian Sheppeard

Stream C Resilience and Recovery

Stream C – Andrew Tressider

Stream C – Lena Perez

Stream C – Sue Jamieson

Stream D Looking at self

Stream D – James Alegbeleye

Stream E We are all in this together

Stream E – David Miller

Stream E – Kay Dunkley

Stream F Early Resilience in Medical Students

Stream F- Clive Weston

Stream F- Megan Joffe