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Topic outline

  • Introduction

    Student Support

    A medical course is a long and demanding journey that will test you to your limits and change you forever. You will become a completely different person capable of working as a professional in a high pressure environment where you must gain and maintain the trust of your patients and colleagues. This requires knowledge, skills and appropriate attitudes. Some attitudes and behaviours must be expressed from the very start of the course, and this section lays out your responsibilities in that regard.

    One of the main responsibilities you have, however, is to look after yourself, and we do not expect you to do this unaided. This section also lays out the wide variety of support services available to you, so we may help you through any difficulties that you may encounter.

    • Essential contacts

    • Welcomed and Valued

      On the 14th May 2019 the GMC  published their updated Welcomed and valued guidance, which provides advice for medical schools and postgraduate educators on how to support disabled learners, and those with long term health conditions.

       'We’d be grateful for your help in sharing the revised guidance with relevant colleagues. And if you’d like to join the conversation on social media, you can use #ablemedics. 

      Celebrating disabled medics’ contributions to the profession

      It’s important the medical workforce reflects and understands the diverse population it cares for. That’s why it’s vital we support and celebrate the significant contribution disabled doctors and medical students bring to the profession.  We want disabled doctors and students to have a more accessible and supportive training experience, so they can meet their required learning outcomes and have fulfilling and sustained careers in medicine. The guidance has been developed to help you do this, and we hope you will join us in recognising disabled students and doctors’ valuable contributions to the profession.

      Changes to the guidance

      Welcomed and valued retains the core principles of our previous Gateways to the professions guidance. However, it now includes more practical advice for both undergraduate and postgraduate educators, including a process map. This will make it easier for you to apply on a case by case basis, and help you to support your students to meet the Outcomes for graduates. The updated advice will help you to meet your legal duties and our standards for medical education and training, set out in Promoting excellence.

       General Medical Council

    • Professional Attitudes and Conduct

      As a University student you will have a great deal of personal freedom, and we want you to enjoy yourselves, as your University years should be some of the best years of your life. However, as a medical student you also have a professional duty to comply with the standards expected of you. Medical students must be aware that their behaviour outside the clinical environment, including in their personal lives, can bring the profession of medicine into disrepute and impact upon their fitness to practise as a doctor in the future.

      The General Medical Council lays out what is expected of doctors and medical students in its documents 'Good Medical Practice'. There are a number of situations where you may get into problems beyond your work in the clinical environment. These could relate to your friendships and relationships, behaviour in public, the misuse of drugs and/or alcohol or the unacceptable use of social media, including Facebook and Twitter. You must take care to abide by the expectations, and show consideration for, the standards expected of being a doctor.

      The Medical School expectations for your attitudes and behaviour are laid out in a 'Pre-Course Student Agreement', which you will have received, and must sign. Do take the time to reflect on the implications of what you have signed up to. It will avoid a lot of potential grief in the future. All that said, we all need to have a good time in our lives; just make sure to balance this with your responsibilities as a medical student and future doctor. Please see the General Medical Council section in Moodle.

      Pastoral network Looking after yourself Looking after yourself Student Support Concerns Process Careers support Being a Student Looking after you Looking after you Fitness to Practise Proceedings Code of Practice for Personal Tutors Professional Attitudes and Conduct
    • Concerns Process

      Concerns ProcessThe Medical School has an absolute obligation to the public to monitor the progress and professional attitudes and conduct of medical students and to take action if there is any cause for concern. We all recognise that as you develop and mature your understanding of what is required of you will improve, so the systems are aimed to detect any issues at an early stage and intervene in ways that will bring you back on track. Most issues will be resolved in this way.

      The Medical School operates a 'concerns process' that receives information from a wide variety of sources about the performance and conduct of students. In many cases the concerns will be about academic progress, and in this situation the concerns group is entirely supportive, and will put in place additional support for you to overcome your academic difficulties. This may involve assessment by an educational psychologist or support from specialist educational units, supplemented by subject specific advice. The crucial thing is that you should recognise problems early and cooperate with those who are trying to help you. Failure to cooperate is an indication of unprofessional attitudes, which could become an additional cause for concern.

      Many students also become ill during the course, and again here the concerns process is supportive. It will ensure appropriate assessments by occupational health or other agencies, and put in place such support as is required to help you through the course as your illness is resolved or managed more effectively. You must however recognise to responsibility to look after your own health and to cooperate with those who are trying to manage your health problems, and failure to do so could become an additional cause for concern.

