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Doctor, heal thyself

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Doctors can be particularly poor in taking their own advice when it comes to looking after their health, as AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton recently pointed out.

“I took a holiday recently and realised that fitness and me were not on the same page,” he told the Health Professionals’ Health Conference in Brisbane earlier this month.

“Upon walking up a ‘very steep hill’ on Lord Howe Island, I took my pulse and found it was 192. If you take the standard formula for maximum heart rate – 220 minus your age – mine is 168.

“Was that a vague chest pain I was feeling? Then and there, my wife made me promise to see my GP – and yes, I will. It’s time for a check-up and time to restart the exercise program.”

“We need to make sure that doctors are looked after,” he said, adding that it was important that doctors make time to do things other than work.

“Work-life balance is important. It could be music, it could be writing, it could be bushwalking, it could be spending time with your family – but it’s not all about work.

“It’s vital that doctors look after their health. We need to be healthy to offer the best care to our patients, and to experience rewarding and satisfying careers.”

Adrian Rollins