Pot-pourri eBulletin 16 November 2018

President's Message 

Great news, The RACP and PCHD advocacy for the transfer of children from Nauru has been successful with the recent announcement by the Prime Minister that all children and their families will be off Nauru by Christmas. As Paediatricians we have responded and rallied together. We of course remain vigilant and deeply concerned for these children and their families, and strongly urge the government to transfer the children immediately for treatment and care. I thank particularly Professor David Isaacs for the key role he has played as a spokesperson on this issue.

Another success, this time directly relevant both to New Zealand and Australia. Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) recently agreed to the introduction of a mandatory labelling standard for pregnancy warning labels on packaged alcoholic beverages to replace the current voluntary standard. FSANZ will conduct public consultations in March 2019 about the best way to implement this. The PCHD strongly supports mandatory pregnancy warning labels as a key part of education on the risks to the fetus of alcohol in pregnancy. The RACP has also supported the WA Alcohol and Youth Action Coalition and their objective to promote action to reduce harm from alcohol among young people through a Minimum Floor Price for Alcohol in Western Australia. If introduced, this will be an important step in harm minimisation amongst young people.

The RACP has also recently supported the health campaign No Time for Games, a children’s health initiative run by Doctors for the Environment Australia (DEA). The campaign is based on a report no time for games: children’s health and climate change and aims to shift the climate change debate to a strong focus on children’s health and that of future generations. Climate change has many implications and as paediatricians we need to be aware of the impacts this will have on future generations and their health.

It is good seeing outputs from members engaged in PCHD committees. Keep an eye out in our Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health (JPCH) for a brief report written by two members of Council, Professor Mark Davies and Dr Chris Pearson responding to a coronial recommendation to the RACP PCHD to alert us to the importance of early recognition and management of the potentially lethal condition of herpes simplex virus (HSV) encephalitis.

I recently had the pleasure of meeting the President of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health on a visit to the RACP. As the first Australian to be President of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) and, with impending regulatory changes related to Brexit, we plan to work with them to explore new opportunities to develop training and employment opportunities between countries.

The PCHD Council met recently via teleconference and finalised our two-year work plan. Following Board review, we will begin progressing these initiatives and I will keep you updated.

Professor Paul Colditz
President, Paediatrics & Child Health Division

Short Term Volunteer Mission - Fiji

Fiji National University's (FNU) College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences (CMNHS), has contacted the RACP seeking nominations from Fellows with experience as Paediatric Health Educators to take up short term volunteer teaching roles with FNU, CMNHS. More information may be found on the RACP website here.


  • Up to six teaching roles
  • Up to three external examiner roles (rotated on an annual basis)

To Apply

If you meet the selection criteria (see website) and are interested in nominating then please send:

  • a copy of your CV including contact details,
  • a full description of your international development work in the field of Paediatrics (separate to your CV),
  • your preferred teaching topics (if nominating for the teaching roles),
  • an Australian/New Zealand Police check (including working with children check, or alternatively noting your willingness to undertake such a check),
  • at least one referee FNU may contact regarding your health educator teaching experience.

Please nominate which role/s you wish to be considered for (teaching and/or external examiner). 

Please send your details to international@racp.edu.au by 5.00pm, 30 November 2018.

Rue Wright Memorial Award 

The Rue Wright Memorial Award is appointed to a Fellow or trainee who demonstrates excellence in hypothesis, scientific merit and relevance to Community Child Health in an oral presentation at the RACP Congress.

Applications are now open via the RACP Congress website. The closing date for applications for will be Monday, 4 February 2019. Members are urged to promote this to interested colleagues. For more information, see the RACP website.

Consultation on National Action Plan for Children’s Health for 2020 – 2030

The Australian Government Department of Health is developing a Child Health Action Plan. The Action Plan aims to improve the health and wellbeing of all children and young people in Australia over the next decade, especially those at the greatest risk of poor health. The development of the Plan was announced by the Minister for Health at The Royal Australasian College of Physicians’ August forum on inequities in child health at Parliament House in Canberra.

