About the PSU

The Professional Support Unit (formerly the Career Development Unit) covers the Thames Valley area as part of Postgraduate Medical and Dental Education (PGMDE, or Oxford Deanery) within Health Education Thames Valley. It provides a comprehensive careers service and performance support for all doctors and dentists in primary and secondary care.  The service is available free of charge to senior medical students at Oxford University, and doctors and dentists in training in Oxford PGMDE posts or programmes. Doctors or dentists not in Oxford PGMDE training posts or programmes at any stage in their career have access to the same PSU services - standard fees apply.

The careers service provides local specialty information and career management skills workshops for the Oxford Foundation School. It also provides personal career guidance for those with a career dilemma, including those with health or disability problems.

The PSU provides personal coaching/mentoring for doctors or dentists who self-refer or are referred. The PSU provides guidance and workshops to help educators manage performance issues in trainees, and also collaborates with trainers to provide personal coaching/mentoring for individual trainees that need additional support to improve their performance.

The performance support service is also available to employing Trusts and Responsible Officers in the Thames Valley who can engage one of our coach/mentors to help doctors and dentists not in PGMDE training posts or programmes get back on track following local investigation, NCAS or GMC assessment. The PSU is also available as a source of information and advice to employers and Responsible Officers in the Thames Valley.

The PSU is the single point of contact within Health Education Thames Valley PGMDE (Oxford Deanery) for all issues regarding careers and performance support for doctors and dentists.

Who works for the PSU?

The PSU consists of a director (Dr Penelope Toff), assistant director (Dr Chris Smith), the Health Education Thames Valley PGMDE careers lead (Barbara Wallis), a team of PSU coach/mentors, and our support manager (Phil Skeldon).

The PSU coach/mentors include senior Thames Valley consultants and GPs with extensive educational experience who have been trained to:

  • provide individual support for medical and dental careers
  • advise and support educators and employers, including responsible officers, in addressing doctor's and dentist's performance
  • facilitate workshops on:
    • career management
    • supporting doctors and dentists with performance improvement needs


Contacting the PSU

  • Email psu.tv@hee.nhs.uk . Email sent to this address is completely confidential - messages are routed to the PSU administrator and  checked every working day.
  • Our preferred method of communication is email.
    If you wish to speak to the PSU Director or his deputy on the phone, please email a contact phone number and preferred times to call.

    However, if you wish to leave a voice message, our office number is 01865 785570.
    This number is not checked every working day, so it may take a day or two for us to respond.
  • Postal address for sending confidential material

    The Director, Professional Support Unit
    Health Education England Thames Valley
    4150 Chancellor Court
    Oxford Business Park South
    Oxford
    OX4 2GX