The Victorian Doctors Health Program: the first 3 years

Naham (Jack) Warhaft
Med J Aust 2004; 181 (7): 376-379.


  • The Victorian Doctors Health Program (VDHP) was established in November 2000 to provide a confidential and compassionate service for doctors and medical students with health concerns, including alcohol, other drug and mental health problems.

  • Although funded by the Medical Practitioners Board of Victoria, the VDHP is completely independent of the Board.

  • Its staff include a director with experience of North American Physician Health Programs and a case manager/psychologist.

  • In its first 3 years of operation, the VDHP had 438 contacts: 218 requests for advice and information, and 220 contacts resulting in provision of services (to 92 doctors and students with alcohol or other drug problems, 82 with psychiatric problems, and 40 with stress-related or emotional problems).

  • 99 participants received standard care (assessment, referral and up to two consultations with the program) and 56 extended care (three or more consultations with the program).

  • 65 participants (most with substance use disorder) entered the more intensive Case Management, Aftercare and Monitoring Program (CAMP); 57 of these have had outcomes considered satisfactory, with 50 returned to work.

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  • Naham (Jack) Warhaft

  • Victorian Doctors Health Program, Melbourne, VIC.



The Medical Practitioners Board of Victoria and the Australian Medical Association Victoria developed and have provided ongoing support for the VDHP. We thank Mr Gordon Storey (Self Help Addiction Resource Centre [SHARC], Melbourne) for valuable advice and assistance with program development and operation, and the many medical directors of North American Physician Health Programs who have provided support and training, particularly Dr Greg Skipper (Alabama), Dr Lynn Hankes (Washington) and Dr Mike Kaufman (Ontario).

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