AFOEM eBulletin - 13 December 2019

Report on ANZSOM Annual Scientific Meeting

The annual ANZSOM ASM was held in Adelaide from 27-30 October 2019, with AFOEM being a collaborative partner for the first time. The event was extremely successful and was a testament to the synergy between the bodies.

With over 180 full delegates and over 210 total registrations, the conference was well supported, with many non-ANZSOM AFOEM members and many new ANZSOM members joining from the Faculty.
Dr Gary Franklin was the international keynote speaker, with talks on the genesis of the opioid epidemic, its effects and how jurisdictions in the US have started to combat the issue and attempt to reverse some of the damage done. He also spoke on the application of evidence-based therapies, and identifying and actively avoiding commonly used therapies with evidence of harm.
Professor Lorimer Moseley and Professor Mark Hutchinson gave updates on current pain science.  Other topics included heat stress, sleep and fatigue, severe burn management and new technology, research methodology, occupational hygiene and the vehicle as a workplace.
A well-attended multidisciplinary panel discussion session was held with updates on the artificial stone silicosis situation, reviewing the current control, radiological findings (or lack thereof) and screening recommendations and potential treatments. 
Site visits included trips to ship and submarine facilities and Haigh’s chocolate.
The first Kevin Sleigh Memorial Presentation was given by Dr Bianca Cheong 'Risk factors for work absence in mental health claims', having won the 2019 Ramazzini prize.
The dinner was held at the National Wine Centre with entertainment from international award winning concert pianist Konstantin Shamray, with wines supplied by local medicos/winemakers.
Overall the ASM was well attended and had excellent feedback for the program and social events.
ANZSOM is hosting the 2021 International Congress on Occupational Health (ICOH) in Melbourne, so the 2020 conference is earlier than usual to give some planning space. Next year’s meeting will be held in Launceston from 19 to 22 March.

Dr Josh Munn
AFOEM Council SA/NT State Representative


A message from your President

It is with sadness that I advise you of the passing of Dr Andrew Snell, AFOEM Trainee in New Zealand I extend the Faculty’s deepest sympathy to Andrew’s family, and the New Zealand Fellows and registrars. My thanks to Dr Chris Walls for writing Dr Andrew Snell’s obituary which is included in this eBulletin.

On November 29 I had the pleasure of attending the WA AFOEM Committee’s meeting followed by a Christmas dinner. The Chair, Dr Evelyn Lee, the Program Training Directors, Dr Rob Gillett and Dr Steve Clarke, WA AFOEM Councillor, Dr Michael Lucas, and Education Subcommittee Chair, Dr Miguel Kabilio, presented reports. I value the information and feedback provided by the Fellows and trainees on the regional opportunities and challenges they encounter and their education program. I was particularly interested to learn of an innovative activity that involved members in a simulated emergency response at an airfield, that fulfilled the requirements for Categories 2 and 3 CPD credits.
WA regional meeting 2WA regional meeting

Program planning for the Annual Training Meeting and AFOEM content for RACP Congress in Melbourne from 4 to 6 May 2020 is well advanced. I am pleased to announce Dr Michael Shanahan, occupational and environmental physician and rheumatologist will give the Ferguson Glass Oration. More news of workshops and sessions will follow in the coming months. Find out more and register on the RACP Congress 2020 website

The National Dust Disease Taskforce has had three face-to-face meetings. National consultation has occurred across a broad range of stakeholders and the Taskforce is now in the process of preparing a communiqué and interim report to the Hon Greg Hunt, Minister for Health.

AFOEM has been invited to collaborate with the Rehabilitation Medicine Society of Australia and New Zealand (RMSANZ) to develop a workshop on returning injured workers with chronic pain to employment. The workshop will be presented at the RMSANZ’s 5th Annual Scientific Meeting, to be held from 22 to 25 September 2020 at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre, Queensland. I see this collaboration as an opportunity to work with our colleagues in other specialties to disseminate information and educate on the topics presented by Dr Gary Franklin at the recent ANZSOM/AFOEM Conference in Adelaide with regard to the opioid epidemic and the importance of avoiding non-effective and potentially harmful invasive medical and surgical interventions. I encourage you to read Dr Josh Munn’s report on ANZSOM’s Annual Scientific Meeting. A call for expressions of interest for members to be part of a planning committee working with RMSANZ representatives will be posted in the first eBulletin of 2020 in February.

