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Health, Welfare and Professionalism

Patient safety is of primary importance and of equal importance is the support for, and the health of, our students during an intensive course in challenging and novel clinical environments. Although medical students and medical schools are not regulated by the General Medical Council (GMC), it along with the Medical Schools' Council (MSC) issue Guidance that sets out the standards expected of medical students in relation to their professional behaviour both inside and outside medical school. The Guidance also outlines fitness to practise (FtP) procedures that each medical school is responsible for establishing.

WMS is committed to providing reasonable adjustments to students with current or long-term health conditions or disabilities. These are evidence based, informed by professional expertise and are considered in accordance with academic or other professional standards. Reasonable adjustments in relation to timed written non-clinical exams are well understood but students do not necessarily know where else in the course they might need support and reasonable adjustments, in particular clinical placements. Therefore, aside from the expectations of the GMC and MSC Guidance regarding health, the School needs to know the relevant medical information/diagnoses of students with current or long-term health conditions, or disabilities (hence the Health and Conduct Survey) so that support and reasonable adjustments can be anticipated for forthcoming phases of the course.

As described in the GMC/MSC Guidance, adverse physical or mental health alone is not usually sufficient to conclude impairment. It is a student’s failure to demonstrate insight, seek medical advice and comply with treatment that may call into question their fitness to practise. This might include not providing medical information when requested to enable appropriate support to be identified, and/or, if there were related professional or behavioural issues.

The GMC/MSC Guidance case study page gives examples of the type of issues that can happen while at medical school.

WMS Health, Welfare and Professionalism Group

The WMS Health, Welfare and Professionalism (HWP) Group acts as the low-level professionalism committee described in the GMC/MSC Guidance and is recognized as best practice in all medical schools. Its role is to identify and review in the first instance (and continue to review as required) all students’ HWP issues with the aim of providing support and reasonable adjustments to help prevent any issues becoming more serious and a greater cause for difficulty. With any new referral, any previously closed or ongoing separate referrals will also be reviewed and might be taken into account. Depending on the circumstances, the Group also considers whether the threshold of student fitness to practise might have been reached and should this be the case, the matter will be referred to the WMS FtP Committee. The Group normally meets on the third Tuesday of every month but ad hoc meetings can be held if required and the membership is:

  • Professor Colin Macdougall, Head of Medical Education;
  • Dr Kate Owen, Director of Medical Studies;
  • Professor Olanrewaju Sorinola, Phase II Lead;
  • Neil Stockton, Head of Governance and Quality (Chair);
  • Despina Weber or Kathryn Fisher, Head of Disability Services (job share), Wellbeing Support Services;
  • Dr Claire Blackburn, Chair of the Course Progress Group;
  • Rebecca Mole, Head of Professional Standards;
  • Dr Shirley Rigby, Senior Tutor;
  • Dr Phil Goss, Centre for Lifelong Learning, Independent Member;
  • Sarah Knight, Dean’s Office (Note taker).

The University’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy is adhered to throughout and you can expect to be treated fairly and with great consideration.

Sexual Misconduct - The University Policy is that all cases of sexual misconduct must be dealt with through Regulation 23 (Student Discipline) i.e. Report and Support. If you have been affected by sexual misconduct, please refer to the Sexual Misconduct Policy and Procedures.

If you have an HWP issue, it is strongly recommended that you self-refer using the HWP Self-referral form so that support can be identified. Please don’t wait to see if an issue resolves itself or try to resolve it on your own. When you have decided to self-refer, please discuss this with either your personal tutor, clinical personal tutor, the Senior Tutor or your Deputy Senior Tutor. If your issue is low-level then you should refer to the HWP Group but if you consider that the threshold of student fitness to practise may have been reached, then you should self-refer to the WMS FtP Committee.

If relevant, please include any additional documents with your self-referral, for example, a doctor’s note or reflection. If you are not able to provide these at the time of submission, please do so as soon as possible afterwards. Your self-referral will normally be reviewed at the next scheduled meeting of the Group and you will receive a written outcome. Please note that you may be asked for clarification or further information.

Both the HWP Group and the WMS FtP Committee consider self-referral as demonstrating insight and understanding of your professional responsibilities.

WMS FtP Committee

An HWP issue is not an FtP concern unless and until the matter has been referred to the WMS FtP Committee and they determine that the threshold of student FtP has been reached.

This Committee and is governed by Regulation 34 Determination of Fitness to Practise and normally meets four times a year with ad hoc meetings if required. The meeting dates for 2020/21 are:

  • 1 December 2020;
  • 2 March 2021;
  • 1 June 2021;
  • 7 September 2021.
How does it all work?

While the Operational Procedures describe how the HWP Group and the WMS FtP Committee work, you may find it useful to read the explanation of the relationship between HWP and FtP to provide context and perspective.

Whom can I talk to?

If you have any questions or need advice please contact any of the following:

  • The Senior Tutor, Shirley Rigby, S dot Rigby at warwick dot ac dot uk; External: 024 765 50206; Internal: 50206.
  • Your Deputy Senior Tutor:
    • 2020 Cohort: Jan Cooper, Janet dot Cooper dot 1 at warwick dot ac dot uk External: 024 765 73111; Internal: 73111.
    • 2019 Cohort: Judy Purkis, Judith dot Purkis at warwick dot ac dot uk External 024 765 51145; Internal: 51145.
    • 2018 Cohort: Zaki Gaballa, Zaki dot Gaballa at warwick dot ac dot uk
    • 2017 Cohort: Anne-Marie Chilton, A dot Chilton dot 1 at warwick dot ac dot uk; External: 024 765 73808; Internal: 73808.
  • Your personal tutor or clinical personal tutor;
  • Head of Governance and Quality, Neil Stockton, N.Stockton@warwick.ac.uk; External: 024 765 75770; Internal: 75770 (Chair of the HWP Group and Secretary to the WMS FtP Committee);
  • HWP resource email account: Healthandconduct at warwick dot ac dot uk.