      Occasionally however, the concerns are about behaviour or attitude. In this situation the initial approach is still supportive, aiming to help you reflect on issues and change your behaviour through a variety of interventions. If you do not respond to those interventions, or if your behaviour is such as to give rose to immediate major concern then you may be referred from the concerns process, which is principally supportive to 'Fitness to Practise' proceeding which will evaluate independently your situation and decide whether you are fit to practise and may remain on the course. You will continue to be supported by the medical school during this process, but must understand that it may lead to termination of your course.

      The 'concerns process' considers all three aspects of academic progress, health and conduct together because there are often complex interactions between them and equally complex interventions may be required to resolve the issues. You must understand that it is not disciplinary in nature. It aims to help you deal with issues so you may continue on the course and be successful.

      Do note that you have a responsibility to report any concerns you may have about a fellow student or any member of staff, so that the concerns group may act early to manage the situation and minimise adverse consequences. Guidance on this can be found in the Whistle-blowing policy.

    • Academic Misconduct

      Academic misconduct in medical students is regarded as a serious concern. The definitions of misconduct and the general expectations of students in relation to their personal conduct, academic honesty and obligations, are defined in the University Regulations for First Degrees, MB ChB Regulations and Code of Practice for Assessment.

      The Academic Misconduct Group is a referral group from the Concerns Group, and as such, will receive allegations of any academic misconduct, plagiarism or cheating from the Concerns Group, normally from the Medical School Examinations Officer following an assessment, written examination or OSCE. 

      For a bit of fun, please have a go at the University's Essential Quiz on good Academic Practice. You will need to login once you have clicked on the link and read the University's policy document first. Have a go!

    • Fitness to Practise Proceedings

      The Fitness to Practise Committee considers the cases of students whose conduct or health may put future patients at risk, irrespective of academic performance on the course. It is a University process operating independently of the Medical School. Students about whom there are concerns about fitness to practise are normally referred by the concerns group/process (see above), together with a report about the nature of the concern and any other relevant information. The situation is then investigated again from scratch by an independent 'investigating officer', who makes a report to the committee. The committee is chaired by a lay chair and has significant representation from the public so that fair judgements may be made. The Committee may impose a variety of penalties, up to and including termination of a student's course (see terms of reference).

      Please see the General Medical Council section in Moodle for all related documentations.

    • Absence

      The Medical School does recognise that there may be times when you have to be absent from the course; for example, if you are unwell. If this is the case, you may self certify for the first few days of illness, but must obtain a medical certificate from a doctor if you are unwell for longer or if your illness coincides with an assessment. If you are sick, you will be able to 'self-certificate' for up to one week and if you are unfortunate enough to be ill for more than one week, then you must obtain a sick note from your GP and complete the certification form. If there are compassionate reasons you must let the medical school know, and if possible discuss with a member of the student support team before you leave (request for exceptional absence).

      The Medical School recognises that on occasion personal circumstances interfere with study and assessments. It is crucial that you report such circumstances as early as possible, so that support may be put in place for you, and your circumstances may be taken into account in progression decisions. There is a form which you must complete if you believe that your preparation for, or performance in assessments has been affected by circumstances beyond your control. 

    • Looking after yourself

      One of the main responsibilities you have is to look after yourself by seeking help when necessary, and as adults you are responsible for your own progress and well being. The University and Medical School has a variety of ways to help you do this. 

      Occupational Health

      The Medical School is working in partnership with the Occupational Health Service at Milton Keynes Hospital and can be found on the third floor of Outpatients in the hospital. You will already have completed an occupational health questionnaire, and will see the service if necessary. The Occupational Health Service will work to ensure that your studies do not have an adverse impact on your health and vice versa. This includes providing you with impartial advice on medical fitness for work (study); on fitness to return to work (study) following ill health or injury; and on adjustments that may be considered to support those of you with disabilities. The Service is also responsible for administering the recommended vaccinations which help to protect you, and also your patients, from various communicable diseases.

      You will be in contact with patients right from the start of your course and it is your professional duty to ensure you have a clean bill of health, otherwise you may not be allowed to enter the clinic/GP practice and your studies may be delayed. During the course, you may be referred to the Occupational Health Service for advice/recommendations and they may suggest that you seek coaching, counselling, or an educational assessment for example. If you would like further information about the role of the OH Service, please contact

      Students First

      University Students First provides personal and individual support to all students throughout their time at Buckingham. If you are unhappy or worried, there is always someone who will listen and can advise you. Our aim is to ensure that all our students' years at University are happy, fulfilling and successful. We have a Head of Student Welfare, a Counsellor, a Student Support Adviser, a Disability Officer/Learning Support Adviser, a Learning Support Assistant, a Family Welfare Adviser, and Student Support staff, who will work alongside the Medical School Student Support Team.

