About DSN

DSN and external engagement

The Doctors' Support Network is pleased to be involved in doctors' health related consultations with other organisations.  We have recently contributed to the GMC 'Fitness to Practice' consultation and the BMA 'Listening and Learning' event.  

If you wish to invite DSN to take part in a doctors' health related consultation, please contact the Chair via the form below.


The DSN 2016-17 committee

DSN is run by an annually elected committee of volunteer members including a chair, up to two vice chairs, a treasurer and two secretaries to cover membership and general secretarial duties.

Chair
Dr Angelika Luehrs, MBBS, MD, MRCPsych  
I joined the DSN Committee in 2005. Since then I have been involved with the organisation in a variety of ways for example I have represented DSN in external bodies and working groups such as the Practitioner Health Programme. I was elected Vice Chair in 2007, which was a position I held until being elected Chair in 2012. DSN has continued to thrive despite having had a difficult time over the last two years thanks to a new and very enthusiastic committee. 

DSN continues to develop its core functions of providing support and information and campaigning for doctors with mental health problems. This will include one of the most exciting projects in form of the Anti-stigma campaign &me. Please see further details on the website. DSN will also for the first time present at a conference abroad as we have been invited to join a talk with a German counterpart at the World Psychiatric Association in October 2017. 

We are always keen to learn from members so please do get in touch if you have any ideas/suggestions or if you would be interested in joining DSN.

Doctors' Support Network 2016 Angelika Luehrs mental health

Email DSN chair


Vice chair
​Dr Louise Freeman, MB CHB, FRCEM, FRCS (A&E) Ed (1996), DA
 I have been a member of the DSN since 2011, and was elected as Vice Chair in 2012. I liaise with the UK Association for Physician Health attending their annual meetings, and also the National Survivor User Network (NSUN). I have also edited the DSN newsletter. I co-ordinate the North East England DSN group. I initiated the 2014 DSN stigma survey and have attended many meetings and conferences representing DSN.  

Treasurer 
Dr Wendy Reid 
Wendy is a trainee in anaesthetics and a mummy to two wonderful girls.
Doctors' Support Network 2016 Dr Wendy Reid mental health

Membership secretary
Dr Mahomed Saleh
Having only recently joined the Doctors' Support Network I hope that I will be able to build on the great work done so far and help spread the work and message of DSN to a wider audience.

About Me
Following a degree in Neuroscience at the University of Nottingham, I graduated from the four year fast track course at the University of Warwick in 2008. My current medical interests include medical education and medicine in the digital age.
Email DSN membership secretary

Committee members

Dr Howard Allmark 
I have been attending meetings of the Doctors' Support Network since about 2006 and in 2008 was elected to be the DSN's treasurer. I am currently arranging a transfer of my treasurer role to Wendy.

About me: I started to suffer from depression as a student and was diagnosed with Bipolar Affective Disorder in 1978. I was able to continue working in pathology and public health medicine and became a consultant in in public health in 1989. I was obliged to retire due to ill health in 1993. Since that time, I have worked part time for Huddersfield and Leeds Universities and for the Care Quality Commission in roles supporting people, including doctors, with mental health issues.

My own health has improved very greatly since switching from lithium to olanzapine in 2006 but I have not been able to return to full time work. I have decided to reduce my work commitments since reaching the age of 65 and finding my time more taken up with the support of family members with mental and physical health problems. I will continue my association with DSN and Leeds University. I find that attending regular DSN meetings to be very helpful and rewarding.
Doctors' Support Network 2016 Dr Howard Allmark mental health

Dr Susan Atcheson
Hi I am Susan Atcheson. I am originally from Scotland and moved to Norfolk 13 years ago. I graduated from Aberdeen University in 1997 and trained as a GP. I am currently a Clinical Lead GP in West Norfolk with special interests in Palliative care, Education and Leadership and Development. I am particularly interested in the emerging models of Compassionate Leadership in Healthcare. 

I live with my partner of twenty years Alex and we have two children aged 7 and 4 and our old doggie Tara. We love walking, cycling (at least they all do!) and enjoying the gorgeous North Norfolk Coast.
Doctors' Support Network 2016 Dr Susan Acheson mental health

Dr Roberta Hewitt
Hi, I have been a member of DSN for over 10 years, and involved with the committee on and off since 2007. I'm currently a GP trainee up in Scotland, but have explored a variety of other careers including Emergency Medicine and working in rural Africa. Outside of work anything to do with animals, exercise, the outdoors and being creative keeps me happy (and sane!).
 
