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How We Help

How we can help

VDHP provides assistance to doctors and medical students who have any of the following concerns:

We can listen to your problems and work with you to help you find solutions. Sometimes, even though as doctors we are very good at helping others, when it comes to helping ourselves it’s difficult to be objective and ‘see the wood for the trees’. One of the VDHP Senior Clinicians can help you untangle the mess and find a way forward.

Advice is also provided to anyone who is concerned about a doctor or medical student. This includes family, friends, colleagues, university staff and clinical staff.

Since the commencement of VDHP, we have assisted doctors and medical students presenting with numerous issues ranging from those having a mild impact on quality of life to those threatening careers and lives. VDHP deals with each individual case on its merits and offers a range of interventions.

VDHP develops individual management plans and co-ordinates treatment, including arranging appropriate referrals to external treatment providers.  We conduct our service with the utmost discretion. Confidentiality is of utmost priority to VDHP. However, like all health practitioners, we are required to remain in compliance with the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law Act 2009.

How to get help

You can contact us via phone, email, mail, fax or in person. Your first point of contact will usually be with our Office Manager who is able to provide you with non-clinical information and make an appointment for you. If you require clinical advice at this stage, our Case Manager or a Senior Clinician will be able to assist you also.

Your first appointment at VDHP will be with one of our Senior Clinicians. At this initial assessment, we can help you evaluate what your problems are and develop an appropriate treatment plan.

Our staff are very aware of the many reasons that make it difficult for those in the medical profession to seek help. We are most sensitive to the need for confidentiality. Our office is situated in a building that houses a wide variety of medical services, so doctors and medical students could have any number of reasons for being in the building. We also have our own private waiting room.  We know how hard it can be to change from an accustomed role of caregiver to being a care receiver.

Our services

You are able to contact us for advice and information, either for yourself or for someone you are concerned about. Anonymous enquiries are welcome. We assist by providing you with information about various services, including our own, which may be helpful.  Many people we give advice to often return to us at a later time to become further involved in the program.

Everyone should have a GP, including doctors and medical students. We have a list of GPs in Victoria that are happy to treat other doctors/medical students. Simply contact us and tell us where you live and we can give you the names and contact details for the GPs closest to you. All the doctors on our list are either known to us personally, have done our ‘Doctors for Doctors’ training course, or come on the recommendation of other doctors.

If as a result of the initial assessment, we form a treatment plan that involves the recommendation that you seek help from another practitioner such as a psychologist or psychiatrist or addiction medicine specialist, we take care to match you with the most appropriate treatment provider and will remain in contact with you to ensure that the match is appropriate.

If you have a condition that requires ongoing support you may enter into a case management agreement with VDHP to comply with a comprehensive range of therapeutic measures. These may include primary monitoring by a VDHP clinician, attendance at Caduceus (our support group for doctors with a substance use condition - see below), workplace monitoring and chemical monitoring. The aim of the agreement is to restore you to optimal health.

If your problems have necessitated some time off work, we can work with you to facilitate a return to work program. With your permission we can liaise with your employer or colleagues and help to develop a return to work plan that is optimal for your health condition. This may involve a ‘graduated return to work’, a ‘back to work conference’ at your workplace and/or the appointment of a ‘workplace monitor’. 

VDHP holds a weekly support group known as ‘Caduceus Group’. This group is exclusively for doctors and medical students with substance use problems. The group meets weekly at an inner city location and is facilitated by professional counsellors.

For participants who have been adherent with their therapeutic agreement with VDHP, we are happy to advocate in relevant forums. In the past we have advocated for doctors/students at the Medical Practitioners Board of Victoria (both informal and formal hearings), AHPRA, Magistrates’ Courts, hospitals, workplaces, and in family situations.

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