Professional Support Unit
The Professional Support Unit (PSU) is a free service primarily dedicated to supporting the progression of postgraduate training for NHS healthcare professionals. We work independently of Specialty Schools, Training Programmes or Trusts and can offer confidential and impartial support or advice for those who need it.
We accept self-referrals and the information you share on your application form to us is not accessible to or routinely shared with anyone involved in your training or employment. Our privacy and confidentiality statements are attached at the bottom of this page.
Please note we cannot offer an emergency or out of hours service. For urgent or out of hourse psychological support please read the information at the bottom of this page. For urgent queries relating to your training or work please contact your Training Programme leads or employer.
Who can use our services?
You can access our services if you are a healthcare professional in a supervised placement across London and Kent, Surrey & Sussex and meet the following eligibility criteria:
- Postgraduate Doctors & Dentists who hold a London or KSS training number.
- Foundation trainees in London. Foundation Trainees in KSS should access support services via the KSS’s own Professional Support & Wellbeing Service accessible via https://kss.hee.nhs.uk/kss-foundation/current-doctors-in-training/careers-and-wellbeing-support/
- Nurses and Allied Health professionals between Bands 5 - 8 in a recognised training scheme (eg nurse preceptorship or development for more specialised clinical roles)
- Pharmacists in training:
- Pre-registration Pharmacists (1yr post degree programme in Trusts ) & Pharmacy technicians (2 year programme employed by Trusts)
- Foundation Pharmacists (2 years post registration)
- Clinical Pharmacists undertaking the 18 month General practice pharmacist training pathway as part of the NHS England pilot
- Healthcare Scientist trainees on STP or HSST programmes
- Doctors who have passed the entry requirements & have been offered a placement on the GP Return to Practice (RtP) or the GP International Induction Programme (IIP) workforce schemes
- Doctors on the Clinical Apprenticeship Scheme (CAPS) and/or the Medical Support Worker (MSW) educational programme
SAS & LED Doctors: We are currently not authorised to offer our services to Locally Employed Doctors (LEDs) and Speciality and Specialist (SAS) doctors. The responsibility for supporting these doctors remains with the employing Trusts and Directors of Medical Education (DMEs) and we would suggest contacting your local DME in the first instance to find out how you can access this specific support.
What services are available?
The services we currently offer include:
- Confidential 1:1 advice or support via the Single Point of Contact (SPOC) service
- Careers advice
- Psychological Support for doctors & dentists
- Specialist Communication and linguistics skills support
- Access to dyslexia assessments and specialist dyslexia coaching
- Access to neurodiversity resources
- Support for those Returning to Practice
- Courses, Groups, Workshops & e-learning
- Individual Support Team (IST) support
- Access to wellbeing & self management resources
What we are unable to offer?
We are unable to offer the following input however we would be happy to speak with you in our Single Point of Contact service if you are not sure how to access the following support:
- Legal advice
- Formal contractual, HR or employment advice
- Occupational Health assessments
- Financial support or advice
- Formal representation to Royal Colleges,Training Programmes or ARCP on your behalf
Specific queries relating to your training programme (such as requests for changes to your employment, training timeline, ARCP requests or eportfolio queries) should be directed to your Training Programme leads or advice sought via the Healthcare Education Team (HET) Trainee portal .
Urgent or immediate Psychological Support in a crisis
You can access free & confidential psychological or mental health support 24/7 via:
- The NHS Frontline service for all NHS staff: 0300 131 7000 (between 7am-11pm) or Text 'FRONTLINE' to 85258 (24hrs/day)
- NHS Bereavement & Loss Helpline for NHS staff: 0300 303 4434 (between 7am-11pm)
- The BMA's 24/7 counselling service for all doctors (including non BMA members): 0330 123 1245 or visit the BMA
- The Samaritans: Call 116 123 or visit Samaritans
- The Practitioner Support Programme's crisis line: Text NHSPH to 85258 or visit Practitioner Health
- NHS Help for suicidal thoughts
How to access the PSU support
Access to the PSU is by self-referral. Each of the tabs above provides information about the different services provided by the PSU and the contact/application information for each service.
Please have a look at the different services we have and apply directly to the one you would like to as this often means we can process your request more quickly. Alternatively, if you are unsure of what services would be most useful or you would like to access multiple services, please complete the following online application form.
On occasions, we also accept referrals from Heads of School, Associate Deans and Training Programme Directors however we prefer to encourage self-referral as it helps with ongoing engagement and better outcomes. Would therefore ask senior educators that are considering referring someone to first share our information (including our confidential and impartial advice SPOC service) with the trainee and give then time to self refer to us first.
If you cannot find the answer to your question on our web pages and need further clarification please email us at Enquiries.PSULondon@nhs.net.
PSU support developed during COVID-19 pandemic
We adapted a range of our services to support during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our COVID-19 Wellbeing hub has further information regarding:
- Online Wellbeing Resources (podcasts, webinars, self-support advice, links to HEE & external resources available for trainees)
- 1:1 Support (free, confidential & independent 1:1 conversation with a senior PSU lead via telephone or on-line teleconferencing platforms)
- Virtual Group Support (free, confidential trainee peer support groups facilitated by a trained group facilitator)
- Online Courses (a range of e-learning and wellbeing/support courses we will be delivering via teleconferencing platforms)