Topic outline

  • Introduction

    Student Support

    A medical course is a long and demanding journey that will test you to your limits. You will become a 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 and behaviour. 

    You also have the responsibility of looking after yourself, and we do not expect you to do this unaided. UBMS Student Support are here to help you through any difficulties you may encounter in your time with us.

    • Essential contacts

    • Welcomed and Valued

      The GMC advocates inclusion of disabled learners in the Medical profession and strives to see that they are welcomed and valued by the profession.  
      Please see their dedicated webpage: 'Welcomed and Valued' for more information.

      The Medical School strives to work towards the GMC guidance and recommendations of meeting our duty to all our students, including making the course as inclusive and welcoming as possible. 

      Please speak with the team if you have a disability that is affecting your studies and would like to find out about support available.

      • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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 


        • 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.