DSN has quite literally been a lifeline for me over the years as I've negotiated my own journey with recurrent depression. I've valued the friendship, encouragement and knowing you are not alone. There is always someone further along the road, or who has been there and can offer a supportive ear and I have learnt a lot from fellow DSNers about managing my health and work.
(and yes, that is a picture of me with a lion).
Doctors' Support Network 2016 Dr Roberta Hewitt mental health

Dr Jenny Holmes
I have a portfolio career,working part time in learning disability psychiatry and part time in forensic medicine. I believe strongly in everyone's potential to recover fully from mental illness and challenging stigma
Outside work I am a mum of five and enjoy a busy family life and own far too many pets. I also completed a long held ambitions and slowly ran my first marathon in 2015.
Doctors' Support Network 2016 Dr Jenny Holmes mental health

Dr Malcolm Kinnear
Born & educated in Aberdeen, I started training in psychiatry in 1991 but was off work from 1997 with chronic depression, eventually managing to return as a Specialty Doctor in Fife in 2009, then re-entering higher specialist training in Tayside in 2014, acquiring my CCT in General Adult Psychiatry in 2017.  I have recently been appointed as a consultant psychiatrist.  
I joined DSN in 1999 & have been Scottish coordinator since 2003, in which capacity I am now a member of an active Royal College of Psychiatrists /Scottish Executive working group to set up a Managed Clinical Network for sick doctors.  
I am married, with two dogs & one cat, & we live in an old stone house in a picturesque village in Fife, where I enjoy reading, historical swordsmanship, rock music & war-games.
Doctors' Support Network 2016 Malcolm Kinnear mental health

Dr Clive Morgan
Clive is a specialty doctor psychiatrist in South Wales.  He occasionally dabbles with the idea of becoming a GP but always ends up back in psychiatry.  He enjoys swimming and in a limited sort of way keeping fit!  He has been involved with DSN for a few years.
Doctors' Support Network 2016 Clive Morgan mental health

Dr Helen Plowman
 
Doctors' Support Network 2016 Dr Helen Plowman adult education

DSN organisational structure 

DSN is a registered charity : England & Wales 1103741 and Scotland SC046980.   The organisation is required to provide annual returns including a set of accounts.  Click on the button to download a copy of our constitution.


DSN chair report AGM 2016 :

DSN finances

The majority of DSN's funding is from membership donations. A small amount of our income is via Gift Aid and Amazon commissions. See our Fundraising page.

DSN receives no regular funding from external organisations although we are grateful to have received recent donations towards the expenses of our AGM and conference from the Wesleyan.
DSN treasurer's report AGM 2016 :

The history of the Doctors' Support Network

DSN founded in 1996
The Doctors' Support Network was founded in 1996. Dr Liz Miller was a registrar in neurosurgery when she first became unwell with bipolar disorder.  While unwell, she saw an advert from General Practitioner (GP) Dr Soames Michelson in the British Medical Journal asking if any other doctors had mental health problems.  The initial group of thirty doctors then formed the Doctors' Support Network.  The initial response from the medical profession to DSN was not encouraging: Liz said ' We went to see the British Medical Association, the General Medical Council [GMC], and the Royal College of Psychiatrists.  We thought, 'This will be a good thing.'  And the universal answer from all of these sources was, 'Doctors don't have mental health problems. Good luck to you. You need it.'  
MIND champion 2008
Dr Liz Miller was subsequently voted MIND champion in 2008. Liz said 'I’m very touched to receive the award. It’s really important that we change attitudes about mental health, and a good starting point is changing attitudes within the medical profession.'

