AMA to work with Medical Board on health services for doctors

6 Mar 2013

The AMA will work closely with the Medical Board of Australia (MBA) to design a sustainable model of accessible services to help doctors look after their own health.

The MBA announced today that it would provide funding for external doctors’ health services across the country from 2013-14.

AMA President, Dr Steve Hambleton, said that doctors need to be in good health to deliver high-quality health care to their patients and the community and to experience medicine as a rewarding and satisfying career.

“Research has consistently shown that doctors with healthy personal lifestyle habits are more likely to impart healthy behaviours to their patients,” Dr Hambleton said.

“The experience of existing doctors’ health advisory services, and the available evidence in the literature, supports structured and accessible programs to assist doctors to maintain their health and to have access to appropriate health services.

“The Medical Board’s decision is good for doctors and patients alike, and it could encourage doctors to engage earlier with high quality care.

“The AMA believes that doctors’ health advisory services are in the public interest.

“We welcome the Board’s decision that the health services will be funded from the existing pool of doctor registration fees held by the MBA,” Dr Hambleton said.

The AMA has previously proposed that the MBA fund doctors' health advisory services that currently operate because they have established networks and strong local knowledge.

“It is important that the MBA funds the services, but equally important that the funding arrangements remain independent from the MBA and the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency,” Dr Hambleton said.

“This is essential to ensure privacy, and to allow doctors to trust these services and use them at an early stage in their illness.”

The AMA conducted an extensive survey of its members in 2012 that showed strong support for the MBA to fund external doctors’ health services.

6 March, 2013

CONTACT:         John Flannery                       02 6270 5477 / 0419 494 761