Doctors’ health program to go national

Last week’s decision by the Medical Board of Australia to fund a nationwide scheme modelled on the Victorian Doctors’ Health Program met with universal praise. 

The initiative would complement the regulatory focus of the board and AHPRA, managing practitioners with impairments that may place the public at risk, the board said.

Dr Steve Parnis, Victorian AMA president, said it was a “tremendous development”.

“Thousands have been helped over the 13 years of the program in Victoria,” he said, adding 200 doctors present for treatment each year.

“Doctors in some ways are special patients,” Dr Parnis said. "We are more susceptible to certain things, such as depression, anxiety and substance abuse – and we find it harder to present.

“I think you need a special skill set to treat doctors.

“If a doctor has an addiction, for example, it can be managed