Doctors' Support Network 2016 Dr Liz Miller with Melvyn Bragg mental health
Doctors' Support Line
In 2002, DSN collaborated with Dr Chris Manning of Primhe in setting up the Doctors' Support Line (DSL), which was at that time, the only telephone support service for doctors with mental health concerns. DSL was started with an initial three year grant of £120,000 from the Department of Health and also received financial support from the Mental Health Helpline Partnership, the Welsh Assembly and individual donations. DSL facilitated volunteer doctors, with their own experience of mental health problems, answering calls from distressed doctors. The Support Line ran for thirteen years, latterly managed by DSN without any external funding, until it closed in 2015. Financial pressures were a factor in the closure as well as recent provision by other bodies of specialist telephone support for distressed doctors.
Doctors as Patients book publication
In 2005, DSN co-ordinated the publication of a book about the experiences of doctors with mental health problems - Doctors as Patients.  

Dr Alison Holt, who worked on this project, explains 'Doctors as Patients was a collaborative work born out of the DSN internet fora. The late and much missed Petre Jones had already published a number of textbooks and so had links at Radcliffe. But he did not want to write the book, he wanted us to write it. The request went out for contributions and as these came in the shape of the book became clear.
Doctors' Support Network 2016 Doctors as Patients mental health
Doctors' Support Network 2016 Dr Petre Jones mental health
Dr Petre Jones
Petre 'held the ring' through artistic differences, formatting problems and deadline challenges. What we hoped to produce was two-fold. A distillation of the wisdom held by those with lived experience which could be useful to those who were unwell but also a cry from invisibility; that there were such things as unwell doctors and to be one was not shameful.
​We had never intended the book to be a resource for those researching in the area of practitioner health as at the time no one was. The fact it has fulfilled this final role is one that brings me great joy. The world is changing for those of us that become unwell, and for the better.'
DSN and the Practitioner Health Programme 
Another game changing innovation in doctors’ health was the establishment of the Practitioner Health Programme (PHP). Our current chair Dr Angelika Luehrs was a member of the working party involved in developing the PHP. 

 Angelika relates ‘The proposal for the PHP was in response to the Chief Medical Officer's review of medical regulation in July 2006 set out in the White Paper Good Doctors, Safer Patients July 2006. The PHP proposal was a key aspect of the 'Health for Health Professionals' work stream of the White Paper. The National Clinical Assessment Service (NCAS) was asked by the Department of Health to oversee the commissioning and implementing of the PHP. An expert working group had been set up on behalf of the Royal College of Psychiatry and the London deanery and was assisted by NCAS to develop proposals for a PHP between 2006 and 2007. The PHP was officially launched during the 'Doctors' Health Matters' conference in November 2008 and immediately started its clinical work.
 
I (representing DSN) approached Dr Rosemary Field, deputy director of NCAS in 2009 to discuss the PHP and offer our input considering that DSN would be able to provide valuable experience from doctors with mental health problems. This was felt to be very valuable and I joined the PHP Stakeholder Advisory Group representing DSN. DSN was also involved in the Health for Health Professionals Group working on the Health for Health Professionals Competency Framework. PHP is now in its seventh year of operation and is a highly successful service. Dr Clare Gerada, PHP’s founding medical director has ceaselessly campaigned for doctors with mental health problems. It has been an honour to work with her as part of the above working parties.’

Where we go after DSL closure
DSN has conducted a member survey around closing the DSL service and identified that the organisation still has an important remit regarding doctors' health issues. We identified that our major roles are providing a safe place for peer support from other DSN doctors and members as well as campaigning to improve the way in which doctors with mental health issues are treated by employers.

DSN exists to provide support to each other in times of need. 
 If you would like to get involved, please use the Contact DSN form.
Webmail

Louise Tebboth Foundation

The Louise Tebboth Foundation was established in memory of Louise Marson (nee Tebboth), a Bermondsey GP who took her life in January 2015. The Foundation aims to provide financial assistance to projects and services which support the mental well-being of doctors in England and Wales and initiatives assisting the bereaved families of doctors who have died by suicide.
Click on the logo on the right to go to the charity's website.
Doctors Support Network Louise Tebboth Foundation mental health

Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons 'Mind Matters Initiative'

The Mind Matters Initiative (MMI) aims to improve the mental health and wellbeing of those in the veterinary team, including students, veterinary nurses, veterinary surgeons and practice managers.  MMI was launched in 2015 and is funded and run by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS), the regulatory body for veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses in the UK.
Click on the logo on the right to go to the Mind Matters Initiative's website.
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