Individual Support Team
An individual educational support service for healthcare professionals in training posts across London & KSS who face challenges to their progression in training, for whatever reason.
Who are we?
The Individual Support team (IST) team forms part of the Professional Support Unit (PSU) and consists of a group experienced senior educators, clinicians and supervisors offering independent support and guidance for HEE trainees facing complex challenges or dilemmas, which may be impacting on their training.
At the IST we work independently of your Speciality Training School, Department, Trust or College and offer a confidential, safe and neutral space to work through the difficulties you are facing and help you access additional support or guidance.
A list of IST adviser biographies can be found here.
What do we do?
We support clinicians in training who face complex challenges, often with more than one issue involved, and where it is not initially clear what support would be most helpful.
Common issues which we see include:
- Difficulty with passing exams
- Problems with relationships at work
- Personal difficulties
- Stress, burn out, anxiety & other psychological or mental health issues
- Concerns about possible dyslexia or issues related to dyslexia
Who can access the IST?
Healthcare professionals within London & KSS, specifically:
- Postgraduate Doctors & Dentists who hold a London or KSS training number (Foundation years until CCT)
- Healthcare professionals between Bands 5 - 8 in a recognised training scheme (e.g. nurse preceptorship or development for more specialised clinical roles)
- Pharmacists in training:
- Pre-registration Pharmacists (1 year 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
- Doctors who have passed the entry requirements & have been offered a placement on the Induction & Returning (I&R), Retainer or International GP recruitment (IGPR) workforce schemes
Please Note: Staff & Associate Speciality Grade doctors and other doctors who have completed their training are currently not eligible for support via the IST. Alternative sources of support include: Londonwide Medical Committee, British Medical Association and Practitioner Health Programme. Click here for additional support materials and organisations
What does the IST process involve?
After receiving your self-referral information, you will be contacted to arrange an apppointment with a member of the IST (usually within 2 weeks). This can be face-to face, by telephone or via online teleconferencing technology.
We work by having a one-to-one conversation (usually lasting at least 1hour) to understand your situation as fully as possible and then discussing possible ways forward. Any information you provide, and the conversations you have with us, are confidential within the limits of our confidentiality policy.
We will agree a plan of action, or a personal development plan, with you to help address your challenges over a realistic timescale. This may include signposting you to other resources or support services which are available, or recommendations regarding your training which you can discuss with others formally involved in your training.
Following the conversation you will receive a written summary including the action plan for your own records, which can act as a useful reminder of the points discussed and a means of following your progress. You may share this with others involved in your training or ask us to do so by providing written consent.
We may, on occasions, agree a follow-up to review your progress. This will be discussed with you at the time of your appointment.
How can you access the IST?
We work through self-referral, although we are aware that this may be as result from a request by a supervisor, employer or regulator. Please read the additional guidance at the bottom of this page before submittng your application
Click here to apply to the IST using our online application form
Additional guidance for clients & referrers
Guidance for clients
Our aim is to learn as much as we can about the challenges you are experiencing before working with you to develop a plan. It helps us to have as much information as possible about any challenges you have experienced in training. This might include ARCP reports, communication from supervisors and other educators involved in your programme, details of assessments or exams, complaints, and where relevant any proceedings against you that have taken place or are planned. Information like this helps us to understand the challenges you face fully and to offer support most likely to meet your needs effectively.
It is important for us to know if you have a disability or health problems (including psychological health) as we can signpost you to sources of help and support. We can offer support with considering alternative career paths, both inside and outside medicine, when appropriate.
Any information you provide, and the conversations you have with us, are confidential within the limits of our confidentiality policy. We will request your agreement for us to contact you by email in the future to ask how you are getting on, and for feedback on your experience of our service.
Guidance for referrers
We offer support to doctors and dentists in postgraduate training who have a training number with HEE London or KSS and all other eligible healthcare professionals in London & KSS.
Please make sure potential clients know you are recommending referral to the Professional Support Unit, and why you think this necessary. We ask for the referral application to be made by the client themselves. Please feel free to contact us by phone at an early stage to discuss a referral you are considering on an anonymous basis if that would be helpful. We aim to work in partnership with learners and educators, and encourage sharing information about the work we are doing with clients within the limits of our confidentiality policy which specifies that we share information only with client consent outside restricted very rare circumstances.
If you wish to inform us about a healthcare professional in training that you would like to refer, please use this link: PSU Trainee/Client Referral Form
The purpose of this information is to provide guidance on our services for doctors and organisations accessing the Professional Development Department's Individual Support Team in order to maximise working relationships and improve outcomes. In no way is this guidance intended to prejudice or deter any enquiry from either doctors or the organisations involved in overseeing their professional performance.