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Wellbeing Charter for Doctors
We all have a part to play to support the wellbeing of doctors – medical colleges, individuals, colleagues, managers, hospitals and health jurisdiction.
RACS has collaborated with the Australasian College of Emergency Medicine (ACEM), the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG), the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA) and leading doctors’ wellbeing experts to develop a Wellbeing Charter for Doctors (PDF 909.03KB).
The Charter describes the shared responsibility for doctors’ wellbeing in Australia and New Zealand. It demonstrates a unified approach to doctors’ wellbeing to advocate with one voice to institutions, governments and policy makers.
We encourage Trainees, Specialist International Medical Graduates and Fellows to use the Charter as a resource to start conversations with colleagues, local teams and hospitals about how we can better support the doctors’ wellbeing.
What RACS is doing
The RACS Wellbeing Working Group is currently reviewing existing RACS initiatives that support surgeon wellbeing. This includes confidential counselling services through the RACS Support Program as well as research, policies and initiatives that promote a safe and professional surgical workforce.
See below for further information and resources.
If you have any feedback or enquires, please email us at email@example.com.
Practising self care
To take care of others, you must first take care of yourself. Sometimes that means setting boundaries to ensure you continue to enjoy both work and leisure.
Practising self care involves eating, sleeping and living well, as well as acknowledging and discussing any problems or concerns. The actions we take to sustain or improve our wellbeing are different for everyone. Surgeons are at risk from stress, burnout and a range of illnesses due to the nature of our work and the environments we work in. We encourage you to discuss and recognise any symptoms and seek professional support.
Looking after your health
We encourage all surgeons to regularly visit a trusted GP – and to encourage their colleagues to do the same. By allowing another doctor to objectively manage your health, you will be free to do what you do best – managing the health of your own patients.
Ignoring your own health can put the wellbeing of others at risk – including your families and patients. That’s why RACS is committed to promoting a culture that recognises the importance of looking after our health. For more information, check out our ‘Do you have a GP?’ campaign.
We offer a number of professional development programs to help you manage the pressures of surgical practice. This skills training includes time management, coping with stress and burnout, conflict resolution and self-care strategies.
Visit Professional development for more information.
We’ve partnered with Converge International to offer the RACS Support Program. The program is free and confidential support to Fellows, Trainees, International Medical Graduates, Global Health volunteers and their immediate family. All counsellors are experienced in working with medical professionals and can assist 24/7 with any personal or work-related matter.
Visit RACS Support Program for more information.
Fellows, Trainees and IMGs are welcome to seek advice or support from the Executive Director of Surgical Affairs (EDSA) and Surgical Advisors:
Dr John Quinn FRACS
Phone: +61 3 9249 1200
Surgical Advisors Aotearoa New Zealand
Dr Sarah Rennie FRACS
Phone: +64 4385 8247
Professor Spencer Beasley
Phone: +64 4385 8247
Confidential support outside RACS is also available through:
Doctors' Health Advisory Services in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand
Lifeline (Australia) and Lifeline (New Zealand)
Maintaining support networks
The most important way medical practitioners can maintain balance and health in their lives is to build a support network. This could include your surgical department heads, peers or colleagues, a more structured support network, or personal support from family and friends.
Many surgeons find it valuable to proactively select one or two ‘surgical friends’ who understand what you are dealing with, and are available for support in stressful times.
- Hand-n-Hand Peer Support
Helping Australian New Zealand Nurses & Doctors (Hand-n-Hand) is a group of psychiatrists, general practitioners, nurses and allied health with a background in mental health offering effective peer support for all healthcare workers. It has a network of over 2000 members and is a free pre-clinical service and does not involve any medical or psychiatric treatment, but rather is based on peer support and mentoring.
- AMA Victoria Peer Support Service
The AMA Victoria Peer Support Service is a confidential and anonymous program facilitated by experienced and trained doctors. Telephone 1300 853 338 every day, 8am – 10pm.
- Support from Mentors
RACS is piloting a facilitated Younger Fellows Mentoring Program, open to all Fellows within their first 10 years of gaining Fellowship.