The Doctors' Health Advisory Service (NSW) aims to ensure that every NSW doctor, dentist, veterinarian or undergraduate student in these professions does not lack access to health care.
We operate a telephone Help Line and are available to provide personal advice to practitioners and students facing difficulties. We also provide health promotion and educational information through our website and we lecture to interested groups.
The advice is used mostly in relation to stress and mental illness, drug and alcohol problems, or personal and financial difficulties. No problem is too trivial or too serious.
We believe that all practitioners and students should have their own general practitioner, should not dismiss their own symptoms and should consult that doctor if they are unwell. We encourage the pursuit of a healthy lifestyle.
Message from the President
The Doctors’ Health Advisory Service provides a confidential telephone service that for personal, objective, impartial and non-judgmental advice for any practitioner or for colleagues or family members concerned about any practitioner’s well-being. The DHAS handles 100-120 calls each year and provides a point of access for doctors, dentists and veterinarians who seek health advice.
The dedicated telephone Help line is available 24 hours a day. Incoming callers are put in contact with an experienced general practitioner who has volunteered to employ their professional knowledge and experience to discuss the issue and where appropriate to refer callers to other sources of professional help, support and advice.
The support offered by the Medical Benevolent Association to medical practitioners is particularly relevant in this regard. The Service promotes a caring professional attitude towards practitioners to ensure that they are treated in the same manner as other patients. The Service does not collect or hold identifying data about persons who contact the Service. Only de-identified data is retained for the purposes of statistical analysis.
A committee comprising doctors, a dental and a veterinary representative plus a representative of the Medical Benevolent Association of NSW manages the Service, which is independent of any professional bodies, including the registration boards. A nominee of the AMA’s Doctors in Training group represents the perspective of younger doctors.
Few doctors have an independent general practitioner, despite the advice of professional colleges and medical boards, yet doctors have the same risk of chronic illness and the same need for preventive health screening as the general population.
To address this need, the DHAS holds an annual seminar designed to assist GPs in the challenging role of caring for another practitioner. It is called “Caring for Colleagues” and topics covered include doctors’ health behaviours, mental health issues, dependency on alcohol and other drugs, self-harm and barriers to seeking health care.
Doctors from any specialty and any working context are warmly invited to participate, as are junior doctors and medical students.
This seminar is approved by the RACGP for the Quality Improvement & Continuing Professional Development (QI&CPD) Program and general practitioners who complete the program requirements are eligible to receive 40 Category 1 points.
DR JILL GORDON
MBBS, MPSYCHMED, MA, PHD, FRACGP, FASPSYCHMED
PRESIDENT, DHAS (NSW)
The Doctors’ Health Advisory Service provides a confidential telephone service that for personal, objective, impartial and non-