Finding your own doctor

The medical profession’s training and unique workplace environments create opportunities for doctors and students to bypass the system and the usual steps our patients need to take to access formal medical care. The possession of knowledge, the ready availability of advice from work colleagues, the ability to self-prescribe S4 drugs (in most states) and easier access to prescription-strength medication samples in the workplace are occupational health risks. We know from DHSA survey data that such behaviour and levels of self-treatment is quite common.

This reluctance by some doctors to attend another doctor for formal health care is compounded by the multiple barriers which exist and can make informal self-care private and more appealing than having to leave work to attend a doctor in their rooms.

These barriers are well documented ( M. Kay et al, 2010) and include:
1. The difficulties within the inter-professional consultation
2. Time pressure for both treating doctor and doctor- patient
3. Access from rural and remote practice
4. Embarrassment
5. Ease of self-investigation, treatment and specialist referral
6. Mandatory reporting
7. Trust and confidentiality
8. Lack of empathy.

These barriers demand a particular clinical approach when treating doctors and medical students.

Asking for help and entrusting your care to a doctor is a big step for doctors, many of whom are not familiar with this experience.

With one third of doctors in SA having not had a check-up in the last 5 years and almost every person over 40 having at least one health risk factor, it makes sense to undergo a check-up and mitigate any health risks which may be present.  A quick review of your own family history will probably reveal at least one potential health risk.

From its very beginnings, DHSA has recruited committed and experienced people who recognise the importance of:

1. adequate time

2. adherence to evidence-based care

3. empathy

4. thoroughness.

Our clinical services are delivered by doctors who have both a personal and professional interest in improving the health of the profession. We know this is good for the health of the community.

When you access a GP either at our Adelaide clinic or via our GP Network, you can be confident that the person you talk to understands the challenges you face and has received additional doctors’ health training and developed the extended skillset needed to support medical professionals with their immediate and longer-term health care needs.

Find a GP near you so that you can begin accessing support straight away. We are also always very interested to hear from doctors who would like to join the DHSA team.