Redcliffe to host Australia-first conference

Published 3:00pm 12 August 2022

Redcliffe to host Australia-first conference
Words by Nick Crockford

Redcliffe will host the first Senior Active Doctors Conference this weekend for experts to discuss how senior doctors may continue to help their communities.

Close to 100 delegates will be at conference, at The Komo from August 13-14, with more than 15 speakers, including representatives from Ahpra and the Medical Board of Australia.

Associate Professor Geoffrey Hawson, President of the Australian Senior Active Doctors Association and AMA Queensland Board Director, said the conference is the first of its kind in this country.

It is also part of a global trend in harnessing the expertise of senior and retired doctors to help communities during crises.

Medical reserves

“In the US, UK and France, we’ve seen retired doctors form medical reserves to help their communities in natural disasters, emergencies and pandemics, so this is a national issue that could have a tremendous positive impact helping people in need,” Assoc Prof Hawson said.

“At AMA Queensland we have developed a policy before the state government, to create a stepdown category of medical registration allowing retired doctors to work in a limited scope as well as volunteer to help in emergencies or provide services in areas of high need.

Redcliffe to host Australia-first conference
Associate Professor Geoffrey Hawson, President of the Australian Senior Active Doctors Association and AMA Queensland Board Director

“I can certainly see this proposal also helping to provide support to disadvantaged or vulnerable groups in our society such as people experiencing homelessness, those in aged care or people in rural and remote communities,” Assoc Prof Hawson said.

Dr Maria Boulton, AMA Queensland President, said this was an important topic to discuss given the medical workforce shortages in Australia.

Pressures

“We are facing unprecedented pressures and strain on the medical workforce so we do need to take a fresh perspective on how we address these issues and senior doctors may be part of that solution,” Dr Boulton said.

Assoc Prof Hawson is calling for a coordinated national approach that supports retired doctors to move to a limited step-down category with continuing professional development (CPD) and training to allow senior doctors to continue to help the communities they have spent their professional lives caring for.

"In other sectors like law, for example, a retired judge is called back to lead a Royal Commission,” Assoc Prof Hawson said.

“But when a doctor retires you aren’t considered to have any more value to give to your profession or community and this is something that I want to see change.”

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