AChPM Committee Communiqué October 2016

Read the highlights of key issues discussed as part of the 04-2016 meeting, held on 21 October 2016.


The influence of Palliative Medicine has been very effective in the past few years, especially with training in communication skills which has been highly regarded. Issues from EVOLVE have demonstrated the importance of communication and there has been strong recognition of spirituality training as well.

Education and training

Training remains a chief area of focus for the Committee; to listen and respond to trainee needs and continue to improve Fellow output. The Palliative Medicine training program also continues to grow.

For the first time this year, trainees may be able to claim recognition of prior learning (RPL) for research projects. Trainees are encouraged to have their projects published or present these at conferences/scientific meetings.

The new training handbook will be uploaded onto the College website in December. In the meantime, there is a summary of the new medical oncology changes available.

Dr Brian Le's term as Chair of the Training Committee will end in May 2017 and his successful leadership of this Committee and dedication as Chair is acknowledged.

A number of training-related matters were raised by trainees through the AChPM Committee trainee representative Dr Gauri Gogna, and are summarised and addressed below.

Trainee Forum

The College has set up a trainee Facebook page and enquiries will be made as to whether a specific Palliative Medicine trainee forum can be established through a relevant platform. Privacy and security concerns would need to be considered as well as how this aligns with the existing RACP digital strategy. Any forum would specifically be for trainee and research project matters only and any clinical matters should be raised directly with supervisors.

Regional Training Meetings

The Chapter Committee discussed regional trainee meetings around Australia and New Zealand and is keen to undertake a more formal stocktake to collect information on what each region is doing for their Palliative Medicine trainees. Consideration can then be given to how to better connect trainees around Australia and New Zealand.

Training Pathways

Some concerns were raised that Fellowship of the Chapter (FAChPM) was not as highly regarded as Fellowship of the RACP (FRACP). The Chapter is very united and encouraging of the diversity of entrants to Palliative Medicine because of the wealth of knowledge and experience this brings to the specialty. There is no sense of inferiority between the different Palliative Medicine training pathways, little difference between FAChPM and FRACP specialists in Australia and New Zealand and no plan to alter this excellent model.

Oncology Term Changes

New oncology term changes will be implemented for both Australian and New Zealand new trainees in 2017. There will not be a requirement for log books. All supervisors and trainees should have received a letter during the year in 2016 about the implementation of the new changes. It was noted that a cancer centre is defined as an oncology centre that trains advanced trainees in oncology and needs to be more than 75% oncology related.

Lecture Series

Trainees have raised some concerns about the progression from basic training, another Fellowship into advanced training and, in particular, that diploma trainees would have no prior Palliative Medicine experience. It was queried as to what resources might be available to support them. It was noted there are a series of lectures on breaking bad news and advanced care planning as well as online modules on communication, pain and spirituality. Palliative Care Bridge and Pallicare also have some good resources for trainees.

The Chapter Committee identified some other areas of interest for trainees, especially those during transition to Fellowship:

  • professionalism
  • leadership/management
  • writing a business case
  • liaising with management/engaging with executives
  • how to manage private practice
  • supervision/mentoring
A clinical leadership resource is being considered by the College in relation to which a session on Clinical Leadership had been presented at Congress 2016.

Trainee Email Address

Any training matters should be directed to the Palliative Medicine Education Officer at

Dr Gogna, the trainee representative on the AChPM Committee has also advised trainees of the generic Chapter address as well as her personal Queensland Health address so trainees have alternative options if they wish to query/discuss an issue with peers in the first instance.

Policy and advocacy

The College is increasing opportunities for promotion of EVOLVE lists, as outlined at the Fellows’ Update meeting that took place at the ANZSPM Conference in September 2016.

A/Prof Crawford, the AChPM Committee policy lead, attended his first two-day CPAC meeting in September.

The Euthanasia and Physician-assisted Death Working Party has met twice (once via videoconference and once face-to-face). There are a number of AChPM Fellows on this Working Party, giving Palliative Medicine a strong voice in this space. The Working Party is currently undertaking some scoping before further work on a consultation plan and discussion paper.

There has been good feedback on the End of Life Care Position Statement and further advocacy.

The College has drafted an endorsement policy and process for requests that come in from external stakeholders. This has been circulated to the AChPM Committee for feedback and has been received positively.


The Chapter Committee discussed how to improve linkages and communication between the Chapter and the regions via the state and territory committees.

Communication skills training in 2017 will consist of a workshop and also facilitator training to grow capacity to present this training. The focus will remain on Palliative Medicine trainees and consideration may be given to longer-term College-wide expansion.

The Committee also discussed workforce matters and are keen to see a summary of the work being undertaken by the Medical Oncology Group of Australia (MOGA) which is undertaking a significant workforce project. Work is also being undertaken within the Adult Medicine Division on workforce data and speciality societies will be approached to find out what information they collect, store and analyse.

Feedback has confirmed the ANZSPM Conference held in September was very successful and well received. Workforce concerns are growing and there is strong interest in communication skills and spirituality training. Overall there is a feeling of strength, vibrancy and optimism.

The next meeting of the AChPM Committee will take place on Friday 17 February 2017 via teleconference.

Dr Simon Allan, President
Australasian Chapter of Palliative Medicine
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