      In addition to the Medical School Student Support Team, the University Students First staff can offer you information on who to contact with regard to finance (administration of hardship funds, budgeting advice) and international student issues (VISA renewal service, immigration advice). More importantly, the Student First staff can offer you wide-ranging advice and information on health promotion, learning support and on campus GP service. Students First is open from Monday to Friday 9:00-17:00. 

      Out of hours, in an emergency only, please contact University Security on 07860 834802 if you are based in University accommodation.  If you have a medical emergency please call 999 and if you are unsure what to do please call 111.

      Working Hours in Clinical Placements

      -  Students must be clinically supervised by a named CS but this can be delegated but the Consultant remains responsible. 

      -  Hours should not exceed that of an FY1 rota

      ·   Maximum average 48 hour working week 

      ·   Maximum 72 hours’ work in any seven day period 

      ·   Maximum shift length of 13 hours

      ·   Maximum of five consecutive long (>10 hours) shifts with a minimum of 48 hours rest after a run of five consecutive long shifts

      ·   Maximum of four consecutive night shifts with a minimum of 46 hours rest after a run of either three or four consecutive night shifts 

      ·   Maximum of four consecutive long, late evening shifts (>10 hours finishing after 11 pm) with a minimum of 48 hours rest after four consecutive long, late evening      shifts 

      ·   Not rostered to work more frequently than one weekend in two

    • Looking after you

      The Medical School is committed to providing you with an exceptional student experience.  We aim to provide you with academic and general guidance as well as individual learning support throughout your medical studies.  The MB ChB Student Support team, working alongside the University's Students First department,  will empower you to promote your own health and wellbeing as well as fostering professionalism and a sense of belonging in the student community.  We want your time at Medical School to be some of the most enjoyable and fulfilling years in your life, however, medicine is a demanding course, and all of you will, at some time, experience low points as well as high points during your time here.  Some of you may well run into difficulties that are more serious and we are here to help you resolve these problems.  We want to ensure that most problems can be, and indeed usually are resolved without lasting ill effect, when you actively address them with the appropriate support.

      Educational Support

      We have a dedicated learning support advisor who can assist you with applications for the Disabled Students Allowance, as well as discussing the types of reasonable adjustment that may have been recommended by the Occupational Health Service or Educational Learning Specialist. All assessments can be arranged through the Student Support Lead.

      The University has a Foundation English Department.  If you are experiencing difficulties in written or oral communication skills where English is not your first language please contact Jess Willmore in Student Support for some help. It is important to remember that good communication skills pivotal to the patient experience which is at the centre of the MB ChB programme. Individual tailored sessions may be offered to students whose needs have been identified by an academic tutor and is giving cause for concern.

    • Looking after you - Phase 2

      In Phase 2, as well as the continuation of University and Medical School Support Services, there will be additional services available to you through the hospital.

    • Positive Health & Wellbeing

      Dear Students

      I’m writing to tell you more about an important initiative which the University is launching to try to help us look after you all better, and boost your wellbeing. The University dogs looked after by Dee Bunker are another part of this initiative.

      The University of Buckingham is about to become Europe’s first “Positive University.” The world’s leading figure in Positive Psychology, Martin Seligman, flew in from the US for the launch of this new venture. He has helped TecMilenio University in Mexico to become the world’s first “Positive University”, and he is now helping us.

      The aim is to help you feel more engaged with learning and to develop a real sense of purpose in your lives while studying and beyond. We have come up with a ten point action plan to help enhance your wellbeing.  It includes maximising our understanding of your psychological needs, positive mentoring and a more widespread use of buddies for students.

      To allow us to assess the impact of the ten point plan, we will be asking you later if you want to opt ‘in’ to having your social media monitored anonymously.  Where this has been done for students in North and South America, it is entirely anonymous, entirely voluntary, and no member of staff would be able legally to see what any student had said.  Social media posts would thus be anonymised and run through algorithms to detect positive or negative emotions enabling us to determine, far more effectively than from questionnaires, whether student welfare is improving or not.  To stress, this is totally optional. Only students who opt in will have their posts monitored. The aim is to make the University an even better and happier place to work for both staff and students.

      Obviously, there is only so much that any university can do to improve the wellbeing and happiness of its students, and even the best systems are fallible.  But what I want you to know is that the University is passionate about looking after you as best as we possibly can, and giving you real knowledge about how to lead happier and more purposeful lives, not just while you are at Buckingham, but for long after you have left also.

      It has been good to see so many students at the various events I have held at Ondaajte Hall.

