#138 IWD Staff Member profile: Kay Dunkley
6 March 2020
We are celebrating the achievements of our female members to mark International Women’s Day on Sunday 8 March and also highlighting the work some of our staff members do to support doctors. This year’s theme is #EachforEqual: An equal world is an enabled world. AMA Victoria strongly supports a gender equal world and medical profession. In our International Women’s Day profile series, we’re introducing you to some of our dedicated staff.
Introducing: Kay Dunkley
What is your current role at AMA Victoria?
Coordinator of Doctor Wellbeing.
What type of work do you do on behalf of members?
I support the volunteers who provide the Peer Support Service and the Peer Visitor Program. The Peer Support Service is a seven day a week telephone line which any doctor or medical student in Victoria or Tasmania can ring to talk anonymously to a peer about any issue which is causing them stress. The contact number is 1300 853 338 and this service is available between 8am and 10pm every day of the year.
The Peer Visitor Program matches volunteer medical students and doctors with elderly doctors who may be isolated living at home or in aged care facilities.
In addition, if a member of AMA Victoria has particular needs in relation to their wellbeing, I will assist them to find any resources and assistance that may be helpful to their situation.
Another aspect of my role is to liaise with other organisations or groups working in the area of doctor wellbeing and when possible enable AMA Victoria to work collaboratively with these organisations.
I am also involved in coordinating our Mentoring Program in conjunction with the Career Advisors, Mardi O’Keefe and Carolyn Speed. We see mentoring as encompassing both wellbeing and also career development.
What is the best part about your work?
Working with the members who volunteer as peer supporters, peer visitors or mentors gives me a lot of satisfaction. These volunteers are giving back to their profession and it is really inspiring to see this at every level of AMA Victoria, from medical students right though to retired doctors. To me, this is the essence of a membership organisation like AMA Victoria. This is an organisation which is owned by doctors for the benefit of the medical profession.
I also really enjoy networking with our members and others who work with the medical profession to make things happen or bring about change.
What is the hardest part about your work?
Resource limitations frustrate me, whether it is time, money or human resources. Those who know me well will know that I am not happy when told that something cannot be done. I have a tendency to persist and push the boundaries.
If you were Health Minister for a day, what changes would you make to the health system?
If I was the Federal Health Minister, I would be seeking the constitutional change which is needed to remove the separation of healthcare funding between the Federal and State Governments; therefore removing the barriers between acute health care and primary health care, and enabling patients to transition smoothly between hospital care and community care. This would improve patient care by reducing care fragmentation and remove the incentive for cost shifting.
If I was the State Health Minister in Victoria, I would mandate that the Electronic Medical Record system was universal in all Victorian hospitals, both public and private, to enable a single medical record for all patients. This would undoubtedly improve patient care and also reduce password stress among the doctors who work at multiple hospitals. I would also be seeking to ensure that GPs could view the hospital-based record when reviewing a recently discharged patient.
What do you enjoy doing away from AMA Victoria?
When I am not at AMA Victoria I am usually working in my other role as the Executive Officer of the Pharmacists’ Support Service. In this role I work with about 40 pharmacist volunteers, plus a Board and my role includes attending conferences, coordinating the roster, governance duties as Secretary, managing finances, administration, provision of education and preparing submissions.
To relax, I enjoy walking on the beach, gardening, reading books, watching movies, travelling and spending time with my family.