The New South Wales Medical Board has developed the Impaired Registrants Program to deal with impaired registrants (doctors and medical students) in a constructive and non-disciplinary manner; the program is now well established.
The Program enables the Board to protect the public, while maintaining doctors in practice whenever possible.
Disorders that commonly lead to referral of impaired doctors include alcohol and drug misuse, major depression, bipolar disorder, cognitive impairment and, less commonly, psychotic and personality disorders and anorexia nervosa.
Pathways in the program are individualised according to the impact of the specific disorder, the registrant’s career stage, stage of involvement in the program, insight and motivation.
Critical points in the program include entry, easing of conditions, breach of conditions, return to work after suspension, and exit from the program.
Decision-making at these points takes into account the nature of the impairment, compliance, professional and personal support available and the registrant’s insight and motivation.
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