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Members’ Forum

29 Jul 2013

President of the Australian Medical Student Association Mr Benjamin Veness shared his experiences with stress among medical students, prompting some readers to share their own stories and suggest possible solutions.

My son is presently taking a year off his medical studies midway through a four-year course. After doing engineering, then Graduate Medical School Admission Test (GAMSAT), then two years of medicine, he has lost his enthusiasm and motivation, and is trying to find it again while travelling for a year. He seemed fine till midway through his second year. Being male, he doesn't verbalise his emotions very well and I personally was very worried by his withdrawal and what I would call depression. I did try to contact the medical school but was thwarted by privacy issues and the difficulty of doing anything online unless you have a student number! I wonder how many other potentially excellent doctors are lost because they withdraw from the course due to the crushing workload in the first two years and all the others stresses of learning the ropes of medicine. It is great career and I have enjoyed mine immensely. I hope my son will return to medicine.
by Dr Gail (not verified) 

Thanks for sharing the experience of your son and hope that he finds a suitable way through how he currently feels. I would think that medical schools/ universities have mentoring and support networks so that not only peer but supervisor support and guidance are readily available. Similarly, would expect that beyondblue and similar groups would have a good presence.

by Peter Thompson (not verified)

The Federal Government is coming under mounting pressure to dump its controversial $2000 cap on tax deductions for self-education expenses amid a groundswell of opposition from organisations representing more than 1.6 million doctors, nurses, engineers, lawyers, accountants and other professionals. One reader shares his view.
I trust, as a matter of equality, that all taxpayer-funded education trips for politicians will be capped at $2000.
by Edward Heffernan (not verified) 

Ophthalmologists have launched legal action against medical practice regulators in an escalation of a row over the role and responsibilities of optometrists. This idea has sparked concerns from some our readers.

This is very similar to the proposal some years ago for psychologists to be able to prescribe psychoactive medications. It is a very worrying.
by Peter Binns (not verified) 

It is very concerning. Especially when they start to administer topical Beta-blockers to elderly patients prone to bradyarrythmias.
by Eye Doctor (not verified) 

The Federal Government has sharpened its pitch to the primary health sector ahead of the Federal election, boosting funding for research and outlining plans to shift it to the centre of national health policy. Members voiced their opinion on what is needed for better primary health care.

Contrary to's assertion, Medicare Locals are not the newest front-line in GP medicine. They are blood-sucking parasites that drain money away from genuine coalface general practice and contribute only to the welfare of the bloated mandarins who run them. They are also contributing to the Government’s grasp on the GPs' throats - where have the after hours and psychiatric care funds gone? The future of general practice depends on the destruction of this blight on the profession

by Pat Gibney (not verified) 

The future of efficient, effective and accessible patient-centred primary health care is a very well integrated primary health care team led by GPs and practice nurses, with a well coordinated buy-in from the allied health professions. Medicare Locals are proving around Australia that they can drive the required coordination of all primary health professionals. This process also involves the evolution of the electronic medical record, which feeds out to a patient's relevant multidisciplinary health team. It doesn't happen overnight, it is not without some mistakes, but in the end it will result in getting closer to world best practice in primary health care. Some health professionals choose to lead to a new future by hard work, some follow and some just sit and complain. As chair of Barwon Medicare Local, I know Medicare Locals have chosen a strong leadership role.
by Dr Tim Denton (not verified) 

Rules forcing doctors to get permission from public servants before prescribing medicines is outdated and needs to be scrapped, according to the AMA. One reader expresses the need for a better tracking system for prescribed medication.
I think a free-for-all system will increase the cost to taxpayers and increase iatrogenic opioid issues. The last 20 years has seen Australia become the drug capital of south-east Asia, with a large number of patients misusing S8 drugs. This has resulted in a strong element of criminality, whereby many patients sell their opioids. If AMA is proposing getting rid of the PBS Authority, they need to have a good back up plan to track doctor shopping and over-prescribing of dangerous medication. The halt system is inundated with self-inflicted illnesses through misuse of prescribed medication. So please, have a better system of tracking prescribed medication, as the alternative would see more tax rises to pay for more bad decisions
by Anonymous (not verified) 



Published: 29 Jul 2013