The Institute for Musculoskeletal Health’s Deputy Director Dr Bethan Richards has been appointed Australia’s first Chief Medical Wellness Officer. The Sydney Local Health District has appointed Dr Richards to the position to drive cultural and systemic change in health, and reduce stress and burnout among junior and senior doctors.
Dr Richards has been leading Royal Prince Alfred (RPA) Hospital’s pilot wellbeing program for basic physician trainees (BPTOK) since 2017.That program was recently awarded $210,000 in funding from NSW Health as part of the JMO Be Well program and will now be rolled out to all doctors across RPA, Concord, Canterbury and Balmain hospitals.
The new program, branded MDOK, will teach all medical staff the skills to care for their own health, manage traumatic events and mentor younger staff, in addition to attending workshops and sessions on goal-setting, relaxation, stress management, clinical debriefing, nutrition and exercise. Dr Richards said “The widespread rollout of MDOK will allow us to support our frontline staff while strengthening our existing platform to effect real change.” The launch of MDOK was held at RPA Hospital on February 26, 2019.