Welfare of Anaesthetists SIG

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The Welfare of Anaesthetists Group has been meeting on a regular basis since August 1995. The group was formed to raise awareness of the many personal and professional issues which can adversely affect the physical and emotional well-being of anaesthetists and intensivists at all stages of their careers. In 1998 the group became an official special interest group (SIG), with ANZCA providing the secretariat. The group is an informative, educative and referral group; it has no therapeutic role.

Aims of the SIG

The aims of the Welfare of Anaesthetists SIG is to promote the personal and psychological well-being of anaesthetists and pain medicine practitioners and to heighten awareness of welfare issues in anaesthetists.

It achieves these aims by:

  • Educating anaesthetists and trainees in the care of their personal and psychological health, and that of their colleagues, fostering a climate of care, openness and support
  • Identifying issues causing stress in anaesthetists’ lives
  • Establishing guidelines for management of welfare-related problems (see Resources)
  • Expanding continuing medical education activities to include education on issues such as lifestyle, mental health, relationships, stress management and personal development, by holding sessions at state and national meetings, one-day seminars, and regional seminars for trainees and trainers
  • Developing support strategies within and outside the profession
  • Establishing a website, a resource brochure, a resource network and a reading list
  • Facilitating access to, and liaison with existing helping agencies (for example, Doctors’ Health Advisory Services – DHAS)
  • Advertising welfare activities and support schemes (in ASA and NZSA newsletters, ANZCA Bulletin)
  • Liaising with ANZCA, ASA, NZSA and other organisations
  • Researching and collecting data

WOAG mission: Our function

The Welfare of Anaesthetists Special Interest Group was formed to promote the concept of physician health, both physical and mental. It is our intention to make physician health issues mainstream and regarded as integral to healthy doctor-patient, doctor-family and doctor-workplace relationships. Our activities include, (but are not limited to): Education (trainees as well as specialists), liaison with other professional bodies, and guidance (but not direct treatment or referral) for appropriate management of physician health problems.

WOAG vision: Future directions

Research and data on welfare issues in Australian/New Zealand anaesthetists. Wide acceptance by professional bodies and health administrations of the importance of welfare issues. Development of workplace practices that support anaesthetists and keep them well.

WOAG goals: Strategies to fulfill our mission and vision

  • Plenary sessions at major continuing medical education meetings
  • Free-standing SIG meetings
  • Annual state-based meetings on welfare and professional issues for trainees
  • Health and welfare surveys


We have set up a new webpage dedicated to news relevant to Welfare SIG members. Please click here to see the latest news.

Please see below current and past newsletters


For upcoming and past SIG activities and events keep an eye on this page 


The resource documents developed by the Welfare SIG provide brief comment, give references, and identify strategies for use in dealing with the more common professional and personal stresses. If you are a member of the SIG but not a FANZCA please contact the SIG Co-ordinator for access to these documents.

RD 01 Personal Health Strategies 2016
RD 02 Financial Issues 2016
RD 03 Depression and Anxiety 2016
RD 04 Retirement 2016
RD 05 Critical Incident Support 2016
RD 06 Training and Examinations 2016
RD 07 Sexual Misconduct 2016
RD 08 Mentoring 2017
RD 09 Why don’t you have your own GP ? 2016
RD 10 Breaking Bad News 2016
RD 11 After a Major Mishap 2016
RD 12 The isolated anaesthetist 2016
RD 13 Impairment in a Colleague 2016
RD 14 Medico-legal issues 2016
RD 15 Training and Family Responsibilities 2016
RD 16 Welfare Issues in the Anaesthetic Department 2016
RD 17 Infectious diseases 2011
RD 18 Latex allergy 2017
RD 19 Ergonomics 2011
RD 20 Substance Abuse 2016
RD 21 Organ donation 2011
RD 22 Bullying, discrimination and sexual harassment 2019
RD 23 Communication consent – under review so content reflects current practice *
RD 24 Mandatory reporting – under review so content reflects current practice *
RD 25 The anaesthetist displaying disruptive behaviour – under review so content reflects current practice *
RD 26 The role of the welfare advocate 2015
RD 27 A manager’s guideline for the sudden death of a colleague 2017

Resource Documents

If you would like to create or request a specific resource document, please click here to view the resource document submission guidelines.

