KSS Foundation trainees: all KSS Foundation trainees should access support services via the KSS’s own Professional Support & Wellbeing Service. Please head to https://kss.hee.nhs.uk/kss-foundation/current-doctors-in-training/careers-and-wellbeing-support/ for more information.
Currently the PSU is authorised to fund dyslexia assessments but does not have a routine wider neurodivergence assessment service. We hope to offer this in future but in the meantime there are a number of ways in which you can still access support from us if you are (or suspect you may be) neurodivergent.
Known or possible dyslexia
If your are dyslexic (or believe you may be) and would like to explore this further, then we have an existing pathway for funded dyslexia assessments and specialist coaching. Please see the section lower down on this page on how to access dyslexia support.
Known or possible ADHD or autism
Accessing routine ADHD or autism assessments are usually obtained via your NHS GP or via a self funded route. NHS waiting lists can be very long so it may be worth speaking to your GP sooner about this if you are considering it.
Right to Choose pathway on the NHS: Some private providers around the country accept referrals out of area via the 'Right to Choose' pathway. You can search for this online and if a specialist NHS provider will accept this then you can take their details and the Right to Choose form to your GP and request a referral via this pathway to the provider of your choice.
Self-screening and preparation: You may find it helpful to do undertake a bit of self-inquiry and self-assessment before seeing your GP to help guide them in the appointment.
The internet and social media can be helpful but also confusing. National organisations such as ADHD UK and National Autistic Society can be helpful starting points. It may be also be useful to ask close family members or others close to you about what they may have noticed in the past in relation to some of the features of ADHD or autism.
We can't formally recommend a screening tool but a useful starting point may be the 'Adult ADHD Self Report Scale' (ASRS) and the Autism Quotient 50 (AQ50), both accessible online.
PSU support available: If you think you may have ADHD, autism or other neurodivergent traits we may still be able to offer you some 1-1 coaching support focusing on specific areas without needing a formal diagnosis. This is very much considered at on a case by case basis as everyone's strengths and needs vary so if you'd like to find out more then please submit an application to us or email us at Neurodiversity.PSULondon@nhs.net.
Known neurodivergence: If you have already had an independent assessment and ADHD, autism or other neurodivergent traits have been identified then we may be able to fund some specialist neurodivergent-focused coaching for you. We would need to see a copy of the summary assessment report with the recommendations and can then make a decision on this.
Exceptional circumstances: If despite accessing the PSU support available to all trainees you are still struggling to progress in training or work and both you and those responsible for your training (eg Educational Supervisor, Training Programme Directors or Head of School) believe neurodivergence may be a contributing factor and an assessment might help, then there may be a way of accessing a funded assessment for ADHD or autism through your Postgraduate Dean. This is not a routine service and only considered based on a set of criteria through your Dean (and not the PSU). Your TPDs or Heads of School will need to apply to your Dean if they feel your circumstances makes you eligible for this.
Finally, if you are still not sure what support may be helpful for you and would like to speak to one of our team confidentially please email us or submit an application to us asking to speak with someone so we can arrange an appointment with one of our advisors. For any other queries please email us at Neurodiversity.PSULondon@nhs.net.
Dyslexia is a specific learning difference resulting in a range of specific skills and strengths alongside some challenges in information, learning or language processing.
The exact prevalence of dyslexia is unknown and estimates vary. It is thought up to 10% of doctors in postgraduate training are dyslexic. It is not uncommon for dyslexic healthcare professionals in postgraduate training to have passed through many educational milestones without dyslexia ever being suspected or identified.
Identification of dyslexia is not an indication of clinical incompetence or lack of knowledge; many highly intelligent, capable and competent senior healthcare professionals will be dyslexic and have exceptional professional attributes and skills. Some may find it harder to pass postgraduate exams using their old strategies and some may find it more challenging to manage specific aspects of work.
Features of dyslexia include strengths in creative thinking and problem solving, visual or 3D thinking and excellent verbal communication and relational skills. Dyslexic adults may find it hard to complete some tasks on time (especially those involving reading or writing under time pressure), to organise and sequence tasks effectively, to remember information under pressure (for example in exam situations or when tired) or they may need more energy, attention or time to read and process complex information. Difficulties in spelling, formulating written expression and processing print may also be a feature in some cases and affect performance. Everyone's dyslexia and needs will be different, hence why we an individualised and strengths-based focus is important.
Dyslexia may be associated with other learning or information processing differences in some cases and there can be an overlap with other neurodivergent conditions such as dyspraxia or ADD/ADHD.
The PSU in London & KSS can fund an independent specialist dyslexia assessment for you if:
1) you are a healthcare professional in training who meets our eligibility criteria, and...
2) you are experiencing difficulties at work or training and suspect that unidentified dyslexia may be a contributing factor to your difficulties.
Information on how to access an assessment is in the tabs further down this page.
If you are eligible for accessing PSU support (see our eligibility criteria) and have not previously had a formal assessment for dyslexia you may be eligible for a funded dyslexia assessment via the PSU.