The College Policy and Advocacy Council (CPAC) Executive Committee approved the AFOEM scoping document on developing Guiding Principles for the ‘Clinical Management of Patients with Medically Unexplained Symptoms (MUS)’. Thank you to Dr David Beaumont for leading this project.

Nominations for the AFOEM President’s Award for Trainee Commitment will be open from 20 January to 14 February 2020. I urge all committees to consider if there is a candidate they can nominate.

I extend my congratulations to the successful candidates who sat the Stage B Examinations.
Congratulations also to Dr Dominic Yong, AFOEM Victorian Council Member, who has taken up the position of President-elect of ANZSOM.  

I am delighted to welcome our new Executive Officer Megan (Meg) Chard, who I know some of you have already spoken with or met on Zoom. I look forward to working with Meg and encourage members to introduce themselves.

As the end of the year rapidly approaches, I wish AFOEM members and staff a safe, merry and enjoyable Christmas and may the New Year bring you personal and professional happiness and fulfillment.  

With best wishes,

Dr Beata Byok
AFOEM President

Tribute to Dr Andrew Snell

The NZ Occupational Medicine Trainee Andrew Snell died suddenly at the end of October after a period of ill health.  Andrew was a cardiothoracic anaesthetist who changed to Occupational Medicine after an earlier period of ill health.  He readily engaged in obtaining Occupational Medicine academic qualifications and was progressing through the training program until his health issues caused him to put this on hold.  Andrew was well liked by the patients and companies he worked for, was a good clinician and was developing an interest in pain management as part of return to work programs. During his time in Occupational Medicine Andrew took part in the publication of a number of articles and provided sensible well researched advice to a number of NZ's larger companies.  Our sympathies go to his family and we reflect on the loss of opportunity for this talented doctor.

Dr Chris Walls

Invitation to 33rd International Congress on Occupational Health – ICOH 2021

The 33rd International Congress on Occupational Health (ICOH) will be held in Melbourne from 21 to 26 March 2021. The main theme is 'sharing solutions in occupational health' and this will be a great opportunity to hear about the latest national and international advances in our field. The opening keynote address will be given by Sir Michael Marmot and plenary speakers include Professor Paul Blanc on silicosis and Dr Margaret Kitt, Deputy Director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). 

The first announcement has recently been released and you can access this and register your contact details on the Congress website. The second announcement will be released in February 2020. The local host body is ANZSOM and I am the Chair of the Organising Committee,  We're keen to have a strong occupational medicine focus at the Congress. We'll look forward to your active involvement in the ICOH Congress in Melbourne in March 2021. 

Professor Malcolm Sim
AFOEM President Elect

AFOEM Stage B Written Examination Question Writing Workshop

Saturday, 15 February 2020 – RACP Offices, Sydney

The Faculty is looking for writers for Stage B Written Examination questions. 

The AFOEM Faculty Assessment Committee (FAC) is seeking enthusiastic AFOEM Fellows to write new questions for Stage B Written Examinations and to be markers for the Stage B Written Examinations.  This is your opportunity to help your Faculty and to contribute to the training of the next group of occupational physicians.  

You are invited to attend a one day workshop in Sydney on Saturday, 15 February 2020 from 10am to 4pm. 

Find out more 

RACP Congress 2020 'Balancing Medical Science with Humanity' – Communicating the value of occupational physicians with organisational leaders

The next RACP Congress will be held in Melbourne in May next year and an exciting program is being developed for the AFOEM streams. Register now to secure your place at Congress 2020.

We are excited to announce the dedicated stream on communicating the value of occupational physicians with organisational leaders. Four occupational physicians and a senior workplace manager will present on varying approaches to influence CEOs and senior managers.

More speakers are being confirmed, please regularly check the RACP Congress website for updates.

AFOEM Regional Committee casual vacancies

There are various casual vacancies on AFOEM Regional Committees to be filled by way of expressions of interest.

New South Wales

  • one position open for Deputy Chair of AFOEM NSW Regional Committee

Queensland/Northern Territory

  • one position open for the Trainee Representative of AFOEM QLD/NT Regional Committee
  • one position open for Deputy Chair of AFOEM QLD/NT Regional Committee.

South Australia

  • one position open for Deputy Chair of AFOEM SA Regional Committee.

