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Provision of Pastoral Support

When an arrangement has been made for support to be provided to an individual or a partnership, prior to the first meeting we will send a 'Memorandum of Understanding' which outlines the LMC 'terms of engagement'.

Memorandum of Understanding – Pastoral Support Network

  1. Expectations of the Local Medical Committee Pastoral Support Network

  2. Devon LMC will provide a Pastoral Support Service to its members via Pastoral Support Officers (PSO), remunerated by the LMC.

  3. The LMC is committed to positive solutions for individuals or practices experiencing difficulties internally or with external bodies e.g. Area Team of NHS England, Clinical Commissioning Groups, General Medical Council etc.

  4. Support will be offered within reasonable time scales (aim for response within two working days of receipt of request). Initially, up to six sessions will be offered within approximately three months. Thereafter the LMC commitment will be reviewed. The recipient of the support /or in the case of Practice Managers, their practice, may need to share the cost of sessions thereafter at the discretion of the LMC.

  5. The service provided will be mutually confidential, subject to GMC guidelines and the code of conduct for Practice Managers.

  6. The LMC will make available a PSO with appropriate skills and experience. The Pastoral Support Network, from which the individual will be allocated, offers a variety of medical (GP) and managerial (Practice and Lay) experience. If a successful rapport is not established to the client’s satisfaction they may request to switch to a different support officer.

  7. The LMC, through its Pastoral Support Network, will also provide an introduction to a wider network of professional support e.g. legal, occupational health, career counselling and mediation, if deemed necessary and appropriate.

  8. The LMC is committed to supporting individuals or whole practices. In some instances different PSOs may be appointed to support separate individuals within the practice.

  9. The support available may include acting as a sounding board, intermediary or friend.

  10. Specific tools also available include LMC Facilitated Partner/Practice Meetings and Mediation.

Expectations of the Practice or Individual

  1. Commitment to focus on a positive way forward rather than an opportunity to offload historical baggage.

  2. Demonstrate resolve and commitment to see through solutions agreed, however difficult.

  3. Recognition that positive solutions may include compromise or ‘separation’ as well as resolution.

  4. Recognition that LMC resources are not unlimited.

  5. Recognition that the LMC has a responsibility to support the whole Practice and all its members.

  6. Willingness to consult with other professional support services as required/ advised by the PSN.

Additional Notes

  1. Limited summary notes of cases will be recorded by a PSO assigned to support an individual or partnership. These will not contain sensitive information and will be retained securely by the LMC for reasons of continuity of care. The LMC nominated Caldicott Guardian is responsible for the appropriate handling and retention of these notes.

  2. In some cases it may be useful for an issue to be filtered through two PSOs – not necessarily for both to attend meetings, but so consultation and mutual support can contribute to a balanced handling of situations presented – especially in partnership and other complex cases involving more than one person.


  1. GMC guidance on Confidentiality can be found at: However, if there is serious evidence of patient safety, the PSO will seek further guidance.

  2. Certain services made available through the LMC may incur a charge which will be the responsibility of the individual seeking advice.

  3. The LMC retains the right to determine appropriate boundaries for interventions.

  4. The LMC maintains a zero tolerance to aggressive behaviour and retains the right to cease support in such situations.