Originally, health programs for doctors were operated on the goodwill of committed volunteers in each state.
In 2014 the Medical Board of Australia saw the need to invest in these independent programs. They therefore partnered with the Australian Medical Association to establish an independent national program called “Doctors Health Services”, now known as DRS4DRS.
MBA recognises that DRS4DRS needs to operate separately from regulatory bodies, so that we can confidentially support doctors without fear of reporting. We are therefore a subsidary of AMA and operate independently.
Frequently asked questions
Let us clear up some common questions about doctors health so that you can access the support you need.
What do DRS4DRS do?
Each state in Australia has its own helplines and referral services. As the national coordinator, we’re here to help you navigate these services.
Is the service confidential?
Absolutely. While we do receive funding from the Medical Board of Australia and the Commonwealth Department of Health, we operate independently from funding and regulatory bodies.
What happens when I call the helpline?
The State service provider helplines are staffed by senior GPs and counsellors with experience in doctors’ health. When you call a State service provider helpline you will speak to someone at their paging service who will then ask you for a name and contact number.
For all except ACT and Tasmania, this is not an emergency or crisis line, but a first point of contact.
Doctors and medical students in the ACT and Tasmania will be responded to by the team at Converge International who manage our Dr4Drs 1300 mental health line. You will be transferred to the doctor on call in ACT or Tasmania as appropriate. This is an emergency and crisis line, and support will be provided by trained psychologists and counsellors who have completed our on-line learning modules, “Be a doctor for doctors”.
In addition, and complementary to the State service providers, there is a 24/7, free, confidential mental health support line where you will be supported by trained and experienced psychologists and counsellors. This service is also available to your spouse/partner and access to dedicated counselling is available to LGBTQIA+ doctors and medical students.
Can you help me find a good GP?
Yes. Some states have clinics specifically for doctors, while others have a directory of GPs trained to treat doctors. We can help you contact the State Service you want and help will be provided to assist you to find a GP who treats medical colleagues.
What can I talk to you about?
You can call the State service providers to get advice on your physical as we well as your mental wellbeing. They provide a listening ear to provide you with perspective.
Who is running the show?
DRS4DRS and the State service providers are run by dedicated doctors who have a vision to see improved wellbeing in the medical profession. We call on the support of colleagues as well as trained and experienced psychologists and counsellors as well to support your wellbeing.
Dr Iain Dunlop AM
Dr Helen McArdle
Dr Danielle McMullen
Dr Annette Barratt
Dr Antonio Di Dio
Ms Natalia Centellas
Ms Pamela Spoors
Dr Bhavi Ravindran
Our Panel of doctors’ health experts
The Board is advised and supported by its Expert Advisory Committee. The members of the EAC are a dedicated group of doctors who are experienced in practitioner health:
Dr Choong-Siew Yong
Doctors’ Health Advisory Service New South Wales
Dr Rob Thomas
AMA Council of Doctors in Training
Dr Kerrie Aust
Dr Patrick Johnson
Victorian Doctors’ Health Program
Ms Tish Sivagnanan
Australian Medical Students’ Association
Dr Helen Wilcox
Doctors’ Health Advisory Service Western Australia
Dr Jennifer Schafer
Queensland Doctors’ Health Programme
Dr Dana Phang
Australian Medical Association
Dr Annette Barratt
Ms Kiara Cannizzarro
Doctors’ Health SA and NT
Dr Edwin Whiteside
Doctors’ Health Advisory Service, New Zealand