Before nominating for the role, candidates must familiarise themselves with the following documents:

To nominate, submit a completed Expression of Interest Form and your resume by email to

AFOEM President’s Award for Trainee Commitment

Nominate an AFOEM Advanced Trainee for an AFOEM President’s Award. This award recognises outstanding commitment to the Faculty’s education and training program.

The recipient will receive a AUD $300 gift voucher and an award presented at the AFOEM annual event.

Applications open Monday, 20 January to Friday, 14 February 2020.

Further details on these scholarships are available on the RACP Foundation website.

Changes to key education policies

The RACP has reviewed and updated the Progression Through TrainingFlexible Training and Recognition of Prior Learning policies. The changes apply to all RACP trainees and will take effect from August 2020.

The changes:

  • respond to feedback from trainees, committees and Fellows
  • improve the clarity of the documents
  • respond to how the policies are working in practice
  • align the language to apply to all training programs (including the new Basic Training Curricula)
  • ensure that the provisions for flexibility and time limits to complete programs are benchmarked to other medical colleges and universities.

The biggest change is in the Flexible Training policy (item 4.3). The current rule requires part-time trainees to complete the same number of work-based assessment tools as full-time trainees.  

In response to overwhelming support, part-time trainees will be able to pro-rata the number of work-based assessment tools to the amount of training they have been approved for.  The change will still collect multiple observation and assessments to inform progression decisions while reducing the demand on part-time trainees to a more reasonable level.   

Changes to the policies are considered low impact and will take effect from August 2020.

More information is available on the RACP website.

Medical Specialist Access Framework – Guide for physicians

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people access specialist medical services 40 per cent less often than non-Indigenous Australians. Inconsistent availability and access to specialist medical services across Australia is just one of the barriers contributing to the poorer health status of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. We encourage you to get involved in implementing the RACP's Medical Specialist Access Framework in your professional practice and work environment. Read our practical guide which supports equitable access to specialist care for Indigenous people.

View guide on the College website

RACP My Work Profile - homepage banner

My Work Profile

Many Government decisions on workforce are based on anecdotal data. As a response to this we are updating our records to assist our future decision making for physician education programs.

Did you know the hours you work, the professional activities you are engaged in and where you work impact the paediatrics workforce?

When you pay your annual College subscription fees you’ll find My Work Profile on the payment confirmation page that will take you to your own work profile, or you can access it in MyRACP.

MyRACP supported internet browsers are Microsoft Edge, Chrome, Firefox and Safari.

How does My Work Profile benefit you?

Workforce data will be made available to you and will help:

  • New Fellows decide which geographic area to work in Australia and New Zealand
  • New Fellows choose between private or public practice
  • you understand how your work hours compare with your peers
  • the RACP and stakeholders including government policy-makers make better workforce decisions, based on current data
  • Fellows understand activities they are undertaking; research, administration or clinical.

Hear what others have to say about My Work Profile

For more information, please read the My Work Profile FAQs. For details on what data will be collected and how it will be stored, please read the Privacy Statement.

Complete today

Medical Board of Australia consultation on CPD Registration standard

The Medical Board of Australia (MBA) has proposed changes to Continuing Professional Development (CPD). They are currently consulting on their proposed revised CPD Registration standard designed to build on existing arrangements and strengthen CPD requirements for medical practitioners. The changes put reviewing performance and measuring outcomes at the centre of CPD requirements.

The College has been advocating strongly on behalf of members and will submit a response to this consultation. Members are encouraged to provide an independent submission to the MBA’s public consultation which is currently open until Friday, 14 February 2020. Members can find further information on the AHPRA website

In response to the proposed future regulatory requirements, we have been making changes to assist Australian Fellows towards meeting these changed requirements. We are encouraging all Fellows to work within the new CPD Framework.

If you are not able to meet the new requirements in 2019, you can access the CPD transition course 'CPD: Applying the New Framework'. By completing this course you can successfully meet your 2019 CPD requirements. 

Find out more via the CPD: Applying the New Framework webpage and access the new MyCPD Interactive handbook for further information and guidance.

This transition course is for 2019 only. From 2020 onwards, you will be expected to complete and record CPD against the most current version of the MyCPD Framework.

Australian Guidelines for the Prevention and Control of Infection in Healthcare

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) is pleased to announce the release of the revised Australian Guidelines for the Prevention and Control of Infection in Healthcare (2019) (the guidelines). 

