Read the highlights of key issues discussed as part of the 01-2017 meeting, held on 17 February 2017.
The Chapter Committee discussed how to improve linkages and communication between the Chapter and the regions via the State and Territory Committees. Correspondence has been drafted to go to each committee with a Chapter representative to try and formalise a two-way communication process.
Education and training
The Palliative Medicine Communication Skills Workshop will take place again over two days in late July. Facilitator training will also take place for the first time through a two-day workshop to be held in May to increase facilitators in the hope of expanding the workshops in future.
A Spirituality Training Working Party is being established to develop recommendations regarding an existing spirituality training resource to support trainees in meeting the spirituality learning objectives contained in the current Palliative Medicine curriculum and how this training can be made available. An expression of interest process for members is underway.
Members discussed trainees being required to train at more than one site for their core Palliative Medicine term. It was agreed that it is beneficial for trainees to receive exposure to a range of supervisors and experience different work cultures and performance across locations. Trainees often bring back valuable learnings to their original training site as well so benefits are two-way.
However, the Chapter Committee acknowledged that some flexibility is needed regarding training at more than one site through consideration of individual circumstances especially for those in regional areas due to possible personal and professional implications.
Dr Brian Le will be retiring as Chair of the Training Committee in May and is thanked for his dedication and service to the Training and Chapter Committees and the Chapter more broadly.
Policy and advocacy
Members discussed increased activity around legalisation of euthanasia in Victoria. The issue is moving rapidly and Chapter Committee members have found themselves in a difficult position where the issue is no longer being debated; instead it is assumed euthanasia will be legalised and that there will be an expectation that Palliative Medicine physicians will be involved. Therefore there are immense practicalities to consider.
The Committee had a lengthy and detailed discussion with invited guests Dr George Laking (Chair) and Dr Linda Sheahan (member) from the RACP Euthanasia and Physician Assisted Death (EPAD) Working Party.
Members were updated on progress of this Working Party, which enjoys Palliative Medicine good representation with three members. Victorian-based members are keen for the output of the Working Party to include guidance on how to deal with legalisation, and detail on what involvement physicians will have and whether the College is in support of or against legalisation of euthanasia. Producing a statement on behalf of the College as a whole has a range of complexities given the varying views on the issue.
Dr Brian Le, Chair of the Training Committee in Palliative Medicine is taking part in an ethics session at Congress 2017. Prof Paul Komesaroff, President-elect of the Adult Medicine Division will chair the session which will consist of two case studies and audience discussion. The cases will include palliative care and clinical decision-making around end of life care.
The next meeting of the AChPM Committee will take place on Friday 19 May 2017, face-to-face at the College's Sydney office.
Dr Simon Allan, President
Australasian Chapter of Palliative Medicine