      With warm wishes



      • Anti-Bullying

        The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh has an ongoing commitment – through the #letsremoveit campaign - to working with healthcare professionals to challenge unacceptable behaviours and support change across the NHS. An informal alliance of medical and healthcare bodies has come together to share ideas and best practice as well as illustrate the variety of assistance available. Bullying not only affects those on the receiving end but has severe consequences for patient care.

        The new document produced by the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh can be found here 

        • Financial Assistance

          Royal Medical Benevolent Fund (RMBF) links to charitable trusts that assist medical students. These are all independent of the RMBF, so please contact the relevant organisation directly for more information via the website links and contacts provided. The list is by no means exhaustive, so we suggest that you do further research, and read their tips on applying to charitable trusts.


          Royal Medical Benevolent Fund:  

          If you are a medical student in exceptional and unexpected hardship due to ill health, disability or bereavement, you may be eligible for financial help. Click here for more details.

          • Code of Practice for Personal Tutors

            The Personal Tutor system is at the heart of the Medical School Pastoral network and is designed to support every one of you for the duration of your studies on the MB ChB programme. 

            You will be allocated a Personal Tutor on registration to the MB ChB programme from the School of Science and Medicine in Phase 1, and from clinical staff in Phase 2. Your Personal Tutor will:

            • Provide you with confidential guidance (unless there a fitness to practise or safety concern) if you encounter any difficulties during your studies;
            • Help you to reflect on your performance, set future goals and discuss your career aspirations;
            • Will guide and advise on some issues themselves but for others such as health related or other more complex problems they may suggest that you refer to other support mechanisms which would be more appropriate, through the Student Support Team;
            • Will operate independently (but not in ignorance) of the Concerns Process (see below) and will keep the Medical School informed of any mitigating circumstances that might be affecting your studies in any way. 
            • Careers support

              By choosing to study Medicine you have already made a career choice.  Many of you, however, will not know what speciality you would like to practise in, and for those of you who have decided, you may have not have considered whether you have the personal attributes suited to that role.  We do not want you to worry too much early in the course as we will provide you with careers advice to explore different options in medicine, including applying for posts and funding, as well as volunteering opportunities.  Careers Advisors can be accessed through the Oxford Deanery (a part of Health Education Thames Valley) through referral from the Student Support Team.  They can also offer individual performance improvement advice and guidance through pre arranged appointments.  Throughout your course you will have talks and workshops on career-related topics including career planning, CV writing and interview techniques and how to prepare yourself for a chosen speciality, and applying for Foundation positions within the National Health Service, if you plan to work in the UK.  We will also be engaging with senior clinicians from a wide variety of countries in order to provide comprehensive and current careers advice to all of you from overseas who will move to another country to practise.

              The Professional Support Unit in the Oxford Deanery (a part of Health Education Thames Valley) will support all of you during your undergraduate studies, providing both a confidential and voluntary service when needed.  The Deanery PSU will not only provide you with professional advice on careers choices, but also individual coaching and performance improvement meetings with regard to health, disability and your future specialisation.  To discuss a possible referral, please contact the Student Support Team directly who will advise you of the procedures on how to contact an appropriate member of the PSU

            • Professional Development

              Please keep an eye out for future opportunities to further develop your knowledge and skills.

              Professional Development Calendar
              Category Date/Time Event Details Link to event info

              Internship Nepal offers a unique range of services for medical students and provides opportunities to complete their abroad electives in Kathmandu, Nepal. The broad range of services we offer:- 

              • We work with some of the most prominent hospitals in Kathmandu such as Kathmandu Model Hospital, Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital and Kanti Children's Hospital. The placements are available throughout the year.
              • Students will assist the local doctors and nurses in performing surgeries.
              • The environment and workflow of hospitals in Nepal is comparatively tough. This prepares students for the future.
              • Students applying for the elective program will be placed in a home stay with an extremely hospitable host family in Kathmandu.
              • Basic accommodation, Food (3 meals a day)/ Wi-Fi/ Homestay will be provided at an extremely affordable cost.
              • We have students from all around the world living together, which creates a harmony of cultural exchange. The group of strangers becomes a family in no time.
              • Students will be involved in our hikes/trips/tours inside and outside Kathmandu regularly. 

              If students are interested in applying for this internship please see the website. Alternatively, students can email directly at 



            • Being a Student

              The University of Buckingham's Students' Union (SU) is a democratic organisation, working entirely for the benefit of all of our students.  The SU is here to support every one you studying at Buckingham and as a University of Buckingham student you are automatically a member of the Students' Union.   The SU is run by a team of nine elected students who oversee the key areas of the Union, supported by a dedicated staff team.  You must remember that student life is not just about studying; it's about making friends, gaining skills and experience, exploring a new town and getting the right support from the University. The SU is where you will find everything you need to complement your student life, through the various societies and sports clubs; enjoying our entertainments; going on our day trips or events; joining with like-minded students; exploring a diverse cultural hub; or getting academic, social or welfare advice and support.