This is a multi-step process as follows:
Step 1 Complete self-screening questionnaire
Complete brief self-screening questionnaire via British Dyslexia Association adult screening checklist and keep a record of your screening score
Step 2: Submit your online request/application to us
Complete and submit the following PSU form Dyslexia application form (Form A).
Please give specific information where possible about what you are struggling with at work or in training which has led you to consider dyslexia.
If anyone involved in your training has recommended a dyslexia assessment please let us know this and why they suspect dyslexia. We will only use this information to help us decide if we can fund a dyslexia assessment for you within the PSU.
Step 3 (Optional supervisor form)
If your Supervisor or Programme Director has recommended an assessment or has other information which you think may help your application please ask them to complete this optional form (Supervisor/TPD Form (Form B)
Step 4: PSU processes your request/application and will contact you
Once we receive your dyslexia request form we will review the information to decide if we can offer you a funded assessment. If we have enough information which meets our criteria for a funded assessment we will automatically refer you for the assessment. If we don't have enough information we will offer you an appointment with one of our advisors in the SPOC (Single Point of Contact) team first to discuss things further. Either way you should expect further contact.
Currently the dyslexia assessments are done via 'Genius Within' and once we refer you, you should receive an email from their Client Services team within 2 weeks with further instructions. You will need to register onto their secure online portal through which information (such as your assessment report) will be shared with you. Please look out for their initial email and check your junk email folder because everything regarding your appointments only happen after you have registered onto their portal.
Demand for assessments is high but currently we expect that Genius Within to have sent you the initial registration email within 2 weeks of us referring you to them.
If you have not received an initial email from either us in the PSU or Genius Within within 2 weeks of submitting your form please email us at Neurodiversity.PSULondon@nhs.net so we can look into this.
Step 5: Assessment appointment (virtual)
Your assessment appointment will be online and with an educational psychologist at Genius Within.
The appointment will take up to around 3 hours and you should receive some information in the post before it. Face to face appointments can be arranged if you have any accessibility requirements so please inform Genius Within at the time of booking.
You will be told at the end of your appointment if the findings are consistent with dyslexia and you should have a chance to ask questions at the time and also afterwards.
If features suggestive of wider neurodivergent conditions are also identified during your assessment then this information will also be shared with you at the time and in your report.
You can directly contact your assessor for a follow-up conversation if you have any outstanding questions about their findings once you've received their written report.
Step 6: After your assessment
A draft copy of your assessment report will be made available to you via the online Genius Within portal (usually within 1 week) and you will be asked to confirm that you're happy for it to be finalised.
You will also be asked to authorise the release of the summary version with us in the PSU if you are happy to do so. Without this authorisation we will not know of the outcome of your assessment and can therefore not offer you additional input unless you contact us directly.
We will not share details of what is in your report with anyone involved with your work or training or others outside of the PSU.
Once we have your assessment report we can contact you regarding any additional support which is available to you via the PSU, such as specialist coaching. You should expect to hear from us within 2 weeks (usually 1 week) of you authorising the release of the report to us via the Genius Within portal. Please email us if you have not heard from us after this time.
If your assessment confirms that you are dyslexic, recommendations will be made about additional support and or adjustments which may be helpful for you. Please see the information in the tabs below about what some of the options usually are.
If dyslexia is not identified but other neurodivergence is you may still be eligible for further specialist support including specialist support. Please email us about this for further information. We will usually need to see a copy of the summary assessment findings and recommendations to advise you.
If neurodivergence is not identified, we still have a number of other resources within the PSU which may be useful for you such as coaching from within the PSU, individual communications or linguistics sessions or Careers advice. Please email us if you would like to know what options may be available for you.
In your dyslexia assessment report you should have recommendations on what support would help you. There is no generic list of recommendations as the features of dyslexia vary from person to person, however there are some broad areas which the assessor may comment on.
Exam/assessment related adjustments: these include extra time or access to a different exam format. You will need to contact your Exam Board directly to request these adjustments. We suggest doing this early in case the Exam Board need further information from you.
Workplace adjustments: these may include reasonable changes in your work environment, duties or rota for example or access to specific IT software or other technologies which enable you to carry out your day to day work responsibilities.
It is the responsibility of your employer to consider and try to implement these so the first step would be ask you your line manager or HR department about how you can access help with workplace adaptations and funding for assistive technologies if recommended. If they are not sure what can help or is possible, they can ask an Occupational Health Physician to see you.
Training related adaptations: it can be helpful to include those involved in your training (eg educational supervisors and Training Programme Directors) in these discussions and correspondences early too as you may also benefit from some adjustments to different aspects of your training. Not all adjustments need to be permanent or lifelong but a trial for several months can be useful until you find out what helps you.
Occupational Health input: your employer may ask for an Occupational Health assessment or alternatively you can seek one if you (or they) are not sure what workplace adjustments may help. Where possible it can be helpful to ask to see an Occupational Health Physician with expertise in supporting neurodivergent clinicians.
Access to work funding: you should be able to access additional support and independent funding via the Government's national Access to Work Scheme. You will need to self-refer by completing their online form on the Government website . An 'Access to work' advisor will then arrange an assessment with you and go through the options. The waiting list can be long and take several months so we suggest doing this early regardless of any other support you access. Access to work is different from any support via your employer or training programme.
