The GP Support Program
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners is committed to supporting members in their pursuit of clinical excellence and ensuring that general practice remains a satisfying and rewarding vocation. The college also recognises that maintaining a healthy work/life balance is essential for general practitioners to create the best possible practice environment for our members and the patients we serve.
From time to time issues arise in our lives that cause concern. They can lead to sleepless nights, an inability to stay focused, feeling down generally and a sense that we have no control. Regardless of where they come from, they can weigh us down and affect all areas of life including our ability to function well at work.
Supporting the wellbeing of general practitioners
The GP Support Program is a free service offered by the RACGP in line with the college's commitment to foster a culture of self care amongst general practitioners. It is available to all Australian RACGP members who are registered medical practitioners, regardless of where you live or work. Members can access professional advice to help cope with life's stressors which may include personal and work related issues that can impact on their wellbeing, work performance, safety, workplace morale and psychological health.
The GP Support Program can provide help to RACGP members with a range of issues, including:
- handling work pressures
- managing conflict
- grief and loss
- relationship issues
- concerns about children
- anxiety and depression
- alcohol and drug issues
- traumatic incidents.
Who provides the service?
The service is delivered by Optum Health & Technology Australia, a global organisation who have been a part of the Australian EAP landscape since 1977. Optum has Quality Systems for development and delivery of employee and member assistance programs, trauma and critical incident stress debriefing services and training, which conforms with Australian and New Zealand international quality standards. (AS/NZS ISO 9001:2008)
Optum’s EAP services are designed to address the health and wellbeing of employees deeply and effectively. Rapid and accurate issue assessment is crucial to the effectiveness and efficiency of any EAP. Optum have a unique, research-based methodology underpinning our delivery of EAP services: our Behavioural Health Model. Under our Model, Optum supports a broad range of work and life issues, making it easy for employees to access support in times of even mild stress.
The counselling methodology adopted by Optum is a short term, cognitive-behavioural approach for the treatment of many types of emotional, behavioural and interpersonal issues. It is a collaborative and individualised program that helps to identify unhelpful thoughts and behaviours and learn or relearn healthier skills and habits.
All Optum Clinicians are to be four year degree qualified, with at least three years clinical experience. Psychologists are to be registered with the Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and Social Workers are to be registered with the Australia Association of Social Workers (AASW).
Optum is able to support RACGP employees and members through the GP Support Program in a wide range of Metro, Regional and Rural locations across Australia. Optum has one of the world’s most extensive associate practitioner networks. With an ever updating list of locations Nationwide, Optum will find the most convenient office for you to attend.
For further information on the nearest office location, please contact Optum’s National Contact Centre on 1300 361 008
Making an appointment
Appointments for face-to-face or telephone counselling during business hours can be made by calling 1300 361 008 (Office hours are 8.30 am to 6.00 pm Monday to Friday. Your call will be answered by Optum’s caring and professional team of EAP Coordinators. The initial registration take 3-5 minutes. Take your time and be guided by the EAP Coordinators
For traumatic incidents or crisis counselling call Optum on the same number 1300 361 008 (24 hours/7 days).
If you have any queries about how this service operates, please call the RACGP member helpline on 1800 331 626. Your queries will be handled discreetly.
Q. Is this a free service?
A. Yes. Three free consultations have been made available to all RACGP members who are registered medical practitioners.
Q. What if I require further counselling sessions? Are these also free?
A. Your psychologist will assess whether you require further assistance. They may either request additional free counselling sessions or they may refer you to another specialist who can provide further support.
Q. What if I experience difficulties in other areas of my life? Am I eligible for more sessions?
A. GP members can access three free sessions of counselling per presenting issue. If you are experiencing multiple concerns in your life, your psychologist may recommend additional free counselling sessions.
Q. Is the service confidential?
A. Absolutely. Your situation is dealt with in the strictest confidence by the Optum Psychologist.
Q. Will I see the same psychologist for each counselling session?
A. Yes, the same psychologist will conduct each session. If, for any reason, you would like to see a different psychologist just talk to one of Optum’s EAP Corrdinators
Q. How long is a consultation?
A. Generally, each session will last for about one hour.