The Action Plan will build on Healthy, Safe and Thriving, the National Strategic Framework for Child and Youth Health. It will identify what is required to improve health outcomes for children and young people, and provide a framework for action.

A series of roundtable workshops are being coordinated throughout November, including one at the RACP’s Sydney office.

There will be an opportunity to provide written comments to the consultation process in the coming months. The RACP’s Policy and Advocacy Unit would welcome input from any paediatricians who would like to be involved.

As timelines are expected to be short, any paediatrician who would like to provide input should express their interest at racpconsult@racp.edu.au. We will contact you directly in the coming months when consultation opportunities arise.

Paediatrician named ACT Senior Australian of the Year

Dr Suzanne Packer AM has been recognised for her decades of work tirelessly advocating for the rights of children. Other achievements that saw Dr Packer be named ACT Senior Australian of the Year include:

  • playing a leading role in child abuse prevention through the National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect,
  • championing the importance of early childhood environments for the developing brain,
  • being a driving force behind the acknowledgement of the importance of creating child-friendly spaces in hospitals and the value of play in recovery.

The RACP congratulates Dr Packer on this extraordinary achievement and well deserved recognition of her outstanding commitment to paediatrics and child health.

Read more

Expressions of Interest – RACP Fellowship Committee Specialty Society Representative

An opportunity has arisen for a RACP Fellow who is a Specialty Society member to join the RACP Fellowship Committee. 

The Fellowship Committee is a peak RACP Board Committee that works closely with all College bodies to support the enhancement of services to Members and identify ways to increase the engagement of Members across the College. The Fellowship Committee meets four times per year; twice face-to-face and twice via teleconference.

The successful candidate will work collegially with other Members to make recommendations to the Board on important issues that will impact all Members of the College. Areas that the Fellowship Committee is responsible for include:

  • Oversight of development of member services.
  • Developing processes to support the pastoral care needs of Fellows.
  • Engagement surveys to assess the engagement of members and their satisfaction with College services.
  • The College’s cultural assets, including the History of Medicine Library.
  • College Congress, Ceremony and College wide celebrations and events.
  • The process of awarding Honorary Fellowships, College awards and Medals.
  • Management of the College elections and generic rules and guidelines as appropriate.

The RACP invites College Fellows belonging to a Specialty Society to submit an EOI for this opportunity. If you are interested in being involved, please complete the attached expression of interest form and submit it to Fellowship.Committee@racp.edu.au by 30 November 2018.

Further details of the vacancy are available here. 

Personalised Closed Loop Systems for Childhood Diabetes

Researchers from the University of Melbourne and the Royal Children’s Hospital are conducting a research project considering the views of health professionals about closed loop systems for children under 18 with type 1 diabetes.

Closed loop systems use free open source software (from websites such as OpenAPS) with a control algorithm to link a continuous glucose monitor with an insulin pump so that subcutaneous insulin is delivered automatically, based on real-time glucose levels.

They want to hear from paediatricians caring for children with type 1 diabetes. They are interested to find out more about your understanding of closed loop systems and your experiences and attitudes about children under 18 ‘looping.’

They invite you to take part in their survey, which should take no more than 20 minutes to complete.  Please click here to access the survey. 

Ethics approval for the study has been granted by the University of Melbourne School of Population and Global Health Human Ethics Advisory Group (Ethics ID Number: 1852779.1)

For more information please contact Dr Carolyn Johnston, Senior Research Fellow at +61 3 90354799  or carolyn.johnston@unimelb.edu.au

International Society for Social Paediatrics and Child Health (ISSOP) eBulletin

The ISSOP is an interdisciplinary, non-governmental, non-profit making, scientific body open to all child health professionals. ISSOP promotes knowledge of social paediatrics, to stimulate research in this field, to disseminate such knowledge at meetings and to work together with national and international agencies. 

The latest ISSOP e-bulletin is online now.

