AFOEM eBulletin – 23 July 2021
A message from your President
I am writing to you again from lockdown in Melbourne; our fifth of the COVID-19 pandemic. Lockdowns are also in place in Greater Sydney and other parts of NSW, as well as South Australia. Interstate borders have been slammed shut; again. While Aotearoa New Zealand is not currently in lockdown, the ‘travel bubble’ between our two countries has been paused. This is all in response to the highly infectious delta variant of SARS-CoV-2, which is pushing our contact tracing system and COVID-19 prevention measures to the limit. Vaccination has been slow in both countries, but starting to ramp up, as the mRNA vaccines are starting to become more available, but we have a very long way to go. Occupational and environmental physicians have a lot to contribute to the vaccine rollout as discussions start about greater involvement of industry. We have been in discussions with the Australian Department of Health about how we can contribute to this important next phase of the rollout.
For those of you interested in keeping in touch with the latest information regarding COVID-19, I highly recommend the webinar series of the Royal Society of Medicine (RSM). I have been a member of the RSM for many years and have been following this series closely. You don’t have to be a member of the RSM to view the recordings of these webinars – they’re available on YouTube. The next webinar (number 83 in the series) is on ventilation and infection control, a very topicaI subject, while other recent webinars have covered post-pandemic staff recovery, vaccination in children and mental health in the pandemic.
I am delighted to let you know that Dr David Beaumont has recently written an updated chapter for the Body of Knowledge on the Global Concept of Health. The previous version of the chapter was published in 2012 with Professor Niki Ellis as the author and, given a lot has changed in the past decade, an update was needed. David has continued the great work on this topic in a major rewrite and I highly recommend it as a great read, especially for our trainees, and also for our Fellows. The chapter is available online. The OHS Body of Knowledge is a product of the Australian Institute of Health and Safety and the Australian OHS Education Accreditation Board. Many other chapters of the Body of Knowledge have also been updated and I think this is a great resource, especially for those training in occupational and environmental medicine.
I was very saddened to hear of the very recent death of Dr John Silver. He will be deeply missed and we offer our deepest sympathies to John’s family. John was one of the earliest Fellows of AFOEM and he was a very popular friend and colleague to many. His long involvement in occupational medicine began way back in 1976 when he joined ANZSOM. John played an important role in my very first job in occupational medicine, back in the early 1980s. I was appointed to the first full-time role of occupational medical officer at the Naval Dockyard at Williamstown in Victoria and prior to that John had been an occupational medicine consultant there and prepared the way for the full-time role. I was very new to occupational medicine at that stage and it was great to have John around to offer advice and encouragement based on his previous experience in this high risk workplace. The COVID-19 restrictions will limit attendance numbers at his funeral, which is to be held at 2pm on Friday, 30 July, but the service can be viewed online. If you are not able to view the service at that time, the recording will be available at that link afterwards. After watching the service, people are encouraged to leave a message about John.
I would like to remind all Fellows and trainees to register for the ANZSOM Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM) which is scheduled to be held in Brisbane from 21 to 24 November, COVID-19 restrictions permitting. There will also be a virtual attendance option for those who are unable to attend in person. AFOEM is again the scientific program partner for the ASM and this will be a great opportunity to catch up with colleagues and friends. The theme of the ASM is ‘Changing Work – Culture – COVID – Climate’, all very topical issues in occupational and environmental medicine. More information can be found on the ANZSOM website. The early bird registration will close on 31 July, so don’t miss out on what promises to be a great meeting.
I’d also like to promote some upcoming webinars. The annual Kevin Sleigh Memorial Lecture will be held in Melbourne on Monday, 9 August at 6.30pm (AEST). Professor Allen Cheng will be the speaker. Allen is an infectious disease physician who has just completed his 12-month term as Deputy Chief Health Officer here in Victoria, so he is very well known to Victorians. Allen is also the Co-Chair of the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI). I’m sure his talk will be a fascinating insight into the twists and turns of the COVID-19 response and vaccination rollout – please register. There will also be a Health Benefits of Good Work (HBGW) webinar on ‘Gendered and sexual harassment in the workplace’ on Monday, 30 August from 1.30pm to 2.30pm (AEST). This is a very topical subject with great speakers and not to be missed. Further details will be circulated shortly. ANZSOM will also be running another Journal Club webinar on Wednesday, 28 July, which is open to AFOEM members and I highly recommend these sessions to our AFOEM trainees. You can register for this session now.
