Working with doctors Working for patients


  1. 83. Medical schools must not treat students themselves or manage the treatment that students receive. This means that individual doctors in the medical school must not be responsible for the clinical care of individual students. Any treatment that students receive must be managed separately from the part of the medical school that is responsible for their academic performance and progress. The role of the medical school is to encourage the student to ask for help.
  2. 84. In the majority of cases, the most appropriate course of action is for the medical school to encourage the student to seek help from their GP. The student’s GP will be the best source of treatment for the student as they can also refer them to local NHS services, including psychiatric services where necessary. The medical school may also want to refer the student to an occupational health practitioner who can advise the medical school on what adjustments the student may need to complete the course.
  3. 85. Where different individuals and organisations, including student support services, occupational health services and GPs, are involved in treating the student, clear pathways need to be put in place to allow these different services to communicate. This is to ensure that the student receives effective care from each separate service. Medical schools should think about how different organisations can be encouraged to communicate effectively and how they can also ensure that they receive appropriate information about the student.
  4. 86. Medical schools need to be aware of the NHS treatment services available in their local area for different mental health conditions. In some places it may be difficult for students to be treated in the local NHS system, as clinical placements for other medical students may take place within that system. Where this could potentially be a problem, medical schools should put in place reciprocal agreements so students can be treated outside of the local area.
  5. 87. Where good treatment services aren’t available, medical schools may want to fund additional services for their students. Referral to these services should come from the student, the student’s GP or the occupational health service. The medical school should not refer a student to these services, but it may be appropriate for the service to inform the school that they are treating the student.
  6. 88. Medical schools can fund support services for their students, but they shouldn’t be part of the treatment process. Extra support that medical schools could fund include:
  • group counselling sessions
  • cognitive behavioural therapy
  • support groups for specific problems, such as eating disorders or substance misuse.
  1. These support services could form part of the defined care pathways for students with common mental health conditions. It’s important that these services and care pathways are managed by an independent, suitably qualified healthcare practitioner and not by the medical school.