Urogynaecological Mesh Senate Inquiry

The Australian Government has tabled its response to the Senate Community Affairs Reference Committee Urogynaecological Mesh Inquiry. A copy of the Government’s response is available on the Department of Health’s website. In addition, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has launched a web hub to help consumers and health professionals find information about urogynaecological surgical mesh.

New approach for 2019 Divisional Clinical Examination scoring

A new approach to scoring candidates’ performance in the Divisional Clinical Examinations was approved by the College Education Committee on 2 November 2018. The way that candidates need to prepare for the examination has not changed: candidates still need to demonstrate the same skills and competencies as they have in past years.  The Divisional Clinical Examinations will continue to consist of two long cases and four short cases involving real-patient situations. 

The changes in 2019 will include:

  • A clarified examination purpose, and definitions of the long case and the short case.
  • Improved scoring guides for examiners that link the purpose of the exam to the candidate scores and guide the application of a new six-point scoring scale.
  • A score combination grid to combine each candidate’s scores for the long cases and short cases, determining their overall pass/fail outcome.

Details of the changes for the 2019 Divisional Clinical Examination, scoring guides, videos explaining the new approach, and examples of how the score combination approach works, along with other information, is available on the RACP website’s exam information page.

Physician Training Surveys 

The Physician Training Surveys are open until Sunday, 2 December 2018. We invite you to complete your survey and encourage your colleagues to complete theirs – a high response rate means areas of excellence can be recognised and training can be improved. To thank you for your participation, you can enter a prize draw to win one of four 256GB iPads.

All eligible participants* have been emailed their survey link. If you can’t find it - please check your junk folder. If you believe you are eligible but have not received a link, please contact Celeste Gilbert from the RACP survey team at accreditationreview@racp.edu.au

The information you provide is strictly confidential and will be used for research purposes only. Your responses will have all identifying details removed and will then be aggregated.

If you would like to verify the study, or have any questions about how the data will be used, please consult the RACP survey website or contact Member Services.

*As the survey is reviewing specific clinical aspects of training, trainees and educators in the below Divisions, Faculties or Chapters are not eligible:

  • Clinical Diploma of Palliative Medicine
  • Nuclear Medicine (RANZCR trainees)
  • Nuclear Medicine Positron Emission Tomography
  • Occupational and Environmental Medicine (AFOEM)
  • Palliative Medicine - Chapter
  • Public Health Medicine (AFPHM)
  • Time-limited Intensive Care pathway to FRACP (Adult Internal Medicine or Paediatrics and Child Health)

Time to Recharge with up to 60 per cent off at selected hotels

RACP members have access to the buying power of the world’s largest online travel agency, offering over 100,000 promotional deals and competitive rates on hotel accommodation in more than 71,000 locations worldwide.

No matter your destination or whether it’s for business or leisure, browse through an extensive range of properties, from resorts, villas to executive apartments and five-star luxury suites.

To access this benefit, visit your RACP Member Advantage website or call 1300 853 352.

Terms and Conditions apply. Savings dependent on availability and location. Information correct as at 7/11/2018.

Pot-Pourri submissions welcome

To submit an article for publishing in Pot-pourri, please email paed@racp.edu.au. The article should be no more than 350 words. If you would like to submit an image with your article, it would be assumed that you have received appropriate permission to use the photo and it needs to be of high resolution, above 300 dpi. Please note that articles may need to be edited by the RACP Communications Team.

Update your details with the college

Did you know that you can now update your address details online? Simply Login to MyRACP and go to “Edit my details”.

Expressions of interest

  • PCHD Council
  • Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine Committee
  • Basic Trainee Representative for the Paediatrics & Child Health Division Education Committee
  • RACP Fellowship Committee Specialty Society Representative

Career Opportunities  

Staff Specialist in Paediatric Cardiology (Permanent Full-Time): John Hunter Hospital, Newcastle
Reference number: 431523
Closing date: Sunday, 25 November 2018

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