Doctors’ Wellbeing Charter with Ms Ruth Bollard

As Chair of RACS wellbeing working group, Ruth Bollard has been leading the development of the Doctors’ Wellbeing Charter as a collaborative document with many people from many colleges working together with the intention of enabling doctors as individuals and collegiate organisations to voice their commitment to doctors’ wellbeing.

The Doctors’ Wellbeing Charter, developed by RACS, ANZCA, ACEM, RANZCOG gives one voice to advocate and seek opportunities for collaboration for doctors’ wellbeing; physical, mental, emotional and cultural health, based on appreciation, kindness, gratitude and compassion. As survey of surgical specialists found although job satisfaction was high, fifty percent would not recommend entering this specialty. Maintaining wellbeing leads to the performance of high quality and effective health care delivery and optimises patient care. Doctors who maintain and maximise their health and wellbeing are able to manage the physical and emotional demands of medicine. Wellbeing is essential to achieving the competencies required for good medical practice. Wellbeing is beneficial to the individual and to the medical community in which doctors work. Jurisdiction, hospitals and medical colleges must support the wellbeing of doctors and provide an environment that is safe, accessible and inclusive to all. Mindfulness training delivered to surgeons as a leaders’ course, taught them to stay focused whilst operating. Shared responsibility and institutional support are needed, and every college, hospital and medical workplace should support the Doctors’ Wellbeing Carter and promote it to their institutions. It is not enough to simply have a charter. The charter needs to be implemented and behavioural change seen as an outcome.

About Ruth Bollard

Ruth graduated from Liverpool University Medical School in 1988. Trained as a General Surgeon in the UK, she continues to publish and has a M.Sc from Hull University. She qualified as a General Surgical Specialist in 2000 and moved to work in Ballarat in 2006, appointed as a Specialist General Surgeon.

With more than 30 years of experience in general surgery and more than 15 years of experience in the field of oncoplastic breast surgery, Ruth has had the fortune to be in lead roles within health and is passionate about striving for best quality of care for regional and rural patients.

Ruth is a Graduate of Australian Instittue of Company Directors; was Director of Surgery at Ballarat Health Services 2010-2012; a Clinical Director for Grampians Integrated Cancer Services 2012-2016; from 2011-2017 a member of Executive Women in Surgery Section Committee RACS; and Chair of Women in Surgery from 2014-2017. Whilst Chair of Women in Surgery Section, she was instrumental in leading the Australasian College of Surgeons through its cultural behavioural crisis.

Re-elected in 2018 for a second term to the board of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, her portfolio includes Chair of RACS wellbeing working group, an intercollegiate group across medical colleges. She also chaired the 2020 RACS alcohol policy working group.

Ruth is passionate about striving for access to best quality of care, for all. She has an ongoing interest and insights into her own health and the wellbeing and health of all doctors.

Ruth Bollard

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