Posted on June 02, 2023

New peak body for doctors’ own health

Doctors have a new peak body dedicated entirely to the health and wellbeing of doctors’ and medical students.

The Doctors’ Health Alliance mission is to improve the health and wellbeing of medical practitioners and medical students for the good of the community across Australia. It will represent current and emerging doctors’ health services, as well as individuals and organisations who have an interest in doctors’ and medical students’ health and wellbeing.

The Doctors’ Health Alliance has evolved from the former Australasian Doctors Health Network (ADHN), which has a 25-year history. Many doctors will know this group from its biennial Australasian Doctors’ Health Conference, with the most recent conference held in Adelaide in December 2022.

“The Doctors’ Health Alliance recognises that healthy doctors practise better medicine,” says Dr Roger Sexton, the inaugural Chair of Doctors’ Health Alliance Ltd.

It will be a leading voice in advocating for organisational and systemic action where doctors’ and medical students’ health are negatively impacted. As well delivering national prevention and wellness programs.

Over the years a network of doctors’ health programs across Australia and New Zealand has informally shared resources, research, innovative programs and services. The Doctors’ Health Alliance will continue to drive and grow these areas, as well as provide leadership and support for emerging initiatives.

“A key role will be leading collaboration with relevant stakeholders, expanding clinical networks, training and education, and working in partnership with relevant organisations to support isolated doctors, in particular rural and remote doctors,” says Dr Sexton. 

“But it’s not just rural and remote doctors. At the height of COVID everybody witnessed on a daily basis the tireless work of all our frontline health workers and their willingness to continue to provide care to their patients in an environment of unrelenting pressure and personal risk. The current rate of burnout and fatigue now seen in our healthcare professionals is alarming. 

“Doctors face significant barriers when needing to access health care for themselves, including time constraints, concern about lack of confidentiality, fear about mandatory notification, worry about impact on career, a sense of embarrassment, stigma or failure that they are not coping and not wanting to trouble a colleague. It is vital that supports for doctors and medical students, are confidential, easily accessible and peer-led. A priority is for doctors and medical students to confidently access relevant health care for themselves.

“The launch of the Doctors’ Health Alliance is a critical national step in elevating the need to care for our doctors and future doctors.”  

Dr Sexton says the Doctors’ Health Alliance will work in partnership with local and national organisations such as the AMA, indemnity providers, medical colleges, regulators, universities, unions, doctors’ wellbeing groups and government.

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The Doctors’ Health Alliance is an independent not-for-profit company with charity status. It is overseen by a skills-based board and governance structure that includes a national doctors’ health expert panel to advise on clinical service delivery, training, education and research, and prevention/promotion strategies. 

For media contact – phone Dr Roger Sexton, 0408 089 423