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Scotland Deanery

Home of medical and dental excellence

Trainee information

Professional support

As a trainee doctor or dentist, you may experience difficulties which affect your work and/or training. Whether you have health problems, family difficulties, workplace issues, doubts about career choice or lack of examination success you should not think you are alone.   

If you are experiencing any issues like these, the Deanery can provide you with help, guidance and support. 

You can contact the Professional Support Unit by email PSU@nes.scot.nhs.uk

To learn more about issues that can affect training please click on the links below:

First Points of Contact 

  • If you are a trainee in Scotland you will have an educational supervisor who you can talk to about any issues you might have. They will help you and can point you in the right direction of any further source of advice or support that you might need 
  • Sometimes the issues that you have might be ones that you feel uncomfortable talking to your educational supervisor about. If this is the case, you will also have a training or foundation programme director (FPD or TPD) who would be happy to meet with you. 
  • If you would be more comfortable speaking to someone who does not have a direct role in your training programme you can also ask to speak to your local Associate Postgraduate Dean (APGD) for Professional Support. They provide an additional layer of individual guidance and support, beyond that of your training programme director.  The APGDs for Professional Support are senior clinicians with a special interest in helping trainees who need support.  They will be happy to talk to you in confidence although they will need to share any issues which raise concern about patient safety. They also provide support to Training Programme Directors and Directors of Medical Education in assessing the most appropriate response to any concerns about a doctor in training.   


Deanery Region 

APGD (Professional Support) 



Fiona Drimmie 



Katherine Targett



Alastair Leckie 



Elizabeth Murphy



Greg Jones






  • Also, please remember that if you are employed by a health board they will have policies you can refer to in relation to your employment.  Please contact your local board HR team for further information. 

Professional Support Unit (Medicine)

Although your main source of support for most issues will  be from your local team, on occasions, where significant issues are occurring which are highly likely to threaten your progress in training or where significant patient safety issues are raised it might be suggested that you would benefit from help from the Professional Support Unit, also referred to as the PSU. This is likely to be suggested is the  level of support you need is thought to be what is called "level 3 support".   

The PSU is not a specific place or hospital but is a network of doctors appointed by NHS Education Scotland who work together to help support trainees. 

Support levels 1-2 are the lower level support needs usually managed locally as described above (for further information on what these levels are please see PSU Operational Framework. 

Referrals to the PSU can be made on your behalf by your training programme director, or another member of the local deanery team.  

Can a trainee self refer:

Yes. Please email PSU@nes.scot.nhs.uk

Following referral to the PSU, you will be assigned a Trainee Support Coach who will ensure that you receive appropriate support throughout the process. A Trainee Support Coach is a senior clinician who is appropriately trained and supported to assist trainees with issues impacting their training. They will provide face to face support if needed, and ensure consistency of approach across the deanery and equity of access to available resources for support. 

For more information about how the PSU works, please refer to the PSU Operational Framework.

External resources and support


This page was last updated on: 01.10.2021 at 14.25