What is the Queensland Doctors’ Health Programme?
The QDHP is an organisation established by the Doctors’ Health Advisory Service (Qld) which makes available assistance for colleagues who may be in difficulty. The need to help doctors has long been recognised in Queensland, as well as nationally and internationally.
Health practitioners often have difficulty being patients, as they tend to not acknowledge their problems, or seek help appropriately. They experience the same wide range of health related issues as others in the community, as well as conditions specifically related to the stresses of professional practice. This occasionally includes substance abuse.
Several decades ago, a group of concerned doctors recognised that the profession needed to take the lead to assist their colleagues in difficulty, to reduce the risk to their patients of practising while unwell as well as to provide relief for the doctor. It was also apparent that this task was more likely to be achieved by also attending to practice and lifestyle factors that predisposed to the difficulties. Their initiative led to the founding of the Doctors’ Health Advisory Service of Queensland in 1989, and now as an extension, to the formation of the Queensland Doctors’ Health Programme in 2016.
The primary focus of the DHAS(Q) is the well-being of practitioners. This approach, as well as having a humanitarian concern for individual colleagues, is based on the knowledge that the safety and well-being of the public is enhanced by having healthy doctors.