Counselling and peer support for doctors and medical students

Confidential 24/7 counselling and peer support services open to all doctors and medical students (regardless of BMA membership), plus their partners and dependents, on 0330 123 1245. There is always someone you can talk to.

Location: UK
Audience: All doctors
Updated: Monday 12 October 2020
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Your wellbeing during COVID-19

During this time, it is vitally important that you look after your own mental and physical health while you are looking after others.

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Read our wellbeing guidance


About our wellbeing services

Our wellbeing support services are open to all doctors and medical students (regardless of BMA membership), also their partners and dependents aged 16-24. They’re confidential and free of charge.

Please note that these are not emergency services. Should you require urgent assistance, we recommend you contact your GP or visit your local A&E department.


When to use the counselling service

The counsellors are there to help you deal with a variety of issues. By seeking constructive help you may identify ways of addressing the root causes of your concerns and develop strategies to reduce the impact of the consequences.

There are two ways to contact the counselling service:

Contact us by phone

Access counselling (24 hours a day, seven days a week) on 0330 123 1245.

Contact us online

To access our counselling service by live chat or email, visit this online portal.

You can then request support via the contact form or the live chat button, stating 'BMA' as your organisation/company.

What happens next

Although you must give your details for the reasons specified below, the counselling service is confidential. All our counsellors are members of the BACP and are bound by strict codes of confidentiality.

The counsellor will ask you for your:

  • Name and contact details: This information is requested for security purposes, to enable the service to correctly identify you if any further contact be made with the service. This also ensures that consistent support is provided.
  • Date of birth: The service is only available to those above the age of 16 so requesting your date of birth enables the counsellor to confirm you meet this requirement.
  • Post code and organisation: Address details are requested in case you present as an immediate risk and the counsellor is required to alert the emergency services.

How the service works

You may access up to six sessions with a counsellor.

If you have already spoken to a counsellor, you can request to speak to that person again if you wish.

As we are a telephone-based service, we do not offer face-to-face meetings, although we do offer video calls.


It was a life-saver for me. I know it's not an 'emergency service' but it was a crisis to me. And I was so grateful it is 24/7.

When to use the peer support service

Our service covers a variety of issues, but most commonly doctors and medical students contact us if they are dealing with difficult working relationships or work pressures.

This service offers you the choice of speaking in confidence to another doctor. It's confidential peer support with an emotional focus.

Our peer support doctors can provide a reflective space, working with you to gain insight into your problems.

Please note that this is not an emergency service. Should you require urgent assistance, we recommend you contact your GP or visit your local A&E department.

How to contact the service

Call 0330 123 1245 and ask to speak to a doctor.

You will be asked to provide your name, contact number, address, date of birth and job role.

You will then be given the details of one of our peer supporters, who is experienced in supporting colleagues.

We recommend you text the doctor on the number you’ve been given to say you are contacting them for peer support and would like to arrange a time to speak.

You can then arrange ongoing conversations at mutually convenient times.

How it works

Often, one call with a peer support doctor may be enough for you to discuss issues. However, our peer support doctor will talk to you about whether further phone calls would be helpful.

The length of a call depends on your needs.

Although our doctors do not provide diagnoses or treatment, they can (if appropriate) signpost you to other sources of support.


She understood because she has been there, in a way that people outside medicine could not comprehend.

Further information

For further information about our services, please call 020 7383 6110 or email [email protected]


Feedback to us

We’re continually evaluating the quality of the services we provide.

Please submit your feedback on the service you received. It should only take a couple minutes.

Please note: the survey is anonymous and kept confidential. The information will be used for quality improvement only.

Submit feedback


Privacy notice

Our peer support service only collects data and personal information from you. Categories of data collected will include name, telephone number, email address, ethnicity, specialty, location of work, age, gender. This data will be held for up to 20 years to ensure quality and consistency of service and in line with our legal requirements.

We do not disclose this information to any third parties unless legally obliged to.

In those rare cases where a doctor's health problem appears to pose a risk to their patients, the peer support doctor has a responsibility to prevent harm.

The peer support doctor will try to encourage the doctor to obtain appropriate help to change whatever presents a risk to patients. Failure on the doctor's part to comply will mean that the peer support doctor will have to take advice on how to act and this may be by contacting the GMC. However, we anticipate these occasions will be very rare and will only ever be undertaken as a means of last resort.

For further details see the BMA's privacy policy.

Our counselling service is provided in partnership with Health Assured. Please visit the Health Assured website for privacy policy and GDPR compliance statement.

Your interactions with the counselling and peer support services will not be linked to any BMA membership records.