This page seeks to answer some of the most common questions that trainees ask about the Professional Support and Wellbeing Service.

What is the Wessex Professional Support and Wellbeing Service (PSW)?
Is there an educator FAQs page which my educator and I can refer to?

Yes. Please refer to the Educator FAQs page.

Why have I been referred to the Wessex PSW?

Your referrer should have discussed the referral with you, and indicated the type of support they feel may be required. You will be given the opportunity to discuss the reasons for your referral at your initial meeting.

Can I self-refer?

The Wessex PSW does not normally encourage self-referrals. The Wessex PSW framework relies on issues being addressed at a local level first. 

A referral is better received from an educator on your behalf as this provides a better structure for your support, and provides an opportunity to explore with you what it is that makes you feel the need to access Wessex PSW level support. 

However, it is possible to refer yourself for Wessex PSW support in rare circumstances where local level support is unsuitable or is unavailable.

What happens following my referral?

You will be allocated a case manager who will contact you, usually by e-mail, and you will be offered an appointment to meet with the case manager. This may be at the Wessex local office, or at another postgraduate education centre within Wessex, depending on where the case manager is based, and could include a trusted person you want to bring along. Meetings may also be held on a virtual platform.

COVID-19 arrangements – due to current social distancing requirements, most meetings are being held virtually.

How do I find time to attend this meeting?

This meeting is about supporting you and helping you to progress with your training. It is usually expected that you attend during working hours, and given sufficient notice, your department will make arrangements for you to attend. 

Do I have to attend?

You do not have to engage with the Wessex PSW, but the purpose is very much about supporting you to make progress with your training. Your engagement demonstrates a professional commitment to your practice. If you do not engage, you may miss out on valuable Wessex support.

Who will my case manager be?

Your case manager will be a senior clinician from Wessex. Some case managers are retired from clinical work, while others maintain their clinical roles. Wherever possible, you will be allocated a case manager who is not from your specialty or current place of work, to enable them to maintain an external and neutral perspective.

What happens during my initial meeting with my case manager?

The meeting is usually a 1:1 meeting (unless you choose to bring a trusted person with you), where you will have the opportunity to discuss any issues, and to raise any concerns you may have.

Your case manager will document your discussions, including a proposed individual support plan. This will be checked with you to ensure that it is accurate.

If you are offered support for a specific issue, you will be advised how to contact your Specialist Support Group (SSG) member and you will be expected to make arrangements to meet with them.

COVID-19 arrangements – due to current social distancing requirements, most meetings are being held virtually.

What happens after my initial meeting with my case manager?

It is usually advised that the information, documented on the ‘Form C’ during your meeting, is shared with your referrer, and other people who may need to know about the support plan. You will be expected to make arrangements to meet with any Specialist Support Group (SSG) members (if applicable).

Your case manager will keep in touch with you to monitor your progress. Further face-to-face or virtual meetings can be arranged as required. You are strongly advised to e-mail your case manager with updates, and to let them know of any significant developments.

COVID-19 arrangements – due to current social distancing requirements, most meetings are being held virtually.

How long can I have case manager support?

Your case manager will support you until your issues are resolved while you remain a doctor in postgraduate training in Wessex. If you leave training and/or Wessex, your case will be closed.

What support is available via the Specialist Support Group (SSG)?

Your individual support plan will be agreed between you and your case manager.  Not every person seen requires additional support, but various options are available via the Specialist Support Group (SSG). All support is bespoke, and provided on a 1:1 basis.

Are there any principles that guide Wessex PSW support?

You and your case manager are bound by the requirements of the GMC “Good Medical Practice” guidelines and all postgraduate specialty training is referenced by The Gold Guide. The Foundation Programme is guided by The Foundation Programme Reference Guide.

Are my details held confidentially by the Wessex PSW?

The Wessex PSW works closely with, but independently of, the rest of the Wessex PGMDE team and your employer. Records of your discussions with your case manager are stored separately from your main training file and only staff members of the Wessex PSW can access them.  

Are the case manager and SSG meetings confidential?

The same principles apply as when you consult with your patients. This means you can feel free to discuss your concerns, doubts, worries and anxieties with your case manager without fear that these will be shared with others without your permission.

As you would expect, exceptions to this rule apply – if you have serious difficulties and your case manager has good reason to believe that your safety or that of patients is at risk.

Who might information be shared with?

With your permission a summary of your meetings with either your case manager or SSG member will be shared with key individuals, on a need to know basis, to support your training. These would usually include the referrer, your educational supervisor, programme director and programme manager in Wessex. You will have an opportunity to discuss and check this information first.

Please note that for every referral received by the Wessex PSW, programme managers may be made aware of any referral, and should the doctor not engage with the Wessex PSW then this fact would be shared with the referrer (which may on occasion be an ARCP panel).

Does being in difficulty mean my career is over?

No. The purpose of a referral is to provide timely and focussed support to help you continue in your career if at all possible.

What if this doesn’t work/what if the problems I have prove to be long-term issues?

This level of difficulty is unusual and some long term problems can be managed within training. However, it does sometimes arise that a doctor is unable to continue in training, the number of possible scenarios are too complex to outline here. The process is managed through the ARCP panels. However, if there is any risk of this, your case manager should discuss this with you and can offer a career support referral.

For further information, please refer back to Trainee information.

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