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New senior doctor joins DVA (Vetaffairs Summer 2019)

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Dr Trish Batchelor has recently joined DVA in the newly created role of Deputy Chief Health Officer. She will support the Chief Health Officer Dr Jenny Firman and, among other things, improve the way DVA interacts with general practitioners (GPs).

Trish became a GP herself more than 25 years ago. She remains a practising GP and occupational physician – a specialty of medicine that focuses on the relationships between workers, their workplaces and their work practices. She also has a Master of Public Health.

‘I think there’s a lot of value in having that sort of broad background when we’re looking at veterans in terms of the determinants of health,’ she says.

‘[There’s] a recognition that there’s probably a need for more medical people within the Australia Public Service and to get us involved in the policy-making side of things earlier on to make sure that it makes sense medically.

portrait photo of smiling, blond woman, Dr Trish Batchelor.

Dr Trish Batchelor

‘The fact that Transformation is happening [at DVA] is very appealing and that there’s this wellness and wellbeing focus. I also saw the opportunity to do a job that could influence a lot of people’s health. So from a public health perspective, that was very appealing to me.’

Trish has also worked in Garrison Health with the Department of Defence as well as overseas in places such as New Zealand, Vietnam, Nepal and India. Immediately prior to DVA, she was the Principal Medical Adviser at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and before that was Consultant Medical Adviser at the Australian Federal Police.

Born in England, Trish moved to Australia with her family when her father Lt Col Alan Batchelor (Ret’d), then an officer in the 7 Parachute Regiment, Royal Horse Artillery, transferred to the Australian Army in 1967 so that he could serve in Vietnam, which he did with 1 Field Regiment, Royal Australian Artillery.

Her decision to work at DVA was motivated partly by a desire to pay tribute to his service, but also to be of service herself to the veteran community.

‘We should never forget that at any time they could have made the ultimate sacrifice. It’s important to remember that.’ 

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