Registrations are now open for a once in a generation Witness Seminar on the history of our profession to be held in November. Hearing what our past leaders think about the development of our specialty and what tomorrow’s leaders think about its future should be fascinating. Get in early, as there are only 80 places available. AFOEM is leading the way on this and if successful, the RACP History of Medicine Library hopes other specialties in the College will follow suit. More information is provided within this eBulletin and available via the ASM tab on the ANZSOM website.
Finally, the Australian Department of Health has recently released the National Dust Disease Taskforce’s Final Report which contains seven important recommendations. These focus on work health and safety measures, work health and safety monitoring and compliance, national guidance to identify people at risk, better support for workers, medical, health and other related professionals, a strategic national approach to research and cross-jurisdictional governance mechanism to coordinate responses and report on progress. AFOEM has welcomed the Taskforce’s Final Report and the College has called on the government to adopt all of its recommendations. We have previously advocated for the establishment of a permanent multi-disciplinary group with occupational and environmental input to oversee the implementation of the National Dust Disease Taskforce’s final recommendations and we are pleased to see this reflected in Recommendation 7 of the Taskforce’s Final Report. This has been a major initiative by the AFOEM Policy & Advocacy Committee and Dr Graeme Edwards, who was a key member of the taskforce and made a major contribution.
Regarding the Faculty Policy & Advocacy Committee, we are looking for a trainee representative who is keen to make a contribution to important initiatives such as this. If you are interested, please contact Lisa Helson at the Faculty office via the following email address: AFOEM@racp.edu.au.
Professor Malcolm Sim AM
AFOEM Fellows interview series
This series provides insight into the careers of retired and actively serving physicians in occupational medicine. I am very privileged and extremely humbled to continue to meet inspiring colleagues. On this occasion I had the pleasure of talking to Dr Judy Balint.
Dr Farhan Shahzad, Consultant Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Sydney
An interview with Dr Judy Balint
Farhan: Welcome Judy and thank you for agreeing to join us for a discussion that looks into the early days of your career, your training and how your interest in occupational medicine developed.
Judy: I'm originally from Sydney and went to the University of NSW. After residency at the Prince of Wales Hospital (POWH), I worked at Sydney Hospital which is where I became interested in occupational medicine.
In 1986, while working in a medical outpatients clinic, I was called to a metabolic emergency. The 'emergency' was to allow clinicians to have a quick break and a cup of tea. Over the tea, I met Gavin Frost who was doing an occupational medicine clinic. Gavin spoke enthusiastically about occupational medicine which whetted my enthusiasm and he recommended that I talk to his friend, Ian Gardner.
I completed the 10-week course in occupational medicine at WorkSafe Australia and undertook locums for the Coal Board, Electricity Commission and in private occupational health practices before joining Garden Island Dockyard (GID). The dockyard had a civilian workforce of several thousand tradespeople, ranging from shipwrights to boiler makers. Everyone who studied occupational medicine in NSW at that time did a workplace visit at GID.
While at GID, I completed a Master of Safety Science at UNSW and my Fellowship in Occupational Medicine, under the supervision of Dwight Dowda.
After seven years at GID, I joined Optus Vision in a non-clinical role as National Health and Safety Manager. In 1997, I moved to Melbourne with Royal Dutch Shell and in 2001 was appointed as health adviser on the Sakhalin oil and gas project in the Russian Far East. I worked on the health impact assessment (HIA) for the project and the report was included on the World Health Organization (WHO) website as an example of HIA for a major project.
I did further international posts with Shell: in Brazil, as Latin America Regional Health Manager and in Dubai as Regional Health Manager for the Middle East and Commonwealth of Independent States. At Shell, the management of health risks was a key part of an integrated HSE management system.
I have been extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to work in many different countries with interesting and wonderful people.
Farhan: What message do you have for our Fellows and trainees?
Judy: We need to recognise and create opportunities and maintain our curiosity so that collectively we anticipate workplace needs.
