AMA supports new Doctors’ Health Service arrangements

6 May 2016

Doctors and medical students in NSW, the ACT, South Australia, and the Northern Territory will have access to expanded doctors’ health services from 1 May 2016, a major step in the roll out of an enhanced national health program for medical professionals and students.

As part of a $2 million network of nationally-consistent doctors’ health services, the Doctors Health Advisory Service (NSW) will provide services for doctors and medical students in NSW and the ACT, while Doctors’ Health SA will provide services for doctors and medical students in South Australia and the Northern Territory.

The other States are expected to join these arrangements in coming months.

In 2014, the Medical Board of Australia (MBA) announced a significant boost in resources to doctors’ health, and committed to establishing an equitable national health program for doctors and medical students, funded within existing Board resources from registration fees paid by medical practitioners.

Extensive national consultation with doctors about health services made it clear that separation between regulators and health programs was essential for them to work.

As a result, the Board decided to partner with the AMA to deliver the new arrangements.

The AMA established a subsidiary company, Doctors’ Health Services Pty Ltd (DrHS), to administer the health programs at arm’s length from the MBA and the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Authority (AHPRA).

AMA Vice President, Dr Stephen Parnis, said that the AMA has strongly advocated for improved access to doctors' health services across the country, and these new arrangements will deliver on that goal.

“The AMA is very pleased to be playing a central role in this project.

“The services will remain at arm's length from the Medical Board to ensure that doctors and medical students trust these services, and use them at an early stage in their illness.

“Doctors and medical students, like everybody else in the community, should have their own general practitioner, and manage their own health within the usual professional context of a doctor/patient relationship.” Dr Parnis said.

Full Media Release