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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness

Support when facing threats to your job

NHS changesSupport when facing threats to your job

The College is well aware that the NHS changes and current financial climate are leading to many varied changes in services, and that there are many of you facing difficult and uncertain times.


Service changes, tendering processes and drive for efficiencies are leading to threats of redundancies, actual redundancies, loss of posts and decrease in paid Programmed Activities. There are also Psychiatrists facing a potential loss of earnings as a result of changes in the legal system. As a result many feel under considerable stress due to the uncertainty and possible changes in lifestyle.


It can be difficult to know where to turn at such times. There are no clear answers, but here are some thoughts on what might help.


  • Support when facing threats to your job The British Medical Association provides assistance with employment and contractual issues. This is an important avenue of support when faced with service or contractual changes or the possibility of redundancy. To contact the BMA for employment and general information queries, telephone 0300 123 12333. Lines are open Monday-Friday, 8.30-6.00pm. Alternatively, visit their website and use the feedback form to contact an adviser. 


  • Consider what procedures are available to you within your organisation to review your position or offer advice. This could include discussion at a Medical Staff Committee meeting, Local Negotiating Committee meeting or discussion with Human Resources. 


  • The Psychiatrists Support Service is a confidential telephone advice service providing support and signposting for members of the Royal College of Psychiatrists. Contact can be made on telephone 0207 2450 412. The Support Service Manager will listen to the details of your situation and review them with the Specialist Adviser who leads the service. You will then be directed to an appropriate organisation to provide the necessary support or referred to a College member for focused advice. 


  • Informal discussion with your colleagues. You may be surprised to learn that others may be experiencing similar anxieties. Your colleagues may have helpful ideas about what you could consider doing and help you to explore your options.  


  • The British Medical Association Counselling Service and Doctors for Doctors service provide a confidential service where doctors can discuss problems and get support. You can either speak to a counsellor or a doctor-advisor. To make contact telephone 08459 200 169.


  • Support for Doctors is a website developed by the Royal Medical Benevolent Fund and provides a lot of useful information. The Royal Medical Benevolent Fund can also provide support for doctors and their families facing financial problems.


  •  The BMA can direct you towards financial advisors, or you may wish to make contact with an advisor independently.


  • You may want to consider avenues of alternative income or a portfolio career. Information and contacts can be found on the College's Private and Independent Practice Special Interest Group. An information guide ‘On planning a portfolio career’ is in the Psychiatrists Support Service section. The British Medical Association also provides information and seminars on setting up a private practice. 


  • You may want to consider an alternative career or specialty. Talking to colleagues may generate ideas. The Medical Forum offers career planning support. The British Medical Association also provides careers counselling, and your local Deanery may have a careers advisory service. 

Contact us

Above all it is important to look after yourself. Talk to your family, friends and colleagues. Maintain a healthy lifestyle and work life balance. You might find the Psychiatrists Support Service's information guides helpful, in particular advice on dealing with stress. The College is keen to hear from you and to understand what is happening to jobs and services. Please contact Charlotte Collins, Workforce Manager, with any news or updates. 



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