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Welcome to the NT Doctors' Health Program

The NT program has emerged in recognition of the many barriers which stop doctors sourcing independent health care for themselves, the uncertainty around helping unwell colleagues and the value in doctors and students having their own GP of choice. This website is part of this exciting health program that aims to provide clearer ways for doctors and medical students in the Northern Territory to seek health care for themselves, and to provide assistance if they are uncertain where to start.

The program supports the following value propositions:

  1. Patients need and deserve to be treated by a doctor who is well.
  2. Healthy doctors practise better medicine.
  3. Doctors and students will be healthier if they have their own GP.
  4. A list of locally trained GPs is available on this website for medical practitioners and medical students only – log in access here.
  5. Our own health is a professional responsibility.
  6. A choice of ways to seek help is needed to overcome the multiple barriers which currently exist.
  7. A sustainable program must meet the needs of doctors and emphasise access and equity, safety and quality.

The NT program also links with Doctors' Health SA services, where NT doctors and medical students can access the clinical, education, training and phone advisory services operated in SA.

Doctors' Health SA has supported over 600 doctors and medical students at the unique after-hours assessment clinic at 327 South Terrace, Adelaide since the 1st of May, 2012.

The doctors' health programs in the NT and SA emphasise the significant health benefits of having a GP in the community. A number of NT GPs have completed the 'doctors for doctors' training and are available in Darwin and Alice Springs. 

Doctors' Health NT will continue to grow a network of experienced GPs in private practice to undertake additional training in treating doctors and students and from which then doctors and students can access a GP for their ongoing primary care.

We offer accredited continuing professional development designed to enhance the skills of those GPs assessing and managing the health of doctors.

We deliver educational packages to medical and practice groups each year to raise awareness of the service and the need for all doctors to have their own personal doctor of choice.

We offer our confidential and anonymous 24-hour doctors’ advisory service for a doctor, student, colleague, employer or family member to discuss any issue of concern with one of our panel of experienced GPs.

We are innovating through grants in remote education and telemedicine consultations for rural GPs.

Funding 

We receive funds from a number of sources including:

  1. The Medical Board of Australia via a per capita allocation from annual registration fees
  2. NT PHN
  3. Grants

History

Doctors' Health Services have gradually been developed across Australia for the past 20 years. The Northern Territory engaged the Doctors' Health SA service in 2016 to assist the NT to build a locally tailored service for all doctors and medical students.

In 2013, beyondblue released a report which was the results of a National Mental Health Survey of Doctors and Medical Students was conducted with the aims of:

  • understanding issues associated with the mental health of Australian medical students and doctors
  • increasing awareness across the medical profession and broader community of issues associated with the mental health of medical students and doctors, and
  • informing the development of mental health services and supports for the medical profession.

The sample comprised 42,942 doctors and 6,658 medical students. The final response rate was approximately 27% for both doctors and medical students, which resulted in 12,252 and 1,811 respondents respectively.

Key findings in this research included:

  • Doctors reported substantially higher rates of psychological distress and attempted suicide compared to both the Australian population and other Australian professionals.
  • Young doctors and female doctors appeared to have higher levels of general and specific mental health problems and reported greater work stress.
  • The general work experience for Australian doctors is stressful and demanding.
  • Stigmatising attitudes regarding the performance of doctors with mental health conditions persist.
  • Doctors appear to have a greater degree of resilience to the negative impacts of poor mental health.
  • Medical students reported high rates of general and specific distress in comparison to the general population.
  • Female students had higher levels of psychological distress and reported more specific mental health diagnoses than male students.
  • Medical students perceive that there are stigmatising attitudes regarding doctors with mental health conditions.
  • Indigenous students appear to be particularly vulnerable to poor general and specific mental health.

It has been vitally important that the Northern Territory region establish its own Doctors' Health NT service. Which has been supported by the following organisations that form the Program Advisory Panel:

- Northern Territory PHN

- NT GPE

- AMA(NT)

- RACGP(SA/NT)

- Local psychiatrists

- Doctors' Health SA

Doctors' Health NT is a not-for-profit service for all Northern Territory medical practitioners and medical students

The DHNT program is designed to

1. reduce the barriers to doctors and students needing medical advice

2. improve the health of doctors and medical students

3. provide easier access to a doctor for those who do not currently have a GP.

4. offer a coordinated suite of activities which facilitate this

5. promote choice, privacy, confidentiality and professionalism.

6. innovate to find solutions.

Help is available by phone or email, by telemedicine or with one of the General Practitioners in our network.

All the doctors in our network experienced and caring General Practitioners who have a keen interest in doctors’ health and undertake accredited training in doctors’ health and the importance of professionalism and confidentiality.

The end goal of DHNT activities is to make sure that doctors and students enjoy all of the benefits of on-going prevention, check-ups and GP care that includes providing access to the wider health system.

General enquiries via Doctors' Health SA email reception@doctorshealthsa.com.au for urgent confidential advice (24/7) call 8366 0250.