Jane Deacon ran her own GP practice for many years which included registrars and medical students. Twelve years ago she began work as a medico-legal advisor with MDA National, a role which involves assisting doctors with claims and complaints and general medico-legal advice. In this role she regularly assists doctors who have a health impairment who come to the attention of the Medical Board. The impairment is often a mental health issue, with drugs and/or alcohol sometime involved. Jane assists the doctors with the Medical Board process and their return to work. She also provides peer to peer support for doctors who are very distressed by a claim or complaint, and works with them to assist them to get appropriate support.
One in five Australian doctors have been diagnosed with or treated for depression, and one in four have had thoughts of suicide. The need for change is evident and urgent – but how? Join the discussion as our diverse panel shares their personal and policy based perspectives on mental health in the medical profession.