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Who is this guidance for?

Medical schools

  1. 8. This guidance is primarily aimed at medical schools, because they are responsible for coordinating support for their students with mental health conditions.
  2. 9. The GMC’s guidance, Promoting excellence: standards for medical education and training, contain standards and requirements for undergraduate medical education, which medical schools must follow. It says that medical schools need to give appropriate support to students to ensure their health and wellbeing.*
  3. 10. This guidance gives advice to medical schools on how they can give the best possible support to their students who have mental health conditions. Some of the most common conditions that medical schools will encounter include:
  • depression
  • anxiety disorders
  • substance misuse (including alcohol)
  • eating disorders.
  1. 11. Some of the advice will apply equally to students with physical disabilities or other health conditions – medical schools should bear this in mind when considering this guidance. We know that medical schools have support services in place and this guidance is designed to work with and improve those services.
  2. 12. Medical schools should also make sure that clinical supervisors follow the contents of this guidance and that all staff who spend a considerable amount of time with medical students are aware of what the medical school or university provides for students in terms of support.

Medical students

  1. 13. This guidance is also for medical students. While the support they receive is always going to be specific to their own medical school, it is also useful for students to understand the national framework for all schools, so they know what support they can expect from their medical school.
  2. 14. Medical schools should publish examples of the reasonable adjustments they are willing to make for students with mental health conditions. This will help students feel comfortable about asking their medical school to make reasonable adjustments for them.
  3. 15. We know that students are often reluctant to ask for support when they are struggling, especially if their problems relate to a mental health condition. This can often be because they are worried that highlighting a mental health condition could put their career at risk (see the myth busters section , which is designed to address these fears).

People and organisations involved in postgraduate medical education and training

  1. 16. This guidance is also aimed at those responsible for doctors in postgraduate medical education and training – such as training programme directors, and educational and clinical supervisors. They should understand the support systems that medical schools use, to better understand the environment their trainees come from.
  2. 17. This guidance covers important issues about the transition from medical school to postgraduate training, including the voluntary transfer of information between medical schools and the UK Foundation Programme.


* General Medical Council (2015). Promoting excellence: standards for medical education and training S3.1, R3.2, R3.3, R3. (accessed 30 July 2015). (accessed 27 November 2014).