These have been produced by NHMRC in collaboration with the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care, to ensure they reflect the latest national and international evidence on infection prevention and control. 

Effective infection prevention and control is central to providing high quality healthcare for patients and a safe working environment for those who work in healthcare settings. The guidelines provide evidence-based recommendations that outline the critical aspects of infection prevention and control, focusing on core principles and priority areas for action. 

The guidelines are for use by all working in healthcare – including healthcare workers, management and support staff. They provide a risk-management framework to ensure the basic principles of infection prevention and control can be applied to a wide range of healthcare settings. The level of risk may differ in different types of healthcare facilities; risk assessments are encouraged as part of the decision making and use of guideline recommendations. When implementing these recommendations all healthcare facilities need to consider the risk of transmission of infection and implement according to their specific setting and circumstances.

For further information on the review please visit the NHMRC Preventing Infection webpage.

Physicians talking about Evolve at the Tasmania Physicians Conference

On 8 November, Professor Peter Procopis and Professor Graeme Jones presented at the Tasmania Physicians Conference on Evolve.

As the RACP myCPD Champion, Professor Peter Procopis is passionate about the need for physicians to keep up-to-date through lifelong learning. There are many ways physicians can engage with CPD and Evolve is providing physicians with a trusted resource to support them to keep abreast of best practice and help them reduce low-value care in their specialty. Peter believes these projects, as well as other CPD activities, require advanced planning to not only put the project in place, but also determine if a given activity has been successful.

View Professor Procopis’ presentation slides

Professor Graeme Jones is passionate about reducing low-value care in rheumatology. He has played an important role in helping shine a light on the low value practices through the Evolve initiative and will be sharing his experiences of identifying and implementing Evolve recommendations.

View Professor Jones’ presentation slides

RACP deeply disappointed in decision to repeal Medevac

Last week the Australian Parliament repealed the Medevac legislation. The College has stood united with the entire medical community in their position to save the Medevac legislation. The Medevac legislation has proven effective in improving timely access to necessary healthcare for asylum seekers and refugees.

The RACP is concerned that repealing these laws will mean that asylum seekers and refugees under Australia’s care may experience serious and preventable harm. We call on the Government to do all it can to ensure that this vulnerable group of people is able to access appropriate, necessary and timely care.

Until further details emerge providing insight into whatever understanding may have been reached in order to enable the passage of the repeal legislation and how this may impact the ability of refugees and asylum seekers to access necessary and timely care, the RACP considers repealing this legislation as an enormous step backwards.

The RACP would like to thank all Fellows who have participated in this campaign to #SaveMedevac, through various opportunities, including the recent social media campaign. The clear and concerted voices of the medical community were heard and noted by the broader Australian public and many parliamentarians. While in this instance it wasn’t quite enough, the RACP will continue its advocacy on this issue as further opportunities arise.

New Pomegranate podcast – Ep54: My Health Record in practice

How many times have you thought 'Things would be so much more efficient if we had shared electronic health records?' Australia now has the My Health Record covering 90 per cent of the population with individual profiles.

It is proposed this will improve safety, especially for people with chronic and complex healthcare needs. It could reduce medication mismanagement and duplication of pathology and diagnostic imaging tests, and help improve health literacy among the public. At the point of care it might prove safer for the previously unseen patient who arrives at emergency unable to say anything about what allergies they have or what medications they’re already on.

However, that’s only if everyone is putting information into My Health Record. It’s been a long process getting health providers to upload data to My Health Record routinely and the uptake differs wildly between primary, secondary and tertiary care.

In this podcast we visit each of these settings and hear what the different expectations are of this new tool, what are the benefits gained and how well it fits into the workflow of a consultation. The RACP received support from the Australian Digital Health Agency for the production of this podcast.

Guests: Associate Professor Nicholas Buckmaster FRACP (Gold Coast University Hospital), Dr Ron Granot FRACP (East Neurology and Clinical Advisor for Healthshare Digital), Professor Meredith Makeham (Chief Medical Adviser of the Australian Digital Health Agency, Macquarie University).

RACP Fellows can claim CPD credits via MyCPD for listening to this episode.

Subscribe to Pomegranate Health in Apple iTunesSpotify or any Android podcasting app.

