AChPM Committee Communiqué May 2017

Read the highlights of key issues discussed as part of the 02-2017 meeting, held on 19 May 2017.


College Council

Dr Peter Poon has been reappointed to the College Council as AChPM representative for a further term of two years.

By-Law Review

The Chapter Committee undertook its annual review of the AChPM By-Law and will make some changes to ensure consistent use of terminology and more clearly reflect that members hold office for two-year terms, for a maximum of three consecutive terms.

2018 Pre-Planning

Pre-planning for 2018 is underway. The Committee identified a potential gap in training for the practical application of symptom management and will discuss further whether an online training module/s could be developed.

Members are also keen for the recommendations that flow from the Spirituality Training Working Party to be operationalised to provide options for trainees in meeting the spirituality learning objectives contained in the current Palliative Medicine curriculum.

Education and training

Training Committee Membership and Trainee Numbers

Three members of the Training Committee in Palliative Medicine have retired, however the Training Committee is lucky to have received a number of applications to fill these vacancies. Newly appointed members are a mix of new and longer-standing Fellows from metro and regional areas. The New Zealand representative position is still currently vacant.

Dr Brian Le has retired from the role of Chair of the Training Committee in Palliative Medicine and has also stepped down as education and training lead on the AChPM Committee. Dr Amy Waters has now filled these positions as the new Chair.

There are currently 126 adult Palliative Medicine trainees, 11 Paediatric trainees and 52 Clinical Diploma trainees. Paediatric training is increasing in Australia and New Zealand and there is a mix of training through the FRACP and FAChPM pathways leading to good diversity for the Fellowship.

Oncology Training Term

The new oncology training term has received largely positive feedback, allowing for greater training flexibility. It has only been implemented for those commencing training this year and current trainees are unable to switch to the new program. The Medical Oncology Training Committee has also been very supportive; some new members of the Palliative Medicine Training Committee also hold dual Medical Oncology Fellowship.

Communication Skills Workshop

Another successful Palliative Medicine Communication Skills Workshop was held on 24 - 26 July with 25 participants. The College also recently held a Facilitator Workshop on 30 and 31 May to train new facilitators for these workshops, of which seven Fellows attended.

Spirituality Training Working Party

The Spirituality Training Working Party met on 3 July and members agreed on a task list in preparation for their face-to-face meeting on 9 August. Work includes reviewing learning objectives, investigation of spirituality training activity internationally, and development of a survey for AChPM members to determine how they currently meet spirituality learning objectives.

Policy and advocacy

Ethics Session

Dr Le participated in the Ethics in Practice session at RACP Congress in May. The AChPM Committee was provided with a copy of the slides of Dr Le’s case presentation which had been highly interactive with voting questions posed to the audience who responded through a smart phone app. There was also a discussion about legislation across the states and territories and power of attorney.

Discussion Paper on Medical Assistance in Dying

The Committee discussed the RACP discussion paper on medical assistance in dying, developed by the Euthanasia and Physician Assisted Death (EPAD) Working Party. The discussion paper was released widely to members and specialty societies. The consultation is now closed and has provided a high volume of quality feedback which is currently being reviewed.


Narrative Workshop

David Jamieson, RACP Marketing and Communication Manager and staff from Essential Media Communications (EMC) were in attendance at the AChPM Committee meeting to facilitate a consultative narrative statement workshop. The outcome from this workshop is to develop a series of concise descriptive phrases and narrative statements, designed to resonate broadly with members of the Chapter and serve the Chapter in its communications with stakeholders.


Australian and New Zealand Society of Palliative Medicine (ANZSPM) governance changes have taken place, with the ANZSPM Executive Officer role now split into two new roles; Operations Manager and CEO. The society now also has a physical office in Canberra.

ANZSPM has revised its euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide position statement and put forward a submission to the Victorian Discussion Paper on a Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill.

The ANZSPM Update Meeting was held from 23 to 24 June in Melbourne and there is also a New Zealand education day and trainee day to be held in Christchurch. A trainee day will be held at the Palliative Care Australia (PCA) Conference in September and planning is underway for the next ANZSPM conference in Sydney next year.

The next meeting of the AChPM Committee will take place on Friday 18 August 2017 via teleconference.

Dr Simon Allan, President
Australasian Chapter of Palliative Medicine
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