Sources of support

Medico-legal issues can be stressful for healthcare professionals at any level. As well as assistance from the MDU when it comes to dealing with a complaint or a claim, there are a number of resources and organisations available to help you look after yourself, whether you’re dealing with mental, physical, work or financial pressures.

Peer Support Network

MDU members who need support through a GMC case, claim or some other investigation process can access our peer support network to talk with fellow members who have been in their shoes. The programme aims to help members put things into perspective and give them hope for the future.

To access the network please speak to the medico-legal adviser dealing with your case.

Learn more about the programme here and read the profound story of how one member’s physical and mental health was affected by a GMC investigation – and their longing to help others facing a similar situation. 

Health and wellbeing e-learning

Health and wellbeing e-learning

Looking after yourself is just as important as looking after patients, especially when you’re starting out in medicine. Anyone entering the medical profession won’t be surprised to find it’s a high-pressured career, placing demands on your time, resources and stamina.

This free course is aimed at junior doctors and shines a light on the impact of these issues. It helps you to recognise the warning signs in yourself and others, as well as the steps you can take to seek support. At the end you'll have the opportunity to test your knowledge and earn a certificate of completion.

View course

Doctors' Support Network

The Doctors' Support Network (DSN) is a UK-registered charity supporting doctors and medical students with mental health concerns. The charity is free to join and runs an online peer support forum, providing DSN members with a safe, confidential space to discuss being a medic and mental health. It also provides its members with advice others have found useful.

The DSN is funded entirely by donations, so direct support is crucial for it to operate. Money raised will help the member-run charity cover its operational costs, which include expenses related to publicising DSN to individual medics and campaigning nationally to improve all doctors’ experiences of mental illness.

MDU members who join for F1 membership will have £5 from their £10 subscription donated to the Doctors' Support Network, as well as the Royal Medical Benevolent Fund.*

*Valid for all FY1 applications received in 2021 for 2021 and 2022 qualifiers.

Other sources of support

Benefit and debt advice

Royal Medical Benevolent Fund

The RMBF offers advice and support to doctors who are eligible through ill health, injury, disability, bereavement or who are beyond state retirement age. It may help with money advice, payments towards living costs, awards for equipment/adaptations and top ups for residential care. It also supports those returning to work after illness, support for retraining and professional fees.

The organisation also provides some support to refugee doctors who have PLAB1 and an approved clinical attachment, as well as to medical students in their final two years who are in difficulty through ill-health, disability or bereavement.

Royal Medical Foundation

Open to UK resident GMC registered (or formerly registered) doctors or their dependents in difficult financial circumstances. Doctors who aren't UK qualified need to have worked here for three years. Can support private school fees.

The Cameron Fund

Open to GPs and their dependents only who need help due to illness, disability, death or loss of employment, offering grants, loans and financial advice. Can support private school fees.

BMA Charities

Made up of two independent charities and working independently of the British Medical Association, BMA Charities offers help to all doctors and medical students in times of financial need. The BMA Charities Trust Fund offers financial aid and advice to doctors and medical students in difficulty, while the Dain Fund is aimed at supporting the children of doctors struggling with money issues.

Elizabeth Finn Fund

Professionals including doctors, dentists, nurses and their partners who are holders of British/Irish nationality and who have under £4,000 in savings. Offers grants towards equipment, home adaptations and repairs, care home top ups and more.

Cavell Trust

Charity offering financial assistance to nurses, midwives and HCAs, including retired and students.

RCN Foundation

Offering project grants, bursary schemes, hardship funding and advice to nurses.

Society for the Assistance of Medical Families

Provides financial support for doctors and their families, and for medical students.

Health

BMA wellbeing support services

Counselling and peer support available for all doctors and medical students. You do not need to be a BMA member.

British Doctors and Dentists Group (BDDG)

A mutual/self-help group for doctors and dentists recovering from chemical addictions (alcohol and/or drugs).

Doctors' Support Network

Peer support for doctors and medical students with mental health concerns, via mail forums and social events.

NHSE GP Health Service

Support for mental health and addiction. By self-referral only for any GP or GP trainee in England, or any wishing to return to practice.

NHS Practitioner Health Programme

An NHS service for doctors and dentists with health concerns/addictions especially where it may affect their work. Self-referral for doctors who live in London.  Doctors in the rest of England can access the service via a referral from their GP.

Health for Health Professionals Wales

Funded by the Welsh government, a face to face counselling service for all doctors in Wales.

Enfys

Support for doctors affected by addiction (including alcohol, drugs, gambling, sex, eating disorders and other dependency/harmful behaviour). Based in Wales.

DocHealth

Confidential psychotherapeutic consultation service for all qualified doctors (not medical students). Fees apply but financial assistance to cover fees is available if needed.

Practitioner Health

Confidential care and support for health professionals in Ireland with mental health issues such as stress, anxiety or burnout, or who may have a substance misuse problem. Free of charge at the point of care.

Educational resources

Learn and develop with the MDU

We offer a wide variety of online e-learning, in-house and on-site training and seminars, as well as a huge range of guidance and advice on our website and mobile app.

GMC

Guidance, advice and interactive learning tools.

Clinic for Boundary Studies

Training and other services for professionals facing difficulties relating to professional boundaries, ethics, conduct and career challenges.

E-learning for Health

Run by Health Education England. Wide range of online learning resources provided free to NHS doctors.

BMJ Learning

Provides BMA members/subscribers with continuing medical education covering clinical topics, professional skills and career development.

Doctors.Net

Professional network for doctors and students. Accredited CPD available.

OnMedica

Online learning resource aimed at doctors but also applicable for nurses, pharmacists, medical students, and other healthcare professionals. Registration needed to access all content.

Legal

Advocate

Charity helping users find free legal help from barristers.

Law Society Solicitor Search

Not pro bono but lists solicitors by specialty and location.

Advice Now

Online advice for common legal scenarios.

National Pro Bono Centre

Online hub for pro bono charities across the legal sector.

University of Law legal advice for the public

The University of Law pro bono programme offers free legal advice from postgraduate students training to become solicitors or barristers, supervised by experienced lawyers.

Whistleblowing

Protect

Whistleblowing charity offering confidential advice to anyone wanting to raise a concern at work.

Support for students

While it's important to look after yourself throughout your career, it is particularly necessary at times of change or high stress – such as when starting your first job. That's why we've compiled separate resources to help students prepare for the realities of life in practice or in hospitals.

The MDU is here to help medics at all stages of their career with medico-legal and professional concerns. Medical students with mental health worries can get in touch with the MDU or access resources for help, including the GMC guidance for students with mental health conditions, the MDU’s e-learning modules as well as numerous other resources, organisations and initiatives.

Students can contact the MDU for support at any time by emailing advisory@themdu.com or calling 0800 716 646.

Employee Assistance Programme

GP practices who are part of the MDU's GROUPCARE scheme can take advantage of free access to a confidential employee assistance helpline.

Talking to experts at Peninsula in confidence can help the whole team should they encounter any issues in their home or work life. This confidential Employee Assistance Programme includes:

  • unlimited access to 24/7/365 confidential helpline
  • legal information services
  • debt and financial information
  • family advice line on topics such as childcare and eldercare.