National doctor health service almost a reality
A nationwide network of dedicated doctor health services is on track to be established by the end of the year after Victoria and Tasmania became the latest states to join the initiative.
In one of the final steps in setting up the $2 million network, the details of a funding agreement between Doctors’ Health Services Pty Ltd (DrHS) and the Victorian Doctors’ Health Program (VDHP), which will provide services to both Victoria and Tasmania, have been finalised.
The southern states join Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia, the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory, where DrHS services are already in place. Arrangements for Western Australia, the only State yet to join the national network, are at an advanced stage
AMA President Dr Michael Gannon welcomed the development, which he said was a major milestone in ensuring that all doctors and medical students had access to high quality health care, no matter where they lived or worked.
“The AMA has strong links to existing doctors’ health services across the country and the VDHP is no exception,” Dr Gannon said. “I am pleased that the VDHP now has secure funding for its advisory and support services for doctors as part of the national program.”
The Medical Board of Australia is funding DrHS, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the AMA, to coordinate the delivery of doctors’ health services for doctors and medical students in all States and Territories.
The national network is being created to fill a perceived gap in the access by doctors and medical students to dedicated health services, particularly in regional and rural areas.
Medical Board Chair, Dr Joanna Flynn, said a report on doctors’ health services across Australia had found that the support available varied from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.
“Victoria has long-established expertise in the area of doctors’ health and wellbeing, and we are pleased that the VDHP has agreed to support the provision of services in Tasmania,” Dr Flynn said. “This will help to improve the level of support given to the medical profession in Tasmania.”
DrHS Chair, Dr Janette Randall, said that she was pleased with the progress made in establishing the national program since DrHS began operations last year. “We are working to finalise arrangements for services in Western Australia, which will complete the rollout of the national network,” Dr Randall said.
West Australia is expected to finalise its arrangements for joining the DrHS in coming months, ensuring that a national network will be in place by 2017.
Published: 26 Jul 2016