Medical Board of Australia Doctors' Health Programs

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5 March 2012

It notes that while the MBA is considering the extension, and possible expansion nationwide, of the Victorian Doctors Health Program (VDHP), other Australian jurisdictions have in place voluntary services to assist distressed or health impaired doctors and medical students. The College is advised that these services do very good work despite their limited resources; and they could be more involved in preventive measures, early intervention, rehabilitation and re-entry, education and research, if they received greater funding.

The College is of the view that the jurisdictions' right to operate and further develop these services should be respected and that any new arrangement should not be unnecessarily prescriptive. While there should be a minimum set of functions that each service must perform, there appears to be no compelling argument for one, national service being imposed on the jurisdictions. The College believes that, like the VDHP, all services should provide support to medical students as well as doctors.

The College notes recent calls for a national workshop to bring all stakeholders and interested parties together, with international experts invited to outline doctors' health programs already in place in countries such as Canada and the United States. The College would strongly support such a forum and would be pleased to participate in it.