I think we need to get closer to industry bodies and the regulators and better understand the workplace issues so we are recognised as valued advisers to businesses. Skill mix is critical. We need to balance clinical expertise with advocacy and understanding of business drivers. The capacity to present a coherent argument in both written and oral form is essential. The occupational and environmental physicians of the future will need to demonstrate how they add value to business and have a breadth of skills which supports individuals as well as businesses.
Help wanted in recording the history of our profession
Did you know that in 1950 Dr Donald Hunter, (yes that Donald Hunter!), came to Australia as the guest of the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and recommended a committee should consider the problems related to occupational diseases? And that the RACP appointed a subcommittee to carry out this investigation?
Next year will be the 40th anniversary of the incorporation of the Australian (later Australasian) College of Occupational Medicine, and the 35th anniversary of the recognition of occupational medicine as a specialty by the National Specialist Qualification Advisory Committee. (ASOM was formed in 1969 and Aotearoa New Zealand joined in 1972). Why did this specialty emerge when it did? What has been achieved? Are we there yet? What is the path for the future?
These are the questions people prominent in and to our profession will be discussing at a once in a generation conversation to be held at a Witness Seminar, a satellite event to ANZSOM’s Scientific Meeting in Brisbane on 21 November. It will be co-convened by Professor Niki Ellis, Inaugural President of AFOEM, and Associate Professor Catherine Storey, RACP Fellow and medical historian. You are invited to attend.
This is the first initiative of a new joint project by AFOEM, ANZSOM and the RACP Library Committee. Our aim is to record the history of our profession, in the form of an online timeline on the RACP website.
If you would like further information, including our skeletal timeline, visit our interim website
The History of Occupational Medicine Committee is calling for material – documents, photos, and videos suitable for our archive. Please send them to the History of Medicine Librarian, Karen Myers at email@example.com
If you would like to be a witness at the seminar (think oral history interview but with a group) please go to the ASM tab on the ANZSOM website
Health Benefits of Good Work webinars
The Health Benefits of Good Work (HBGW) Signatory Steering Group (SSG) continues to develop webinars on topical issues.
Save the date for the next HBGW Webinar – Monday, 30 August 2021.
The next webinar will focus on sexual and gendered harassment in the workplace.
Date: Monday, 30 August 2021
Time: 1.30pm to 2.30pm
Speakers to include:
- Dr Jacqueline Small, RACP President-elect
- Sophie Ismail, Legal and Industrial Officer – Gender Equity
Join our panel of expert speakers as we review recent high profile workplace safety incidents involving gendered and sexual violence in the workplace.
Hear our experts speak to the factors and issues that arise in workplaces that can create a culture of violence and understand how to prevent this risk and best practice response strategies for vulnerable workers.
Stay tuned for registration details.
The Lead Fellow, Education Learning and Assessment is an integral role within the Education Learning and Assessment team. The successful applicant will provide leadership, advice and support for the College’s education program across the membership.
About the role
Reporting to the Executive General Manager, Education Learning and Assessment, you will play a significant role, providing physician leadership and supporting the College’s education and assessment strategy, including the Education Renewal Program. You will support and advise on changes to examinations and assessment, trainee wellbeing and assist with challenging trainee reviews and related initiatives across both Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand.
Help to shape the future direction of the College’s education program by delivering a physician’s perspective and represent our membership base. You will be a trusted adviser to the Senior Leadership Team and the College Education Committee, which is currently progressing a significant program of educational renewal for all 63 College programs.
This high-profile role is ideal if you are looking to expand your career beyond clinical delivery into medical education and impact the future of the College service delivery.
This opportunity is for a 12-month contract with part-time hours of 15 to 22.5 hours per week.
Applications close on Tuesday, 10 August 2021.
More information about this new role is available on the RACP career webpage.
We are pleased to announce that the Board has recently approved a proposal from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Committee (ATSIHC) to use the following names for the three College meeting rooms in our space at Governor Macquarie Tower (GMT), Sydney:
People or Aboriginal people
Place or country
To propose the three names, ATSIHC approached the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council (MLALC), as the traditional custodians of the Gadigal lands on which the building resides, to ensure appropriate cultural protocols and language were used when naming the three GMT rooms. MLALC shared a book, The Sydney Language by Jakelin Troy and suggested the names be sourced from the language outlined in the book. ATSIHC considered this resource and proposed the above names within the themes of people, sun, and earth – representing the Australian Aboriginal flag.
