A student asked the MDU for help with an FTP hearing. She had received a police caution for driving under the influence of alcohol. As part of the Medical School investigation, the university also discovered that she had been admitted to hospital a few months earlier following an intentional overdose of paracetamol. The student had not disclosed this to the medical school at the time. The MDU represented her at the FTP proceedings.
The student was assessed by two psychiatrists who concluded that she was suffering a depressive episode which had affected her fitness to practise and may have contributed to the alcohol abuse. The student agreed to take six months out of her course to focus on her health and to attend counselling and rehabilitation for drug and alcohol misuse. On her return, she was assigned a supervisor trained in supporting students facing health issues. She also agreed to random drug testing for the remainder of her course, and qualified two years later.
The GMC acknowledges that mental health problems are common among medical students, who face one of the most challenging undergraduate courses, and also that it is a common misconception that mental health conditions will automatically make it impossible to sustain a career in medicine.
Joint GMC/MSC guidance published in 2013 addresses mental health issues. It covers conditions ranging from stress, substance misuse and anxiety to severe mental health problems such as schizophrenia.
If you are concerned about your health, seek prompt advice from your own doctor. You can also contact the MDU for advice about informing the medical school of serious health concerns.
Disclosing cautions and convictions
When final year students apply to the GMC for provisional registration, they are required to complete a declaration which includes details of whether they have ever faced disciplinary action or student FTP proceedings. Students who fall into this category may face a further GMC investigation, so it is important to apply early.
It may also be necessary to inform your medical school about convictions or cautions. Failure to do so may lead to questions about probity or investigation by the university regarding failure to disclose.
This guidance was correct at publication 04/06/2013. It is intended as general guidance for members only. If you are a member and need specific advice relating to your own circumstances, please contact one of our advisers.