Welfare of Anaesthetists SIG

Welfare of Anaesthetists

For welfare resources click here


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.



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.



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, guidance (but not direct treatment or referral) for appropriate management of physician health problems.



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.



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.



2017 Meetings

2017 Combined Communication, Education, Leadership and Management, and Welfare SIG Meeting
October 27-29, 2017, Novotel Twin Waters, Sunshine Coast, Queensland.
“Confident competence: Creating and maintaining our abilities”.
Registrations are now open. Please click here to visit the meeting website.


2016 Meetings

2016 Welfare of Anaesthetists SIG Meeting – Satellite meeting to the ASA NSC
September 16, 2016, Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, VIC. "Be your best self".
Registrations are now open. Please visit the meeting website for further information.

2016 Combined Communication, Education, Management and Welfare SIG Meeting
October 7-9, 2016, Novotel Sydney Manly Pacific, NSW. "Building Resilience - Reflections, Culture and Changing Minds".
Registrations are now open for the meeting.  Please click here to visit the meeting website



75th National Scientific Congress (NSC) of the Australian Society of Anaesthetists (ASA)

The Welfare of Anaesthetists SIG will hold a session at the 75th National Scientific Congress (NSC) of the Australian Society of Anaesthetists (ASA) on Sunday September 18 at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.  Please see below the session time and titles.

11-1.00pm Gender Literacy: Where are you in the Conversation?

Gender literacy: what is it and why is it important? Speaker from ChalkCircle

Where are all the women? Dr Ruth Mitchell

Where are all the men? 

Talking to our trainees and colleagues. Staying enlightened in the age of harassment and bullying, Speaker from MIGA


The biannual Welfare SIG Newsletter.  Please see below the newsletters.

February 2016

July 2015

August 2014

January 2014

July 2013



AGM Minutes

2014 Welfare AGM held September 14, 2014.


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:

RD 01 Personal Health Strategies 2011 
RD 02  Financial Issues 2011 
RD 03  Depression and Anxiety 2011  
RD 04  Retirement 2011 
RD 05 Critical Incident Support 2011 
RD 06 Training and Examinations 2011 
RD 07 Sexual Misconduct 2011 
RD 08 Mentors 2011 
RD 09 Why don’t you have your own GP ? 2011 
RD 10 Breaking Bad News 2011 
RD 11 After a Major Mishap 2011

RD 12 The isolated anaesthetist - PILOT
RD 13 Impairment in a Colleague 2011 
RD 14 Medico-legal issues 2011 
RD 15 Training and Family Responsibilities 2011 
RD 16 Welfare Issues in the Anaesthetic Department 
RD 17 Infectious Diseases 2011 
RD 18 Latex Allergy 2011 
RD 19 Ergonomics 2011 
RD 20 Substance Abuse 2013 
RD 21 Organ Donation 2011 

RD 22 Bullying and Harassment 2011
RD 23 Communication Consent 2011  
RD 24 Mandatory Reporting 2011  
RD 25 The Disruptive Anaesthetist 2011 

RD 26 The role of the welfare officer - 2015


Resource Documents

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


Doctor's Health Advisory Service

If you are concerned about yourself or a colleague, contact the "hot-line" nearest to you


NSW/NT  +61 2 9437 6552
ACT +61 2 6288 6008
+61 7 3833 4352
Vic +61 3 9349 3504
WA +61 8 9321 3098
Tas +61 3 6223 2047
SA +61 8 8273 4111
NZ (04) 471 2654 (NZ only)


Welcome to the first ANZCA Welfare SIG ‘article of the “month”’. The topic of substance abuse amongst our colleagues has frequently and recently been discussed by the SIG.  This article sought to establish how common the problem is, who it affects and what is being done about it in our region.  The survey has recently been repeated and the results will be published soon.  Until then, let us review where we were in 2005.  Also keep a look out for our ‘article of the month’ in the ANZCA Bulletin.


Fry, RA. Substance Abuse by Anaesthetists in Australia and New Zealand.  Anaesthesia and Intensive Care, 2005; 33: 248-255


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).  



All articles below are "produced by the Australian Society of Anaesthetists and reproduced with permission"


Caring for you
Returning to work after illness
Returning to work after maternity leave
The isolated anaesthetist
The role of the welfare officer
Trainee welfare
Transition to retirement
Wellness: A professional obligation



If you would like to join the Welfare SIG, please download an application form or contact the SIG Coordinator Events or phone +61 3 9510 6299.



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
Co-opted Member Dr Prani Shrivastava WA
Co-opted Member Dr Diana Khursandi Qld
Member Dr Tim Porter SA
Co-opted Member Dr Catherine Purdy NZ
Member Dr Greg Downey NSW
Member Dr Robert Fry NZ
Member Dr Tracey Tay NSW
RANZCP representative (co opted) Dr Shirley Prager Vic
Member Dr Kushlani Stevenson Vic
Member Dr Jenny Plummer Tas
Member  Dr Suzi Nou  NT
MemberDr Anna Hallett QLD 
Member Dr Monika Tecsy ACT
Trainee representative Dr Nirooshan Rooban WA  




    The Welfare of Anaesthetists SIG Executive will meet on the following dates in 2016:

    Tuesday 1st March, 6pm - Teleconference
    Monday 2nd May, 12pm NZ time - business meeting at the ANZCA ASM
    Tuesday 5 July, 6pm Melbourne time - Teleconference
    Sunday 9 October, 7.30am NSW time - AGM at the Combined Meeting
    Tuesday 6th December, 6pm - Teleconference 

    For further information:Events, phone +61 3 9510 6299 or visit the ANZCA website.


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