Dependent on COVID-19 restrictions, the MLALC will be invited to a culturally respectful room naming event.
The room names are part of the RACP's work under priority 4 of the Indigenous Strategic Framework to foster a culturally competent College. The RACP will continue to undertake activities that focus on cultural safety for members and staff.
Last chance – 2022 RACP Foundation Research Awards
Don’t miss your chance to apply for the following grants available to AFOEM members:
Applications close Monday, 26 July 2021. Please refer to the RACP Foundation webpage for information on specific eligibility requirements for each award.
Neil Hamilton Fairley Medal
Nominations for the Neil Hamilton Fairley Medal for 2022 are now open. This medal is awarded by the RACP every five years to recognise an individual who has made outstanding contributions to the field of medicine. The medal was last awarded to Professor Roger Reddel in 2017.
This award is open to RACP Fellows as well as individuals outside the College. However the nominee must be nominated by an RACP Fellow to be considered.
Details on the application process and selection criteria are available on the website. Nominations close on Tuesday, 31 August 2021.
College Medals and Awards
Nominations are now open for the following College and Fellowship Awards. They acknowledge outstanding contributions and achievements made by Fellows and trainees in their respective fields.
We encourage you to nominate for the following medals:
- The John Sands Medal recognises a Fellow who makes a significant contribution to the welfare of RACP and its members.
- The College Medal is aligned to the College motto hominum servire saluti. It is awarded to a Fellow who makes a significant contribution to medical specialist practice, healthcare and/or health of community through physician activities.
- The International Medal recognises a member who has provided outstanding service in developing countries.
- The Medal for Clinical Service in Rural and Remote Areas recognises a Fellow who has provided outstanding clinical service in rural and remote areas of Australia or Aotearoa New Zealand.
- The Mentor of the Year Award recognises a Fellow who has made an outstanding contribution to mentoring or provided a high level of support and guidance throughout training.
- The Trainee of the Year Award recognises a trainee who has made an outstanding contribution to College, community and trainee activities.
- The Eric Susman Prize is awarded by the College to a Fellow for best contribution to the knowledge of internal medicine.
Full details are available on the RACP Foundation webpage.
Opening soon: Faculty awards and prizes
AFOEM President's Awards
The AFOEM President’s Awards recognise outstanding contributions to the Faculty in the areas of:
- education, training and assessment
- policy and advocacy
- trainee commitment.
Nominations open 10 August 2021.
AFOEM Essay Prize
The AFOEM Essay Prize is open to medical students or interns in their first year after graduation. The prize is awarded for demonstrated excellence through essay, research project or assignment on occupational or environmental health. Applications open 1 August 2021.
Details about these awards and prizes are available on the RACP Foundation website.
Trainee Research Awards 2021
Trainees and New Fellows undertaking post-Fellowship training are encouraged to apply for the RACP Trainee Research Awards
The RACP Trainee Research Awards provide a valuable opportunity for trainees to present their research on topics related either to adult medicine or paediatric medicine at an Australian regional or Aotearoa New Zealand event. The best presenters from each local event are invited to present their work alongside recognised researchers at RACP Congress 2022. Each will receive complimentary Congress registration, travel and accommodation to attend Congress, and a certificate to acknowledge their achievement.
Award recipients are also invited to have their abstracts published in the Internal Medicine Journal
or the Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health
RACP Congress supplement.
For further details and to apply, please visit the Trainee Research Awards webpage
. Applications close 31 August 2021.
For further details and to apply, please visit the website
. Applications close 31 August 2021.
New RACP video series highlights physicians in remote Australian communities
Practicing rural and remote medicine offers opportunities, career progression and a lifestyle simply not available in Australia’s big cities.
From today, you can watch a fascinating new series of short videos In our Own Words
, about the critical role our Fellows and trainees fulfil in providing healthcare to small towns, the regions and remote Australia, via the Specialist Training Program (STP).
The STP is a funding initiative of the Australian Government Department of Health.
There are around 900 STP-funded training positions across Australia, managed by 13 medical colleges. The RACP currently manages around 380 positions.
With funding from the Commonwealth Department of Health, we’re increasing awareness and understanding of the Program.