* If you would like to see the old version of this document, please contact: events@anzca.edu.au

Peer Groups Reference Document

The Welfare SIG has produced a reference document on peer groups and how to set them up. Please click here to view the document.

Doctors’ Health Advisory Service

If you are concerned about yourself or a colleague, contact the “hotline” nearest to you.

  • NSW/ACT +61 2 9437 6552
  • Queensland +61 7 3833 4352
  • Victoria +61 3 9280 8712
  • Western Australia +61 8 9321 3098
  • Tasmania +61 3 9280 8712
  • South Australia +61 8 8366 0250
  • Northern Territory +61 8 8366 0250

New Zealand contact numbers

  • Doctor’s Health Advisory Service 0800 471 2654 – 24 hour service
  • Lifeline 0800 543 354 or (09) 5222 999 within Auckland
  • Suicide Crisis Helpline 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)
  • Healthline 0800 611 116
  • Samaritans 0800 726 666
  • Depression Healthline 0800 111 757 or free text 4202 to talk to a trained counsellor about how you are feeling or to ask any questions
  • Alcohol and Drug Helpline 0800 787 797
  • Anxiety phone line 0800 269 4389 (0800 ANXIETY)

Recognising warning signs

Are you enthusiastic for long, difficult or complicated cases? Do you volunteer to work extra shifts or to do extra or late cases on a list? Are you over-anxious to give breaks to your colleagues? Did you know that these are some of the warning signs of drug abuse, according the Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland (AAGBI)? These attributes are also those which are generally valued by anaesthetists, which highlights how difficult it can be to recognise substance misuse amongst our colleagues.

For more warning signs and for strategies on what to do when you suspect someone may have a substance abuse problem, I encourage you to read the Welfare of Anaesthetists Special Interest Group resource document RD 20 Substance Abuse 2013. This and other resource documents can be found on the ANZCA website here.

Recommendations for future articles of the month are welcome. Please contact Events or Dr Suzi Nou (Suzi.Nou@nh.org.au).

Podcasts and other resources

Mindful training under pressure to perform on demand by Patsy Tremayne.
To access this podcast and other resources please login to Networks then click here.

History of the Welfare of Anaesthetists SIG video

Watch the History of the Welfare of Anaesthetists SIG: Dr Di Khursandi and Dr Genevieve Goulding oral history recorded in May 2016.

Useful articles in dropbox

Please contact Events to gain access to dropbox which contains useful welfare articles.


If you would like to join the Welfare SIG, please download an application form.


The executive of the Welfare of Anaesthetists SIG meets regularly, usually via teleconference to discuss matters related to the group’s area of interest.

Position Name Region
Chair Dr Marion Andrew SA
Member Dr Greg Downey NSW
Member Dr Robert Fry NZ
Member Dr Anna Hallett Qld
Member Dr Jane McDonald NSW
Member Dr Suzi Nou Vic
Member Dr Tim Porter SA
Member Dr Kushlani Stevenson Vic
Member Dr Tracey Tay NSW
Member Dr Monika Tecsy ACT
Co-opted Member Dr Ann Marie Stevenson NZ
RANZCP representative Dr Shirley Prager Vic
ASA Representative Dr Antonio Grossi Vic
NZSA Representative Dr Kaye Ottaway NZ
Trainee representative Dr Maryann Turner Qld
Trainee representative Dr Claire Maxwell Qld

For further information contact Events or phone +61 3 9510 6299 or visit the ACE website.

Other activities

  • Articles in the Australian Anaesthetist, ANZCA Bulletin, ASA newsletters and other publications.
  • Doctors’ health advisory services numbers in the Australian Anaesthetist, ANZCA Bulletin and ASA newsletter.
  • Liaison with ANZCA, ASA, NZSA, doctors health advisory services, regional medical boards.