Being a “GP On Call” for DHQ with Dr Maree Patane
Being an on-call doctor for the Doctors’ Health in Queensland helpline is an important part of supporting our medical colleagues and medical students. The role of peer-to-peer support, being available to provide this timely, confidential and compassionate assistance wwas illustrated.
The flow of calls to the DHQ helpline reflects what is happening in the wider community.
When there was publicity about changes to mandatory reporting, there was an ebb in doctors seeking help, as they were concerned about seeking help. During the start of Covid-19, calls increased along with the stress and uncertainty around PPE, and everyone rang. Family members ring if they are concerned about their doctor family member. An interstate doctor rang as they wanted an extra layer of anonymity.
While it is not a crisis line, colleagues call in times of crisis, often on the worse day of their working life e.g., when they have had a patient with an unexpected, poor outcome and they need to debrief with a colleague. The value of peer-to-peer support, to listen, support and encourage the doctor to connect with their GP is invaluable. Our role is to enable the doctor-patient to accept for themselves the assistance they would give to their own patients.
About Dr Maree Patane
Dr Maree Patane has been a General Practitioner working in Brisbane for 30 years. She is currently a GP working at Kedron Wavell Medical Centre. In her work as a senior GP, she supports many medical students and doctors with their health journey. Maree has been a member of Doctors’ Health in Qld for 10 years and in this role provides support as an on-call GP for the 24-hour helpline.