Working with doctors Working for patients

Managing and supporting medical students with mental health conditions

  1. 89. Medical schools should focus on helping students who are receiving treatment to complete the course. They need to make sure that students are able to access the right support and are able to go to support appointments. It is not the medical school’s job to treat the student and it must not attempt to do so.

Example: Pastoral support for disabled students

Pastoral support for disabled students at the University of Southampton

The Faculty of Medicine at the University of Southampton has appointed a part-time clinical pastoral tutor to support disabled students. The role includes liaising with the university disability team, the occupational health service and clinical placement providers to try to minimise the impact on the student during the transition from pre-clinical training into the clinical environment. The tutor also participates in various meetings around pastoral support, student progress and disability discrimination.

Examples of areas where the tutor’s expertise has been useful include:

  • supporting and enabling disabled students to do clinical placements by helping the local trust understand the students’ needs and carrying out appropriate risk assessments
  • supporting students with mental health issues through the special considerations and reasonable adjustments process
  • supporting students who seem to be struggling with the course by directing them to appropriate help and deciding if they need to suspend their medical degree until they have recovered
  • acting as a student advocate
  • liaising with all parties around additional examination requirements to improve consistency and fairness
  • liaising with others about updating and clarifying process documents for disabled students to improve the student pathway and experience.