Frequently Asked Questions

How do I contact Student Support?

Many queries or simple requests can be managed by email and this is often a good way of getting a rapid reply from the team.  You can e-mail us at medicine.support@keele.ac.uk

If you want to talk to us but do not have the time/are too far away to come in person, a telephone appointment is often a solution.  You can telephone us on 01782 734674 for advice, to make an appointment or update us on an ongoing problem.  If we cannot speak to you immediately we will arrange a telephone appointment.  Please note, if the phone is not answered during the day, it is often because we are seeing another student and we do not take calls whilst doing this.

If you do want a personal appointment, these are the arrangements for each site:

At Keele, please ring Jane Leech or Beth Barlow on 01782 734674 or email medicine.support@keele.ac.uk and an appointment can be arranged with Mrs Mitchell or Mrs Allen.

For appointments at UHNM, again please ring Mrs Leech or Ms Barlow or email medicine.support@keele.ac.uk and an appointment can be arranged with Mr Morgan.  Please note these are very restricted in time.  Students based at UHNM may find it more convenient to have an appointment at Keele on their academic spine days.

For Shrewsbury and/or Shropshire attachments, appointments are usually made through contacting Mrs Wendy Jenkinson.  You can email wendy.jenkinson@sath.nhs.uk or telephone 01743 492514 and she will arrange an appointment with Dr Jones-Perrott.

Can I choose who I see at Student Support?

Yes, of course. There are some limitations as tutors may only work on one site and on certain days. Also, you may be advised that a certain tutor is most likely to help with your problem but the choice is still yours. If you need an urgent appointment you may need to telephone or attend Keele as the service has a tutor available there virtually every day. The office usually has at least one member of staff available every working day including any University holidays (other than the Christmas break).

Please remember that, if for any reason, you wish to seek support out of the School service then the central Keele services are available to you. Their details are available on the main Keele website.

When are appointments with Student Support available?

It should be possible to see a tutor within a day or so but you may have to wait if you wish to see a certain tutor. If you are very distressed/have an urgent issue we will try to see you immediately but you may need to wait a short time until someone is free.

What services might Student Support refer me to?

The Student Support service may suggest a wide number of services that will be able to offer further help, depending on your personal issues. Services frequently recommended by the Student Support service include general practitioners, occupational health, counselling, learning support and ASK (Advice & Support at Keele). Remember that often these services are confidential so we may not know if you have used them. However, the recommendation is made as it is believed that you will benefit from the advice or help they can offer.

Does everything discussed at a Student Support meeting have to go on record?

Not everything. If you discuss something particularly personal, you might ask the tutor not to make a specific note. File notes are kept to help tutors if you reattend and can be very helpful if you need to present mitigating circumstances at a Committee such as Progress or Health and Conduct. You will be asked to agree and sign the notes at the end of the interview so that you know exactly what is recorded on them before you leave the room. The notes are kept in a secure location away from your main file.

Who has access to my Student Support records?

Mainly the Student Support team although other members of the School may view them but strictly on a “need to know” basis. By signing the notes, you agree that people may have access to these notes in certain circumstances. However, usually no one will see them other than the tutors you see in the service and the administrator who records them.

Why is a 'witness' always present, can't I just see the tutor privately?

The belief of the School of Medicine is that one-to-one interviews between students and staff may give rise, in some rare circumstances, to difficulties. It can also be uncomfortable if you are feeling particularly vulnerable. Therefore it is the policy of the School that all interviews should be carried out with a third person present, who is a member of the University and who will take notes. In practice, most students find that they forget the second person is in the room.

Can Student Support help me with presenting a case for mitigating circumstances to Progress Committee?

Absolutely. This is one of our core roles. Should you need to go to a Progress or Health and Conduct Committee, you will be advised to see us. The tutor you see can then explain how the Committee works and what to expect whilst you are being seen by the Committee. They will help you with your letter of mitigation and advise you if you need supporting documents. One of the team will sit with you in the room if you wish and act as your emotional support when your case is discussed. Any member of Student Support present DOES NOT participate in the final decision of the Committee. Please remember that if you have not told us of a circumstance, we cannot help you present that to the Committee. Also, it is the Committee that makes the decision as to whether your mitigation is sufficient - not us! Whatever the outcome for you, we will try and offer any help you need afterwards.

When might it be necessary for Student Support to break confidentiality?

This is rare. However, we would do so if we felt that you, your colleagues or the public might be at risk, either now or in the future. We would always encourage you to agree to us passing on information but if we did so against your will, we would tell you that we were doing this along with our reasons. Your confidentiality is of utmost importance but not as important as your safety and that of our patients. All doctors must be absolutely honest and you cannot hide anything about yourself that might put patients at risk.
When you sign your meeting notes, you agree to the information being shared as is necessary. If there are specific persons that you do not want to know, please discuss this further with the tutor.

I have literacy problems but have never been formally assessed for dyslexia, should I make an appointment with Student Support?

Yes, this is a sensible idea. It might just be your learning and study skills and so learning support may be able to help. A dyslexia assessment might be recommended by them if you continue to have problems.

Will what I discuss with Student Support be discussed with other members of staff?

Generally, no. Often you will want us to discuss issues with certain staff to ensure you get the support you need, or we may be forced to break your confidentiality (as above). However, we NEVER discuss cases with staff at random. The Student Support team will discuss your case between themselves if more than one tutor is involved in your care.

If I get awarded extra time in exams will this go on my record/count against me in the future?

The reason for extra time in exams is that you are considered to have a disability that requires that allowances are made for your difficulty with written work. Your disability will be recorded on your file and you must disclose this to your employers in the future. If you hide a disability and make a mistake because of that disability, then you are demonstrating lack of probity, which is a serious issue and might lead to an investigation by the General Medical Council.

Is Student Support only available during term time?

No, with the exception of weekends and Bank Holidays, there will always be someone around to answer your queries. We see students frequently in the holiday periods.

Can Student Support help me with financial problems?

The service can guide you to possible sources of financial help but we have no funding or budget of our own.

I have a health problem that is affecting my studies. If I go to Student Support will they tell me that I can't continue with the course?

Student Support NEVER make a decision about a student’s future. They will help a student with a health problem as much as possible. However, if the problem is severe and unlikely to improve, or your studies are seriously affected, the case may be referred either by Student Support or other senior staff to the Health and Conduct Committee for their further consideration. You may also be referred to Occupational Health. Occasionally students do take a year out on health grounds. Most students would rather not do this but it is sometimes unavoidable. If this occurs the absence and return is managed by the Health and Conduct Committee with guidance from your healthcare advisors and Occupational Health.

If Student Support doesn't feel that it can offer me any support, are there any other options?

Within the University, you have access to Student Support and Development Services and to ASK (Advice & Support at Keele).

EMERGENCY NUMBERS:
NHS DIRECT 0845 46 47
URGENT CARE 01782 719100
SAMARITANS 0845 909090
NIGHTLINE 01782 733999