Our Policy & Advocacy wins in 2018

Date published:
18 Dec 2018

From securing a review of regulations governing the artificial stone benchtop industry, to implementing the most successful RACP social media campaign ever to get #kidsoffnauru – 2018 has seen RACP members secure a range of significant policy and advocacy achievements.

In early 2018 members of the Australasian Chapter of Addiction Medicine members led advocacy to support the upholding of a Therapeutics Goods Administration (TGA) decision to up-schedule codeine. This was despite strong pressures from the Pharmacy Guild to reverse the decision. The upschedule proceeded as planned.

In May, we developed and released the Medical Specialist Access Framework and an online resource. These will help Australia’s medical community provide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with better access to specialist medical services.

At an RACP hosted forum in Canberra in August, the Health Minister announced funding for a Child Health Action Plan. Since then we have worked with the Department of Health and the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth (ARACY) on development of the National Action Plan. We hosted the first of three consultation forums in November to shape this essential step towards helping Australia’s children and young people reach and maintain their optimal health.

Members of the Faculty of Occupational and Environmental Medicine joined with the Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand to successfully call for urgent action by regulators to address a public health crisis – an outbreak of the life-threatening lung disease accelerated silicosis impacting workers in the artificial stone benchtop industry. Members saw a significant step towards protecting workers when COAG Health Ministers agreed to review standards and regulations governing the artificial stone benchtop industry at their October meeting.

In October an RACP delegation attended several meetings with Parliamentarians in Canberra, continuing efforts to end the offshore detention of refugee and asylum seeker children. Fellows gave first-hand descriptions of the plight of asylum seeker children and the medical conditions they have had.  This made a significant impact on the MPs visited. In addition, the College led its most successful social media campaign #doctorsforasylumseekers and we equipped our members with a toolkit to undertake direct advocacy with their local MPs.

This year Professor Niki Ellis join the College Policy and Advocacy Council (CPAC Council) as Chair. Council representatives of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, Māori, Trainee, Divisions, Faculties, Chapters and Regional RACP Committees are working together to model new ways of increasing engagement and greater delegation of policy and advocacy to expert groups within the RACP. The CPAC Council is also exploring ways to engage the wider membership in College policy and advocacy.  

“Our responses to national and state health care matters is dependent on the engagement of our members,” Professor Ellis says.

“I thank people for taking the time to read and respond to calls for input from the Policy & Advocacy Team and for your participation on the working groups of the CPAC Council.”

RACP President Associate Professor Mark Lane says the RACP is highly regarded for its expert and essential input to matters of health policy and health care delivery.

“This does not just happen, it is the outcome of careful consideration, reading and responses from our members across many specialties,” he says.

“It makes a difference. I would like to acknowledge the valuable and essential input that many members make to the College’s national (in Australia and New Zealand) and local (state, territory and regional) policy and advocacy work.”

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