If you’ve worked in any role in the medical profession in the last two years, you’ll understand the importance of the conversations at this year's AMA National Conference.
Crafted around the theme “Forward Together”, this event was not only a chance for us all to gather in person to reflect on the Covid-19 pandemic, but to collectively discuss how to address the challenges that lie ahead.
And what a lot of challenges there are.
Big topics that came up again and again revolved around the sheer pressure that the healthcare sector workforce has been under during the pandemic, and how this has often manifested as stress, fatigue, burnout and mental health concerns for our healthcare workers.
Bookending this issue is the dual need to attract more new doctors, both young and from overseas, whilst finding new ways to keep those we already have. Training has been put on the back burner and there is a strong need for better data to inform decision-making.
This is all against the backdrop of both a shortage, and maldistribution of resources, not just geographically, but across specialties and levels of experience too. Healthcare in Australia needs more staff and equipment, and in some areas these shortages are chronic.
Underlying all this, we’re also in a period of great change – changes in when, where and how we want to work, changes in how we deliver healthcare, and changes in technology available to us.
But it’s not all doom and gloom.
Shining throughout this two-day event was an earnest desire to address the challenges of the future collectively, to embrace change, and to show support and kindness.
Here at Wavelength, we know we have a vital role to play in the future of Australia’s healthcare system, for the people who work in it, and for the people it is here to help.
As such, we’ve already partnered with Capstan, to run a pilot program for doctor wellbeing – with more to come. The Capstan team are also regular contributors to the conversation around mental health through our wellbeing blog.
We’re on the frontline when it comes to seeing the areas of need across our cities and towns, hospitals and clinics, and are actively working to encourage foreign doctors to consider Australia for their next career move, along with supporting doctors find their next role locally. Plus, we’re helping doctors explore new opportunities in divergent careers and find roles that achieve a much sought-after work/life balance.
Why is it so important that we overcome the challenges that lie ahead? AMA President Dr Omar Khoshid summed it up perfectly in his opening remarks at the conference:
“As a doctor, this is not just any job, it is a profession that is underpinned by decades of training, research, and standing on the shoulders of those who came before us. It requires a level of commitment that is very unusual in our society, and a level of sacrifice that many people just don’t realise. It is one of the very few professions in which the community place their most important possession in our hands – they place their health, the health of their family in our hands.”
There is much work to be done, but in the spirit of the conference theme “Forward Together” we here at Wavelength are embracing the challenges of the future – and looking forward to it.