              Students' Union

              Located on the Hunter Street Campus, in the lovely converted Old Tanlaw Mill, the SU is the main social and recreational centre of the University. Next to the refectory, you'll also find the bar, a hive of activity, day and evening, you'll come here to meet up with friends, make new ones, dance the night away, watch a Sky TV sporting fixture, or borrow cards, dominoes or even Scrabble from behind the bar! On the first floor we have a dance studio, the SU Executives and the SU Office staff offices, accompanied by a common room with pool and air hockey tables and a quiet room where you can relax. On the top floor there are gym facilities, alongside the Sports Department as well as a table tennis and a music room.

              The Students' Union has a range of facilities available and organises many activities A variety of societies have already been established by our unique mix of students, but the SU are always happy to help you form your own society, and the Medical School hope that you will wish to do so. The Students' Union Office organises events throughout the year, these include the Annual Buckingham Duck Race, the Graduation Ball and coach trips to places of interest during the vacations. The SU Office can also help with things such as sending faxes and document /assignment binding.

              The SU Committee

              The Union is the representative body for students; creating opportunities for all of you to contribute to changes and improvements in the University as well as share views on departmental and University issues through the Student Assembly. The Union supports and encourages everyone to get involved by voting, contributing to consultations or taking up one of the representative roles.

              The SU Executive Committee holds office for a period of 6 months and is elected via a secret ballot in the Spring and Autumn terms. The duty of the Committee is to uphold the Constitution of the Union, which includes the power to establish Clubs and Societies. In the past, SU Executive Committees have made donations to a variety of charities, including SOS Children's Villages; The Medical Foundation for the care of Victims of Torture and The Red Cross.

              NUS Extra card

              The Students Union is affiliated to the NUS (National Union of Students) and as a Buckingham student you can apply for an NUS Extra card which entitles you to discounts on travel, entertainment, shopping and eating out for example. Please note you may only apply for a card once you are registered on the MB ChB programme.

              Sports Department

              Starting university is an exciting experience. However, for some of you it may also be stressful as it can take time for you to adapt to a new environment, culture, lifestyle and academic studies. To help you positively manage these changes the Sports Department offer several activities to help promote active relaxation, increase your energy levels and enhance your mental wellbeing.

              Early morning yoga and tai chi chuan sessions will be offered from 7.45 am to 8.30am twice a week in the Tanlaw Mill Exercise Studio. These sessions are free, and have been specifically structured to meet the needs of hardworking students, being aimed at enhancing your physical and mental wellbeing. The sessions also offer a pleasant and uplifting way to begin your day and provide an opportunity for you to meet and get to know your fellow peers. Yoga and tai chi are widely known for their health giving benefits and once you are familiar with the basic movements you can incorporate them into your daily routine or use them at times of increased stress or anxiety. These sessions will also teach you life skills that you will hopefully find of benefit both in your personal and professional life for many years to come.

              Guided Relaxation sessions are also offered at Bridge Cottage Wellness Centre on an appointment basis. These sessions can be from 5 to 40 minutes in duration and offer you the opportunity to attend a session either by yourself or as part of a small group of up to four students. Being able to retreat to a tranquil space where you will be undisturbed can be reinvigorating and make you more mentally receptive for when you return to your lectures!

              The Sports Department also run fitness classes and sports activities, at lunch time and in the evening, subject to participation, including badminton, basketball, cheerleading, fencing, football, golf, netball, squash, Pilates, rugby, yoga and tai chi. You can also take membership to the Tanlaw Mill Fitness Centre which has an extensive range of resistance and cardiovascular stations. Should a sport not be offered at the University the Sports Department are usually able to put you in contact with a local club. If you would like further information please visit or contact the Sports Office directly via email:

              • Accommodation

                Renewing University accommodation

                Any student whose contract is ending in December 2015 will receive a letter from accommodation w/c 12th October asking if you want to renew your licence. As long as you follow the instructions in the letter and go to accommodation before the deadline you will be able to renew.

                St Andrews accommodation in Phase 2

                St Andrews are able to provide onsite student accommodation for your Mental Health placements in Phase 2 at approximately £20-£25 per night. Please speak to Claire Stocker or Jess Willmore if interested.

                • Study Skills and Revision tools

                  Please follow this link to access study skills support information.