Our members tell their own stories, what it has meant to them and the communities they serve.
We will be releasing these to you weekly over the coming months. The videos are available on the RACP website
, where we have created a new mini-site about the program.
RACP Quarterly Issue Two 2021
RACP Quarterly is our member magazine featuring healthcare and medical news.
We’ve gone digital – welcome to our second online edition.
In this issue we feature a conversation with Associate Professor Luke Burchill and Professor Megan Davis as they discuss Building a solution space for Indigenous health at the RACP. We also discuss how to improve Palliative medicine, respiratory medicine and integrated care.
Other highlights include Genetic discovery and translation in neuromuscular diseases and Workforce casualisation and mobility in a COVID world.
Also included in this issue are our 38 RACP Fellows recognised in the Aotearoa New Zealand and Australian Queen’s Birthday Honours lists.
We also recognise Professor Lesley Campbell AM who has received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Australian Diabetes Society.
Read RACP Quarterly Issue Two 2021 online now
Access previous issues of RACP Quarterly on the RACP website.
Registrations open: ANZSOM 2021 Annual Scientific Meeting
Following on from the highly successful 2020 virtual conference and in response to an ever-changing world, ANZSOM’s 2021 Annual Scientific Meeting will be offered as a hybrid event giving delegates the choice of attending in person or virtually from wherever they find themselves.
This year's program features the theme – CULTURE | COVID | CLIMATE – highlighting the changing and changeable nature of work as well as providing opportunities for knowledge and skill development across a range of topics relevant to our daily practice.
Highlights will include:
- Keynote address by WorkCover Queensland CEO, Bruce Watson
- Sessions dedicated to our main themes of CULTURE, COVID and CLIMATE
- A session devoted to dust diseases
- Two afternoons of site visits to workplaces around Brisbane
- Practical workshops on pre-employment medicals, musculoskeletal assessment and management, and injury management and rehabilitation
- Breakfast session devoted to fitness to drive for commercial vehicle drivers
- Our regular CPR update
- History of occupational medicine witness seminar on the Sunday of the conference
Early bird registration is available until the 31 July 2021, so register now.
For more information, and to register, please visit ANZSOM's website.
Expressions of Interest: AFOEM Faculty Assessment Committee vacant positions
The AFOEM Faculty Assessment Committee (FAC) is seeking expressions of interest from AFOEM Fellows to join the AFOEM FAC as:
The AFOEM FAC key responsibilities include:
- overseeing the coordination of the AFOEM Written and Practical Examinations
- engaging in continuous quality improvement of all assessments
- participation in the annual working parties that write examination questions for all the AFOEM Written and Practical Examinations.
Interested AFOEM Fellows should complete and submit the Expression of Interest form with a copy of their CV to Dr Andrew Lingwood, Chair of the AFOEM Faculty Assessment Committee by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Australian Department of Health has now released the National Dust Disease Taskforce’s Final Report, which contains seven recommendations. These recommendations focus on work health and safety measures, work health and safety monitoring and compliance, national guidance to identify people at risk, better support for workers, medical, health and other related professionals, a strategic national approach to research and cross-jurisdictional governance mechanism to coordinate responses and report on progress.
The College has welcomed the Taskforce’s Final Report and calls on the Government to adopt all of its recommendations.
The College has previously advocated for the establishment of a permanent multi-disciplinary group to oversee the implementation of the National Dust Disease Taskforce’s final recommendations. We are pleased to see this reflected in Recommendation 7 of the Taskforce’s Final Report and we have called on the Government to establish this cross-jurisdictional mechanism urgently to ensure the recommended actions in the report are adopted, monitored and progressed in an efficient and coordinated way.
The National Dust Disease Taskforce (the Taskforce) was established by the Federal Government in July 2019 following many months of strong joint advocacy from the College, its Australasian Faculty of Occupational and Environmental Medicine and the Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand. The Taskforce has played a crucial role in driving the development of a national approach for the prevention, early identification, control and management of dust diseases in Australia. Its membership included the following College members: Professor Fraser Brims, Dr Graeme Edwards, Dr Ryan Hoy and Professor Christine Jenkins.
