Professional Advisory Group


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Consultant Gastroenterologist, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust


Dr Ian Barrison

Consultant Gastroenterologist, Hemel Hempstead Hospital

Dr Barry Rathbone

Consultant Gastroenterologist, Leicester Royal Infirmary

Professor Terry Wardle

Consultant Gastroenterologist, Countess of Chester Hospital

Dr Rakesh Patel

Acute Hospital Specialist, University Hospital Leicester


What is the Pastoral Group?

The Pastoral Care Group was set up in 2009 with the explicit wish of supporting members for non clinical issues.  In particular, the group would like to act in areas which neither a Medical Defence Union nor indeed the British Medical Association may be able to help.  This pastoral care group may help to deal with areas of personal wellbeing, personal development, institutional or academic issues and perhaps interpersonal issues.

The group will have a website with anonymous question and answer page where questions can be logged and one of the Pastoral Care Group will respond.  If required the Pastoral Care Group will be happy to meet with individuals, face to face. Members can select a member of the Pastoral Care Group or indeed some other individual to be approached on their behalf if they would wish mentoring to deal with a specific issue.

The Pastoral Care Group will also pull together documents for self development and wellbeing and produce an information resource for members.

Allocation of a pastoral care adviser

We believe at a minimum, all members of the BSG should be allocated at least one mentor, whether this is within their institution or without.  These mentors should have the responsibility for academic progress, clinical progress and development of the BSG members.  For members who work across two or more institutions they should ideally have a mentor in each institution.  In addition anybody who doesn’t have a mentor or feels the need for an additional mentor the Pastoral Care Group would be the ideal source.

Advisor and Mentor Meeting

Face to face mentorship meetings ideally should be taking place at least once a year and these can occur either in the home institution of the mentee the  BSG in London or perhaps in the Mentor’s institution.  Less formal one to one meetings may also take place throughout the clinical year.  Mentors will allocate time during regular office hours when they are available to meet their Mentees.

Access to information

Mentors will not have access to any information regarding the Mentee and any information supplied will be treated with the utmost confidentiality.  In addition no formal notes will be made of the discussions of the meeting other than that the meeting took place.


Mentors could be expected to give references for Mentees if required.

Provision of Pastoral Advice

It is important that all mentors should recognise the limits of their competence as providing pastoral care support.  Mentors should be aware as well as Mentees, of the services which are the British Medical Association which have several lines of support through their trade union representatives vis a vis the 24 hour stress of doctors helpline and furthermore there is support from the medical defence unions.  In addition many Trusts should provide some sort of mentorship but it is not clear how impartial many of these are.


Mentors should ensure that there is a rapid response to urgent cases, certainly within 7 working days and for less urgent cases within a month.  For more urgent matters mentees would be encouraged to contact the British Medical Association 24 hour helpline.  It should be strongly discouraged that too much support is done by email as these are, even if deleted, a permanent record of confidential matters.

We would strongly encourage any mentors to have vacation email messages stating when they are away so that they can or cannot be contacted.


There are a few very rare circumstances when a mentor should break confidentiality, even when they are unable to get their mentee’s explicit permission to do so. First this would be where the mentor believes they would be liable to civil or criminal court proceedings if the information was not disclosed. Second if it was believed that non disclosure would place the mentor or others in serious danger.  In these situations mentors should always attempt to contact the mentee first to obtain their permission to pass on information or talk to the mentee about passing on the information themselves. If this is not possible the mentor may pass on the information but it is in only in exceptionally rare and limited circumstances. The most usual case for disclosure is when a student is at risk of suicide or appears to have lost the ability to act rationally in taking care of themselves or other.  Less common reasons might be if the mentor learns about possible or planned individual violence, intended acts of terrorism, ongoing acts of sexual abuse or other clear possibility of serious harm.  When the mentee has personal or medical documentation they should always be regarded as confidential and kept in a secure file if kept at all.  In fact mentors are strongly discouraged form keeping notes as mentioned.  Their sources of information, contact detail, welfare advice service provides advice on emigration law, student finance, welfare rights and entitlement, dealing with debt, hardship funds, counselling including relationship problems, difficult decisions, family problems, self esteem, exam and study leave, anxiety.   There is a mental health coordinator and occupational therapist at every institution.  There is a disability and dyslexia service available. There language and learning facilities at most institutions there are also religious and chaplaincy facilities at most institutions.

PAG Terms of Reference [ 86.1 Kb ]


Useful Information

The Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association (HCSA)

Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS)

The Royal College of Psychiatrists