Doctors may at times have health issues which require medical advice. All practitioners and medical students should have their own general practitioner. They should not dismiss their own symptoms and should consult their general practitioner if they are unwell.
The NZMA's position statement on doctors' health and wellbeing was produced in 2013. Check out the Are you OK? pages on this site for more information on staying healthy. Developed for and by the DiTC, it is a useful resource for any medical professional.
Further resources are also available for doctors to help manage their own health:
Bullying & Harassment
The NZMA has produced a resource on bullying and harassment, which provides information about support service and dealing with bullying.
Several years ago, MPS and MAS established a confidential free support service for medical practitioners. They offer counseling services for doctors suffering from stress. This service can be contacted on 0800 225 5677.
The following Colleges have advised us that they offer access to peer support and/or health advisory services to their members:
The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners
The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners (RNZCGP) has a resource for members called “Self Care for General Practitioners.” The resource focuses on prevention, how doctors can self care and the need for doctors to develop a personal support network. For doctors who are suffering from stress or other health issues they can phone the College for advice on 0800 769 247.
Royal Australasian College of Surgeons
The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) operates a support service for RACS members experiencing stress. This is a confidential service. Surgeons in the support service come from each of the College’s sub specialties. The College can be contacted on 04 385 8247
Australia and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists
The Australia and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA) has a ‘Welfare of Anaesthetists’ Special Interest Group. The group was created to promote the importance of doctors’ physical and mental well-being. Details on this group and resource documents can be found at the following link on the College Website.
As well as this special interest group, the College Directors of Professional Affairs are available to give advice and support to ANZCA Fellows and trainees.
The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
RANZCOG’s Member Support Program, Converge, provides 24-hour confidential support to Trainees, SIMGs and Fellows (and their immediate family members) across Australia and New Zealand. All sessions are entirely confidential, and your first four sessions within any 12-month timeframe are fully subsidised by the College. Sessions may be face-to-face, by video conference or by phone. For more information, visit: https://ranzcog.edu.au/members/member-support-and-wellbeing
RANZCOG employs a dedicated Trainee Liaison for Trainees needing support during their training. Read more at: https://ranzcog.edu.au/training/training-support
RANZCOG launched its Wellbeing Working Group in 2020. The group will consult on and establish a range of wellbeing initiatives to support Trainees and members throughout their O&G careers.
Some DHBs/hospitals provide access to health advice and services to their employees. Information on these services can be obtained through the DHB.
The NZMA Chair or Deputy are also available to take a confidential call from any NZMA member who needs personal advice or has concerns about a colleague. Contact the NZMA National Office on 0800 65 61 61.
Medical Council Health Committee
The Medical Council is responsible for protecting the health and safety of the public under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003 (HPCAA). The Council manages doctors with conditions affecting their fitness to practise medicine. Under the HPCAA it is mandatory for doctors to notify the Council if their own fitness or that of a colleague’s is in doubt.
Doctors may feel inhibited from approaching the Committee, which must take a formal regulatory approach to health issues. This in turn limits the Committee’s ability to provide services and support to doctors.
Need more help?
Contact the NZMA
Phone│ 0800 65 61 61
Email │ Robyn Fell