Expressions of Interest: Creating a Safe Workplace Online Learning Resource Development Working Group
Members and subject matter experts are invited to express interest to join a Working Group which will update the content of the RACP’s bullying and harassment online course: Creating a Safe Workplace.
The working group will comprise of up to 12 Fellows, Advanced Trainees and subject matter experts, and members will contribute to the renewal of the current Creating a Safe Workplace online learning resource.
The resource currently provides information on the unique demands and pressures of the medical environment, awareness of unprofessional behaviour and helps physicians determine the resources available and appropriate steps for preventing and dealing with bullying and harassment. The RACP would like to update this course to reflect current legislation in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand and provide up-to-date information and resources to prevent discrimination, sexual harassment, and bullying.
The role of the Working Group will be to assist in reviewing the current content, advising on additional new content, reviewing drafts and overseeing the development of the resource and overall topic structure, for the physician audience. Key responsibilities of the Working Group will include:
- attend regular videoconferences to discuss progress
- review draft content and advise on subject matter via email.
It is expected that the development of the resource will span approximately six months.
Appointed members will be eligible for CPD credits.
If you have any enquiries about the Creating a Safe Workplace Online Working Group, or are interested in joining, please contact email@example.com.
EOI closing date: 7 August 2021.
RACP survey now open: Healthcare of patients with intellectual disability
We invite all members to respond to this quick survey
. We value your feedback. Your perspective is crucial to better understanding the type of work undertaken, the distribution of the workforce, identification of unmet health needs and perceptions of medical specialists who treat people with intellectual disability.
The survey will only take five to 10 minutes to complete and by doing so, will provide us with a clearer picture of how we can better educate, advocate and innovate in the intellectual disability health sector. In addition, it may assist the current Australian Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability
Complete the survey
Pomegranate Health podcast
Ep71: Voluntary Assisted Dying—what have we learned?
In 2017, Victoria was the first state in Australia to pass voluntary assisted legislation and has been followed by Western Australia, Tasmania and now South Australia. Aotearoa New Zealand passed its End-of-life Choice Bill two years ago and it will go live in November. This podcast draws on the experience of some very committed Victorian clinicians who share the lessons they've learned over the last two years about practical implementation of voluntary assisted dying (VAD).
The presenters were recorded at this year’s RACP Congress held in May. Palliative care physician Dr Danielle Ko explained how Austin Health has prepared and supported its healthcare staff through this shift in practice. Palliative care physician Dr Greg Mewitt described the challenge of consulting remotely with patients in regional Victoria. Professor Paul Komesaroff reflected on some other points of friction in Victoria’s law as it stands and the practicalities of medical practice. And Professor James Howe talked of his work as a neurologist in a Catholic healthcare institution, and how tensions over assisted dying had been resolved.
- Dr Danielle Ko FRACGP FAChPM (Clinical Ethics Lead, Austin Health; VAD Review Board, Safercare Victoria)
- Dr Greg Mewett FRACGP FAChPM DRCOG (Ballarat Rural Health; Grampians Regional Palliative Care Team
- Professor Paul Komesaroff AM, FRACP (Alfred Hospital; Monash University)
- Professor James Howe FRACP (VAD Review Board, Safercare Victoria)
- Dr George Laking FRACP (Auckland City Hospital; RACP President Aotearoa New Zealand)
Subscribe to email alerts or search for ‘Pomegranate Health’ in Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Castbox, or any podcasting app. Fellows of the RACP can claim CPD credits for listening and learning via MyCPD. For a transcript and further references please visit our website.
The Digital Health Cooperative Research Centre (DHCRC) is funding two $175,000 PhD scholarships to support two postgraduate research students at the Faculty of Medicine and Health. Applications close on Saturday, 31 July 2021.
The scholarship will provide the following benefits for up to three years, subject to satisfactory academic performance:
- stipend allowance of $40,000 per annum
- education allowance of $5,000 per annum
- project travel allowance of $5,000 per annum.
Find out more and apply
New guidance is available to assist healthcare providers to understand appropriate use of the My Health Record emergency access function (also known as a ‘break glass’ function).
The online guidance, frequently asked questions and flow chart were developed by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC), in collaboration with the Australian Digital Health Agency and a range of stakeholders, including clinicians.
