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


To contact the Psychiatrists' Support Service please telephone: 020 7245 0412  or email:

How does the support service work?
All calls are answered by the support service manager and callers will be given more information about the service and be able to ask further questions. The manager may be able to provide initial advice and they may take contact information from the caller and ask them for their avaialbility to receive phone calls from doctor advisors. The manager will then discuss the case anonymously with the Associate Registrar and they will either be able to provide advice to the doctor, signpost the doctor to another service or offer support from a doctor advisor. The support service manager will arrange a time for the doctor advisor to contact the caller and confirm this with the caller, usually within the same day.


Are the issues discussed confidential?
The service is confidential.  However, if doctors disclose an issue that threatens personal or professional safety, the Royal College of Psychiatrists have a professional duty of care to report it to the appropriate agency/organisation. Doctors who contact the service are made aware of this at the point of initial contact.


What sort of issues are typically raised with the PSS and what sort of help can be given?
The service deals with a number of issues, but the most common is that of dealing with difficult colleagues and difficult working relationships. A further list of the types of problems people contact the service about can be viewed here and there are also information guides for areas that people commonly contact the service about.

I would like to discuss my problems face-to-face. Can I visit the College to use this service?
The Psychiatrists' Support Service currently operates as a telephone-based service and does not offer face-to-face meetings.


Does the service offer treatment?
The Support Service is your gateway to specialist advice and peer support; it does not offer counselling or treatment. However, the service can signpost to these resources and further information can be found in the resource section of this website.


Will the service be able to provide advocacy or representation at an employment tribunal?
The Support Service is not an advocacy service; it will not act as a trade union or offer representation at an employment tribunal, but can direct you to agencies that can help with these matters. Contact details for pfessional trade unions can be found here.


How does the service link with other services available to support doctors?
The Psychiatrists Support Service has excellent links with the General Medical Council, the British Medical Association and the National Clinical Assessment Service.  Our service often signposts to other relevant services to support doctors. Therefore, we aim to keep abreast of any local and national developments.  Our resource section contains details of a variety of organisations and services that we signpost to.  We know from some of the calls we receive, that doctors have been signposted to us from other services and organisations.


How many phone calls should I expect to receive from doctor advisors and how long will the phone calls last?
It depends on the reason for the call and the amount of support needed. Sometimes, only one phone call is required to discuss the issues. In other cases, there may be several phone calls necessary. The doctor advisor and caller can discuss whether further phone calls would be helpful. The length of the call is also dependent on needs at the time.

How do you recruit doctors to become doctor advisors for the service?
When a position on the committee becomes available, this will be advertised throuhg the Royal College website and The Psychiatrist.  However, if doctors are keen to help us, we ask them to write to use with their CV and a covering letter about their experience in helping doctors in difficult situations.  We keep these on file and contact the doctors when the need arises.  All doctors working for the service will be interviewed in line with College procedures.


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