Listen to podcast

A new repository for resourceful physicians

Would you like to share educational resources with other RACP members? A new repository has been added to our Online Learning platform, which enables you to share external resources, tools, courses or readings with your peers. Submit your recommended resources, browse member submissions or suggest a topic for a resource you’d like developed.

Accessible anywhere and optimised for mobile on-the-go learning, RACP Online Learning Resources are free for members and counts towards Continuing Professional Development requirements.

Webinar: My Health Record – Opportunities to better serve the population

Did you miss the recent ‘My Health Record – Opportunities to better serve the population’ webinar? You can now watch Associate Professor Nick Buckmaster, Dr Rosalie Schultz and Carey Doolan’s presentations.

Watch the webinar now

Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety

The RACP submission addresses all terms of reference of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety including residential aged care facilities, palliative care, dementia, rehabilitation and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander services among others. 

Rural communities deserve consultation on alcohol takeaway hours

In the final salvo of the year in our ongoing campaign to reduce the harms of alcohol in Australia, the College joined the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, Australian Medical Association NSW, Alcohol and Drug Foundation, Public Health Association Australia, NSW ACT Alcohol Policy Alliance and other groups in delivering a strongly-worded letter to Premier Gladys Berejiklian.

The letter objects to proposed legislative changes that would allow a whole-of-state extension of takeaway liquor outlets and online courier sales until midnight. That this proposal arose from the 'Inquiry into Sydney’s Night-Time Economy' is especially troubling. Not only did the Inquiry ignore appeals of first responders, clinicians and academic experts to not remove the highly effective last-drinks measures, it went beyond its terms of references to impose an extension of alcohol trading hours across NSW.

The more immediate outcomes of this action will be an increase in domestic and non-domestic violence. Longer-term, NSW will see a rise in non-communicable diseases and mental health harms related to alcohol. “Alcohol-related harm is a cost to government, as well as to the community”, in the words of the letter.

The College vows to remain at the forefront of the fight to minimise the harms of alcohol in our community in 2020. 
Read more about the letter and the issues it canvasses in the press release

P&A Report 

The College Policy and Advocacy Council (CPAC) met on 20 November for their last meeting of 2019. A formal Chair Communique of the meeting will be released soon to outline the main discussions and outcomes of the day. During the meeting CPAC members reviewed the successes and achievements of the past six months of College policy and advocacy, which are also highlighted in the P&A Report. This is a true showcase of all the great effort and hard work every CPAC member, their College bodies and the wider membership have accomplished. It is a real testament to a College working together and an impressive end to the year.

The RACP Model of Chronic Care Management

The RACP Integrated Care Subgroup, led by Associate Professor Nick Buckmaster and Dr Tony Mylius, has led the development of the health system reform needed for patients with chronic conditions. This addresses a significant gap in current care organisation and supports patients to access physician care in a coordinated way. This model is the basis for strong advocacy to the Australian Government to fund the model or similar, from proof of concept sites through phased introduction. You can read the RACP’s Model of Chronic Care Management on the RACP website.  

Colonoscopy Clinical Care Standard implementation resources 

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care have developed a number of resources to help implement and address a number of quality statements outlined in the Colonoscopy Clinical Care Standard. These resources are intended to support consumers, clinicians, organisations and assessors.

All resources are available on the Commissions' website

Conferences and events

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians publishes notices of events and courses as a service to members. Such publication does not constitute endorsement or mandating of any such events or courses. 

  • ICOH 2021, 21 to 26 March 2021 in Melbourne, VIC

Supervisor Professional Development Program (SPDP) workshops

General information webpage provides an overview of our three SPDP workshops.
Online workshops webpage provides dates and information on how to register for the online SPDP workshops.
Face to face workshops provides a list of dates and registering for the face to face workshops.

Go to the events list at any time to see what other events are coming up.

AFOEM contact details

Member enquiries
(AUS) 1300 69 7227
(NZ) 0508 69 7227

AFOEM Faculty enquiries (including Council and committees):

Megan Chard, AFOEM Executive Officer
Phone: +61 2 8076 6351

AFOEM Health Benefits of Good Work (HBGW) enquiries:

AFOEM Education and Training enquiries:

AFOEM Examination enquiries:
Examination Coordinator, Assessment and Selection Unit

AFOEM training site accreditation inquiries:
Site Accreditation Unit

AFOEM CPD enquiries:
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