Health Minister announces funding for doctors’ mental health programs

1 Jun 2017

Following AMA calls for a national approach to deal with doctor suicide rates, Health Minister Greg Hunt announced at the AMA National Conference in Melbourne last Friday that the Government will invest in mental health programs for doctors.

“And Michael [Gannon, AMA President] and I have been speaking this week, and also been speaking in recent weeks with [former AMA President] Mukesh Haikerwal, and I am determined, Michael, to offer a partnership with the Government and the AMA for us to provide new investment directly into caring for carers,” Minister Hunt said.

“And so I want to announce that we will offer a partnership going forward and we will develop the suicide prevention, mental health programs with the AMA and the broader medical work force for suicide prevention and mental health support, specifically for doctors and other medical work force professionals,” the Minister added.

Following his speech at the Conference, Minister Hunt has confirmed that, as part of a broader $47 million suicide prevention initiative, the Government will provide $1 million to specifically support mental health and reduce suicide in the health workforce.

The AMA is now in discussions with the Minister’s offices, along with the other organisations nominated by the Minister to be part of this project, being the Black Dog Institute, Orygen, United Synergies and the Hunter Institute of Mental Health, to determine what this funding should be used for.

GPs are also reminded that confidential doctors’ health services are now available in every state and territory, with contact details available at www.drs4drs.com.au.

While funded by the Medical Board of Australia the coordinating body, Doctors’ Health Services Pty Ltd, and the state/territory advisory and referral services are independent organisations operating at arm’s-length from regulatory authorities.