SLHD – Dr Teresa Anderson on ‘’Changing the Language” and “Starting the Conversation Early” for SLHD Trainees


( L to R - Gina Finocchiaro, Andrew Holland,  Dr Teresa Anderson, Juliette Rex, Dr Sanjay Hettige ) 


Dr Sanjay Hettige, Andrew Holland and Juliette Rex met with SLHD Chief Executive Dr Teresa Anderson earlier this week to learn more about the SLHD’s plans to remove the distinction between ‘accredited trainees’ vs ‘unaccredited trainees’. Changing the language so that all SLHD staff understand that all their JMOs are Trainees. Recognising that it’s the JMO’s position that differentiates whether they are accredited or unaccredited.

Dr Anderson confirmed that although it’s early stages for SLHD, significant efforts have been made to start the conversations early amongst its staff, including senior and junior doctors to:

  • discern the different skills or different stages of development of their trainees;
  • consider how to better foster the skills of their trainees;
  • understand what it takes for unaccredited trainees to get onto a vocational training program;
  • develop training plans for unaccredited trainees and accredited trainees;
  • establish a ‘District Director of Training’ as the ‘DPET’ equivalent for unaccredited trainees;
  • establish and develop position descriptions for a ‘Supervisor of Training’ and/or ‘District Director of Training’ for unaccredited trainees;
  • engage appropriate professionals to assist doctors in problem solving rather than conflict resolution;
  • engage appropriate trained professionals who can also be seen to be an advocate for the trainee in the workplace on matters of training, supervision, practical workloads;
  • consider how to better modulate their tone when raising any issues or concerns, as and when they arise;
  • consider better ways to support trainees with ‘Flexible Training’ when returning to continue their medical profession;
  • confirm that she considers it’s the employer’s responsibility to support female trainees that want to job-share. NOT trainees to find someone to job-share with in order to return to the workforce etc

Dr Anderson talked about the success of SLHD’s BPTOK Pilot Program which lead to the establishment of SLHD’s MDOK Program which also saw the appointment of Bethan Richards as the Chief Medical Wellness Officer to drive cultural and systemic change in health, and reduce stress and burnout among junior and senior doctors. For more see [link]

Dr Anderson also indicated she has consulted with certain colleges, the MoH and other CE’s of NSW Health Districts about SLHD’s plans to better support its trainees, including considering engaging a health economist to evaluate and advise on matters of quality, safety and economic management. Importantly, to ensure that any evaluation is also evidence based.

We also learned of other SLHD’s projects such as the annual Innovation Symposium; Women’s Leadership Breakfast for Leaders in Medicine; and series of Masterclasses on topical matters such as conflict resolution and clinical governance amongst many others.

We expressed our keen interest to participate and contribute to these plans of SLHD. Dr Anderson confirmed she would be happy to include and work with the Alliance relevant Colleges.

ASMOF Industrial Officer Juliette Rex will continue to participate in this process with SLHD for our members.

For now, we ask all unaccredited and accredited DiTs across NSW Health to take every opportunity to encourage your colleagues, supervisors, management, peer groups to:

  • closely monitor SLHD plans and encourage your employer to Change their Language to “Trainees”; and
  • Start Conversations Early relevant to achieve and sustain a positive, supportive and healthy cultural and systematic changes in NSW Health for both junior and senior doctors.

Any comments and/or concerns should be directed to or