Dyslexia-focused coaching: the PSU will initially fund four sessions of individual dyslexia coaching if you are dyslexic. If your assessment was done through us and you consented to your final assessment report to be released to us via the portal then we usually contact you within a week (two weeks at the latest) to offer you dyslexia coaching. The aim of this coaching will be to help you identify your strengths and also new strategies to overcome any dyslexia related challenges at work on training. This can include strategies around revision or exam performance for example, or help with organisation, time management, task initiation or help with your working memory and information processing.
Please email us at Neurodiversity.PSULondon@nhs.net if you would like to access dyslexia coaching but have not heard from us within one week of your assessment.
Dyslexia Peer Support Group: the PSU runs an informal monthly online peer support group for dyslexic healthcare practitioners to connect and discuss any experiences, questions or concerns they have. You can come along to any sessions when you are free. Information on how to sign up is in the Courses, Groups & Workshops section of our website.
Psychological support: Working and training as a neurodivergent healthcare professional within environments which can be unsupportive of neurodivergence, or with colleagues who lack adequate knowledge and understanding of the additional strengths and skills that neurodivergent healthcare professionals bring to the team can be stressful, distressing and in some case have a significant impact on mental health. If you are a doctor or dentist in training in London and eligible for using our services in the PSU you can access free and confidential mental health support via our Trainee Doctors and Dentists Support Service.
If you have additional needs or have further questions please email us at Neurodiversity.PSULondon@nhs.net or book a confidential SPOC (Single Point of Contact) appointment with one of our advisors in the PSU. Please see our SPOC page for further details.
Disclosure about your dyslexia (and/or other neurodivergence) is a matter of personal choice. You can decide who to share information with, what information you want to share, how to do it and when. However we also recognise that sometimes it can be hard to access the type of support you need if others aren't involved and aware.
Finding out that you are dyslexic as an adult may be a relief and explain why you've always found certain things hard or it may be a total shock and initially upsetting, leading you to question many past experiences. Some people will feel confused or overwhelmed initially and need time to make sense of what being dyslexic means before deciding what they want to do.
It can help to speak with someone who works with dyslexic healthcare professionals as they may be able to answer questions you have before you decide to share information about your dyslexia with others. This is where the specialist dyslexia coaching sessions (funded by the PSU) can be very powerful as they can also help you with how you discuss your dyslexia (including both your strengths and needs) with others. Alternatively you can speak to a member of the PSU team confidentially first.
Informing those responsible for your training and/or employment
If you would like to access or consider adjustments in relation to work or training then those involved in your work and training will need to know about the recommendations from your assessment. There is no blanket way of doing this. For example you may want to discuss the recommendations in your report with your Training Programme Director, Educational Supervisor or your Manager first to find out which adjustments can be implemented and the process for this before deciding if and how to inform others. You can also say whether or not you are happy for them to share the information wider in the team, in what circumstances and for what purpose.
If you want future employers to be made aware you will usually need to inform them in advance yourself. This is particularly relevant if you want adjustments to be put in place when you change Trust. In some cases if you've informed your HR department or your current employer they may pass this information on to your future employer but we suggest that you check if this is routinely done and not make an assumption.
To access an Occupational Health assessment your manager or employer will usually need to know but this does vary from Trust to Trust as in some cases you can self refer to Occupational Health.
Informing Exam Boards
If adjustments are recommended related to your exam you will need to inform the exam board yourself. Your employer, Training Programme or the PSU cannot do this on your behalf. The exam board may want further information such as a copy of the parts of your report which outlines the recommendations such as additional time allowance. We suggest informing them in good time as in some cases they may not be able to provide you with what you need until a later date or sitting.
Informing the PSU
Your assessment report is not shared with us until and unless you have authorised it to be shared via the online Genius Within portal. If specific recommendations such as specialist dyslexia coaching are made we can fund this for you once we have a copy of the report.
If you'd like to discuss other support available to you via the PSU please email us at Neurodiversity.PSULondon@nhs.net.
The PSU will not routinely share information about your dyslexia with others outside of our unit including those involved in your training or employment without your consent. On rare occasions, if you are at risk of non progression at ARCP and a PSU referral or dyslexia assessment has been formally recommended by your training programme or ARCP but you have not updated them afterwards, they may contact the PSU to find out if we have referred you and what the outcome is.
Wherever possible we would encourage them to contact you directly for an update first. In very exceptional circumstances if your Head of School or Dean believes it is justified for the purposes of the ARCP process and they have not heard back from you despite trying, then we may have to tell them if we have referred you for an assessment and whether dyslexia was identified. We would not disclose any other information without your consent.
If you are worried and would like to discuss the implications of disclosure further you can speak with a member of our team confidentially at any time. Please email us at Neurodiversity.PSULondon@nhs.net about this or any other related queries.
The following pages include number of resources which may be of use for trainees or educators:
If you have any questions about dyslexia or are still unsure of how to access support please contact us by emailing Neurodiversity.PSULondon@nhs.net