ADA NSW sponsors the Doctors’ Health Advisory Service (DHAS), a 24/7 helpline for health professionals including dentists and dental students.
The DHAS is a stepping stone for those who need assistance and advice but do not have the time, or are reluctant, to contact the appropriate authority. When a practitioner or student phones, the DHAS representative assesses the problem and refers the caller to a doctor, counsellor or other specialist. Sometimes the representative will direct the caller to a service or website where they can obtain more information.
DHAS representatives all volunteer their time. They are general practitioners backed up by specialists and healthcare professionals, including dentists, so are qualified to liaise with their peers.
Although most calls are about medical and mental health issues such as workplace stress and anxiety, DHAS representatives can also help callers with legal problems, financial difficulties or issues relating to employment. No problem is too big or too small.
The service is free and confidential, and operates independently of all medical, dental and veterinarian professional bodies, including the registration boards.
Please note the helpline is for health professionals and students only. Members of the public who need medical advice or assistance finding a doctor should visit www.agpn.com.au.
Call on someone else’s behalf
The person in need does not have to ring DHAS themselves. Many calls are from the person’s family, friends or colleagues. For example:
- a health professional may phone to express concern that their colleague’s health issues could affect their professional judgement or ways in which they are managing their practice
- a family member may contact DHAS because they are worried their loved ones are suicidal or denying they have serious illnesses that require treatment
- someone may phone DHAS because their friend is downplaying or denying a serious issue and needs help.
ADA is involved in management
The management committee, consisting of ten doctors, a dentist (the ADA NSW representative), a veterinarian and a social worker meet every three months to ensure everything is running smoothly and working appropriately.
The DHAS exists to help you, and you can express your concerns anonymously to a qualified medical professional. Call (02) 9437 6552 or visit http://dhas.org.au/.