The Doctors' Health Advisory Service (NSW) aims to ensure that every doctor, dentist, veterinarian or student in these professions has ready access to health care.
We offer a telephone help line for personal and confidential advice for practitioners and students, and also for colleagues and family members in NSW and the ACT.
We handle calls relating to stress and mental illness, drug and alcohol problems, or personal and financial difficulties. No problem is too trivial or too serious. Our staff and volunteer doctors can provide advice and referrals if required.
We strongly recommend that you have your own general practitioner and see him/her promptly if you are unwell - as William Osler said 'a physician who treats himself has a fool for a patient'. Don't be so foolish!
DHAS welcomes our inaugural Medical Director
Professor Garry Walter became the inaugural Medical Director of the DHAS in March. He has a distinguished academic and clinical record, and a long-standing interest in the health and well-being of medical students and doctors. He holds a chair in child and adolescent psychiatry at the University of Sydney and is Clinical Director of Child and Youth Mental Health Services. He was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2012 for services to psychiatry and to medical education.
The Medical Board of Australia is funding similar initiatives across Australia. The Service has separate funding to ensure that we continue to serve and support our colleagues in Dentistry and Veterinary Medicine. We now have an office on the 2nd floor in AMA House St Leonards which will serve as a base for the DHAS staff.
Because our staff are part-time, we also rely on the support of GPs and specialists who have been so important in maintaining the Service on a voluntary basis for the past 40 years. Together we aim to ensure that every doctor, dentist and veterianarian (and all students in those disciplines) has timely access to confidential medical care.
Message from the President
As doctors, we undertand the stresses of practice and we can offer help and advice about your own wellbeing or the wellbeing of a colleague. This help is confidential and non-judgmental and is available 24/7 for doctors, dentists and veterinarians (and students) needing help.
You can speak with our Medical Director, Garry Walter, our medical social worker, Sarah Foster, or an experienced general practitioner at any time - many problems are resolved in that way, but if more intensive help is required you'll be referred to other sources of support and advice, and we can continue to help you for as long as you wish. The support that the Medical Benevolent Association can offer may also be relevant in some situations www.mbansw.org.au
The Medical Board of Australia is funding doctors' health services in all states and territories. In NSW we liaise with colleagues in the ACT to cover both areas. The funding is enabling us to expand our services, including education on doctors' health and related issues. Separate funding ensures that we also offer the same help and support to dentists and veterinarians.
The DHAS holds regular seminars to assist doctors in the challenging role of caring for another practitioner. You may be seeing another doctor as a patient or you may be responsible for junior doctors in training programs - and we are all responsible for our colleagues in the workplace. We hold an annual seminar called Caring for Colleagues that will help you to manage the different challenges that you may encounter in any one of these roles. Please contact us if you would like to organise a presentation in your area.
DR JILL GORDON