Support Group

Professional Support and Wellbeing Service (PSWS)

What is PSWS?

The Professional Support and Wellbeing Service is dedicated to helping doctors, dentists and pharmacists across the Thames Valley fulfil their career potential. They are a group of case managers and coaches who put trainee support and wellbeing at the heart of what they do.  

The PSW have just expanded the wealth of services they offer to include enhanced career development and exam support as well as coaching for wellbeing. 

More information:


Career Support

Personal career guidance to help trainees develop their career or discuss career dilemmas. The services include specialist support for those with health or disability problems.


Performance and exam support

For example trainees needing some support with confidence, communication skills, stress

There is also a specialist exam support service with new specialist dyslexia support 


Coaching/ mentoring

Individualised specialist input for careers, exams and mental health concerns

How to Refer to the PSWS

One of the PSWS team will meet you if you’re wondering about your career direction, if you’ve hit a rough patch, or need help preparing for the next stage. Our support is free to doctors, dentists and pharmacists in training posts or programmes in the Thames Valley Postgraduate Medical and Dental Education (PGMDE – Oxford Deanery) area. Standard fees apply to those not in PGMDE training.

Referral forms can be found here or email or call 01865932088. The inbox is monitored daily by an experienced triage coaching lead –response time within 5 working days. 

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Map of Services


Common PSWS referrals

- Development of self-confidence. 

- Support in dealing with the complexity and uncertainty of medicine.

- Organisational skills development needed to support completion of workplace-based assessments and/or clinical workload.

- Supporting trainees working towards finding balance in their life.

- Developing insight into working with colleagues and teams.

- Support in recognising the impact of cultural and communication differences. 

- Development of learning skills and exam skills, both written and oral. 

- Managing exam anxiety, particularly following exam failure(s).

- Support during challenging periods of training following specific incidents, personal or professional.



Mental Health 

Coaching requires that the coachee is ready to make decisions and follow through on their plans towards the goals set. This is often not the case for those currently suffering from stress, depression or anxiety and so mental health support should be sought first. A number of mental health support services are linked on our formal support page. Coaching is often useful for those looking to return to work after a period of ill health, so it is common for a PSWS referral to be made as the individual returns to work.


The PSU helped me with confidence, and I am now more aware of what action I need to be taking as a new registrar in my specialty to achieve a better work:life balance.”


“The PSU exceeded my expectations and helped me to draw a line under a challenging year.”

Image by Ashkan Forouzani

“It was a very professional service and unlike any other guidance I have received throughout my career. It should be widely available…I am sure there are many others who could benefit.”

For Educators

The PSWS provides personal coaching/mentoring for doctors or dentists who self-refer or are referred. The PSWS provides guidance and workshops to help educators manage performance issues in trainees, and also collaborates with trainers to provide personal coaching/mentoring for individual trainees that need additional support to improve their performance.

The performance support service is also available to employing Trusts and Responsible Officers in the Thames Valley who can engage one of our coach/mentors to help doctors and dentists not in PGMDE training posts or programmes get back on track following local investigation, NCAS or GMC assessment. The PSWS is also available as a source of information and advice to employers and Responsible Officers in the Thames Valley.


Meet The Team

The PSWS consists of Dr Haido Vlachos (Associate Dean for Professional Support; and Director of the PSWS), Dr Richard Stevens (Associate Director of the PSWS), and a team of PSWS coaches and mentors, assisted by our support manager.

The PSWS coach/mentors include senior Thames Valley consultants and GPs with extensive educational experience who have been trained to:

  • provide individual support for medical and dental careers

  • advise and support educators and employers, including responsible officers, in addressing doctor’s and dentist’s performance

  • facilitate workshops on:

    • career management

    • supporting doctors and dentists with performance improvement needs

More details of the coaches on the PSWS website 

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Dr Haido Vlachos

Outgoing Associate Dean for Professional Support HETV and Director of the PSWS



Associate Director and Senior Coach of the PSWS

Support Group

Our team of coaches/ case managers 

Speed Coaching from PSWS

Many people are not sure what coaching involves and these 10 minute speech coaching sessions give you the opportunity to find out!

 We believe that coaching can be of benefit to all professionals and hope that these taster sessions may encourage people to use and benefit from the service. 

How would a coaching session run?

We have a team of coaches that can set up coaching sessions for educators and medical, dental and pharmacists in training. We want the session format to suit you and your team and can work with you to arrange this, potential options include:

  • A speed coaching session as part of a regional teaching session. We could do a brief introduction to coaching, then all participants would have the chance to try coaching for themselves

  • At an educator training day, to familiarise all educators what coaching involves to help them signpost trainees to coaching

  • At leadership training days, we could offer specific leadership focused speed coaching

  • At induction, we could offer drop-in speed coaching during the day

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A unique opportunity to try out coaching delivered by a team of qualified and experienced coaches

 Get in touch to see how we can facilitate a session for you and your team!


Young Businesswomen

1:1 Coaching

  • Each delegate has a one-to-one coaching session of 10-15 mins max

  • Brief introductions and contracting (confidentiality, clarification re role of coach / coachee, etc.)

  • Coachee presents the focus for the coaching conversation (a challenge, dilemma, aspiration, etc.)

  • Coach supports coachee in gaining clarity

  • Coachee summarises where they are up to in their thinking, what has struck them /resonated with them the most etc.

  • Coach encourages coachee to identify next steps / actions they would like to take

  • Coachee records 2-3 three key points they wish to remember / act on

Virtual Team Meeting

Current Zoom Format

  • Example:

  • 30 mins - Whole group: Introduction to coaching

  • 60 mins (depending on the size of the group) - Speed coaching session (10-15 mins max) with PSWS coaches in Breakout Rooms

  • 30 mins - Whole group back into Main Room: coach led reflection time, concluding remarks and feedback