Junior medical officers are being encouraged to pitch their ideas to improve their workplace and enhance health and wellbeing under a $1 million program.
NSW Health Deputy Secretary Phil Minns said the JMO Be Well program offers funding of up to $350,000 a year over three years to JMOs for great, practical ideas which can be trialled and evaluated to determine if they make a positive difference to the mental health and overall wellbeing of junior doctors.
“We’ve listened to the concerns of junior doctors and are committed to implementing positive changes to improve their work conditions. We want JMOs to be a part of the solution, to provide us with their own ideas, based on their own experience,” Mr Minns said.
“We want solutions generated from the bottom up, not the top down, and with this new program we are taking a step further by providing JMOs the opportunity to design and trial solutions that meet their needs.
“Money from the program will go to JMOs to implement workplace trial projects that improve their work-life balance, health and wellbeing.”
The NSW Government introduced the JMO Wellbeing and Support Plan in November last year, guiding a series of initiatives to address burnout and mental health issues in the junior medical workforce.
“We know that JMOs, senior doctors and their managers can come up with great ideas. These can make a difference, while being very cost effective. For example, a pilot study at Sydney’s Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, called BPTOK, offers mentorship schemes, workshops on various aspects of wellbeing, exercise programs and stress management training,” Mr Minns said.
Junior doctor Dr Seshie Ratwatte said the program is already making a difference.
“BPTOK has helped me grow both as a person and as doctor. My general fitness, mental strength and ability to deal with stressful situations has improved one hundred fold, which has meant I have felt so much happier,” Dr Ratwatte said.
Applications for the JMO Be Well program are now open with successful projects being funded from next year.