You’re not alone: advice and support for medical students

Check your rota, contract, leave entitlement and appeals – just some of the ways the BMA will help you

Location: UK
Last reviewed: 11 December 2020
Woman taking notes at laptop

A new academic year can be stressful at the best of times let alone in the teeth of a pandemic.

Demanding academic work, strict deadlines and competitive clinical placements can all contribute to high levels of anxiety. And there is worrying evidence that COVID-19 is adding to these levels. More than 50% of students say their mental health has declined since the pandemic began, a survey for the National Union of Students found.

If you are feeling a little lost, stressed out or disheartened – you are not alone. In 2019, more than 1,000 medical students sought advice and support from the BMA.

Every student needs support at some point in their studies – if you need it, don’t wait to ask. Whatever your needs, you’ll find the right support from our personal services, whether that be in progressing your studies or looking after your mental health. 

The BMA offers the support you need to survive and thrive as a medical student:

  • Check your foundation year 1 contract for accuracy
  • Ask for assistance in resitting exams or appealing your results
  • Make sure your rota schedule is compliant around rest requirements
  • Clear information on your leave entitlements and pay changes.

And if you need further wellbeing advice the BMA offers wellbeing support services – this includes confidential 24/7 counselling and peer-support services, open to all doctors and medical students.

Don’t just take our word for it, hear some real-life examples from students we’ve helped recently.

For one student, dyslexia and difficult relationships with supervisors made the already challenging final year exams even more gruelling.

Over the years the BMA supported them by securing extra attempts for their final exams and compensation for an emotionally draining ordeal.

The duration of their study took a significant financial toll, but we were also able to help with our benevolent fund.

We’re delighted to say this member is now an F1 doctor.

Thanks for your help over the past few years. It really helped me feel I had a chance to get things off my chest and had someone on my side who would back me up.’

When a student member felt let down by the way their OSCE (objective structured clinical examination) teaching and exams were administered the BMA represented them through the appeal process.

The result – an increase in their OSCE score and a real sense of achievement.

She was a fantastic adviser, empathetic, approachable and knowledgeable. I feel very grateful for the time and effort she invested on my behalf.

Your path to becoming a doctor is long and filled with highs and lows but no matter where it takes you and what you may encounter along the way, the BMA is here to help.

If you’re a first-year medical student you get your first year free as a BMA member. See here for more details and the benefits you can take advantage of as a medical student