It is important that the emergency access function is only used to lessen or prevent a serious threat, as defined in Section 64 of the My Health Records Act 2012. Inappropriate use of emergency access can result in a potential breach of the healthcare consumer’s privacy and penalties may apply.
The new guidance outlines when emergency access may be used. Several clinical case studies are provided, together with tips for complying with legislative requirements for emergency access.
Visit the OAIC website to learn more.
The RACP is a member of The Obesity Collective, which brings together individuals and organisations committed to working together to tackle the obesity challenge with an empathetic and whole of society approach.
This month marks three years since the Collective was launched. During this time it has progressed in a number of priority areas, including research and policy work as part of a campaign on weight stigma, and an activity map of obesity prevention, treatment and advocacy activities across Australia.
Another key component of the Collective was the development of the Obesity Evidence Hub, which identifies, analyses and synthesises evidence on obesity for use in future policy work.
The Collective is also promoting its recent campaign – More than meets the eye. This campaign continues the Collective’s work on weight stigma and plans to share stories of obesity from Australians, along with presenting the science, to help people understand that obesity is complex and impacted by many social, biological and environmental drivers.
Our work with the Obesity Collective and on obesity more broadly is underpinned by the RACP Position Statement on Obesity – Action to prevent obesity and reduce its impact across the life course.
Interested Fellows and trainees are invited to submit expressions of interest to join a Working Group to develop a new Quality and Safety Spaced Learning course.
The Quality and Safety Spaced Learning course will be delivered via Qstream and will comprise of six case study questions. Participants will receive case studies directly to their inbox and can complete them at a time that suits them over a four-week period.
The Working Group will assist in the development and drafting of case study questions.
Find out more and apply by Friday, 13 August 2021.
The RACP continues to advocate for raising the age of criminal responsibility from 10 to 14 years of age in line with medical evidence. The RACP has been advocating on this issue since 2016. The RACP is a member of the steering group for the national campaign to raise the age. RACP members can sign and share the national raise the age petition.
In Western Australia, Social Reinvestment WA is leading a local campaign to raise the age, we encourage all members based in Western Australia to email their local MP on this issue using the webform and support the campaign via social media.
The Northern Territory government has publicly committed to raising the age of criminal responsibility to 12 years of age as per its commitments to implement the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Child Protection and Detention. The RACP is supportive of raising the age, but will work with local stakeholders to encourage that the age of criminal responsibility is raised to 14 instead of 12 years of age.
The ACT government has committed to raising the age to 14 and is undertaking the necessary processes to progress legislation. This change will become law in the second half of 2022.
Advocacy in other regions is underway in collaboration with local groups.
To read previous RACP submissions to the Council of Attorneys-General please visit the RACP website.
The RACP’s recent submission to the Independent Hospital Pricing Authority (IHPA) annual Pricing Framework for Australian Public Hospital Services 2022-23 was based on College-wide consultation. The Pricing Framework underpins the national efficient price and national efficient cost determinations for Australian public hospital services. The RACP’s submission provides:
- physician input on the impact of COVID-19 on the delivery of hospital services
- future funding models intended to signal a shift from paying for volume of services to paying for value and patient outcomes, avoidable and preventable hospitalisations
- areas for adjustments to the national efficient price.
In the submission, the College states our support for defining activity, units or ‘episode of care’ less by hospital site location and more by the inclusive and comprehensive treatment of a presenting condition(s). This is in keeping with both the Australian government and jurisdiction governments’ transition to a more integrated healthcare system.
Earlier this month the RACP made a submission to the Queensland Parliament Health and Environment Committee’s Inquiry into the Voluntary Assisted Dying (VAD) Bill 2021. We do not have a single position on VAD, but provided comments to ensure appropriate safeguards and processes if VAD legislation should become operational in Queensland.
Our comments build on an earlier submission on the Queensland Law Reform Commission’s legal framework for voluntary assisted dying consultation paper in November 2020. Both these submissions align with our 2018 Statement on Voluntary Assisted Dying, which was developed following an extensive consultation and drafting process involving a wide range of members, and recognises the divergent views on VAD within the membership.
Expressions of Interest
Check the Expressions of Interest page at any time, to find out if there are any opportunities that are of benefit to you.
For career opportunities, view all positions vacant on the RACP 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.
Go to the events list at any time to see what events are coming up.