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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.  

In December 2020, the PSWS expanded the wealth of services they offer to include enhanced career development and exam support as well as coaching for wellbeing. 


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 & 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, mental health concerns & wellbeing

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. 

Image by Agnieszka M

PSWS offer

TIF Wellbeing and PSWS plan - DAB.png

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.

“I would strongly recommend PSWS to a colleague or friend. Having help from PSWS was life changing. It meant that I was able to complete my training as my normal enthusiastic happy self and can now look forward to going to work and to continuing to improve and learn as a GP in the years ahead.”

“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.”

“I cannot express enough how valuable the sessions with my coach were. Not only was I successful in my interview but I have learnt so much that I can take forward now, and regained positivity. Thank you!”

My coach gave me a safe, supportive, non-judgmental space to talk about my career. She asked insightful questions and gave me helpful exercises to do in-between sessions; she also was flexible and fit around what I needed.”

“I wish I had self referred earlier in my career but was under the impression it was for trainees in trouble and didn't identify as that. I didn't realise that actually I could do better with their support.”

 "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.”

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 Garyfallia Fountoulaki (Associate Dean for Professional Support; and Director of the PSWS),    Jenny Gavriel (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 


Dr Garyfallia 

Associate Dean for Professional Support HEE-TV &

Director of the PSWS



Associate Director and Senior Coach of the PSWS

Support Group

Our team of coaches/ case managers 


Workshops programme

Monthly workshop programme about professional and career development

E.g. Imposter Syndrome, 
preparing viva exams, 
Leadership for Foundation and Core trainees,
Preparing for post-CCT interviews

Yoga & pilates

Fully funded virtual 1-hoursYoga and Pilates classes in 4 weeks sets:


Monday 18.30  Hatha Yoga

Thursday 18.00  Pilates


Virtual drop in sessions on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month at 7.30pm

The sessions include simple guided mindfulness practices aimed at ways of finding focus and anchor and a sense of well-being in the midst of a busy or stressful life.

Survive & Thrive Wellbeing Programme

A whole day group programme 

for regional training days.Deanery Funded & nationally recognized


AM – Delivered by PSWS staff working on self-awareness, exploring vulnerability & strength.

PM - Oxford Cognitive Therapy Centre psychologists deliver an experiential session

We promote other activities - Cafe Coaching & Language of Leadership.

 Go to PSWS website or get in touch to see how we can facilitate a session for you and your team!


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