AFOEM eBulletin – 3 May 2019

Changes to MyCPD

Following the release of the Medical Board of Australia’s Professional Performance Framework, a new 2019 MyCPD Framework came into effect in January 2019.

The simplified framework strengthens CPD by engaging Fellows in a range of CPD activities from three categories:

  • educational activities
  • reviewing performance
  • measuring outcomes.

There is still a requirement of 100 credits and this will require Fellows to continue to complete educational activities but also to complete activities that review performance and/or activities that measure outcomes.

To help you understand the changes and what they mean for you, further background and frequently asked questions can be found on the RACP website. The background is also covered in two Pomegranate Podcasts – 39 and 40 on rebooting CPD.

Resources have been developed to support you in completing activities in Category 2 – Reviewing Performance and Category 3 – Measuring Outcomes. There are also AFOEM specific frequently asked questions and answers.

The CPD team is happy to answer any questions you may have, please don’t hesitate to contact us:

Phone: 1300 697 227
Overseas: (+61) 2 9256 5444 

New Zealand
Phone: 4 460 8122
Overseas: (+64) 4 460 8122 

A message from your President

By the time you read this edition of the eBulletin, the Annual Trainee Meeting and Congress 2019 are about to start in Auckland, where I hope to see you.  

AFOEM Council 
AFOEM Council met face-to-face on Monday, 8 April in Sydney. This was an opportunity for an RACP Board update from Professor Niki Ellis. Topics covered included:

  • a Board initiated review of risk management within the College 
  • proposed upgrade of the College IT systems 
  • release of the Future of the Faculties report prepared by the Faculty of Public Health, recommendations applicable to our Faculty are included 
  • consultation about decentralising Policy and Advocacy roles to various bodies within the College
  • a proposed meeting of the Divisions, Faculties and Chapters (DFaC) with the Chair of the College Education Committee to discuss the curricula renewal process, an opportunity to highlight the specific training needs of our Faculty.

Progress on the AFOEM Council’s Strategic Work Plan was reviewed. Work is underway to improve the visibility and availability of research resources on the RACP website to emphasise research as a cornerstone and foundation of occupational and environmental medicine (OEM) practices through publication of occupational and environmental medicine OEM research articles, opportunities and grants.

Dr David Fitzgerald has been nominated by Council as the AFOEM Lead Fellow to liaise on behalf of the Faculty with Michael Pooley, Senior Project Officer, Member Learning and Development unit.  David will assist the CPD unit in identifying activities and developing resources to help AFOEM Fellows meet their Category 2 (review of performance) and Category 3 (measurement of outcomes) CPD requirements, particularly for those in non-clinical roles. I refer you to the CPD changes article in this edition of the eBulletin for more information. If you have questions or suggestions these can be passed on to David via the Faculty office.  

Employment Poverty and Health (EPH)
The Employment Poverty and Health Statement of Principles was approved by AFOEM Council and will be launched at RACP Congress in Auckland. This was a collaborative College activity led by AFOEM and represented by EPH reference group members Dr David Beaumont (Reference group Chair), Associate Professor Peter Connaughton, Dr Robin Chase, Dr Bret Hart and Dr Farhan Shahzad. 

Advanced Silicosis
Letters from the Presidents of RACP (Professor Mark Lane), AFOEM (Dr Beata Byok), and The Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand (TSANZ) (Professor Allan Glanville) were sent to relevant Commonwealth Ministers and Shadow Ministers and to all State and Territory Ministers for Health and Industrial Relations asking them to establish a Dust Diseases Taskforce. The letter called for a national coordinated response and outlined the proposed terms of reference to address the current epidemic of accelerated silicosis. 

AFOEM has endorsed and added its support to an application from TSANZ for a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) grant to conduct research into obtaining a better understanding of the artificial stone silicosis epidemic in Australia and how it can be prevented and treated.  

Visit ‘Down-Down Under’
You may remember in the August 2018 eBulletin an article ‘Occupational Physicians needed ‘Down-Down Under’ by Dr Peter Sharman, about the impending crisis due to a potential lack of Occupational and Environmental Physicians (OEPs) in Tasmania, as 80 per cent of the occupational and environmental physicians (OEPs) move towards retirement. In response to this crisis and at the invitation of the local members I travelled to Hobart in April and together with Dr Peter Sharman and Dr Helen McArdle we attended a full day of meetings. We met with several organisations, including employers, insurers, unions, Australian Medical Association, Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and the Hon. Sarah Courtney MP, Minister for Building and Construction. 

The purpose of the visit was a fact-finding exercise, to support the local Fellows and current trainees and an opportunity to fly the flag and raise the profile of occupational physicians. We explained what we do, how our input is essential in achieving and maintaining workplace health and how our expertise is applicable in a wider community context, for example the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

I received a positive response from those organisations that we have traditionally worked closely with: general practitioners, insurers, employers and unions. Opportunities and potential strategies were discussed, but more work will need to occur. I asked the Hon. Sarah Courtney to work collaboratively with AFOEM and other key stakeholders to develop a strategy for maintaining and growing a local OEP workforce in Tasmania. 

Dr David Cleveland, Trainee Representative, is leaving AFOEM Council after almost three years. He has been a valuable contributor to Council bringing the views and concerns of trainees to our attention and advocating for the role of occupational physicians in the workplace, specifically in the coal mining industry in Queensland. I thank David on behalf of Council for his involvement and hope that in the future he is again part of Council or another committee in AFOEM. 

An EOI for the trainee position can be found in this edition of the eBulletin.

Dr Beata M Byok
President, AFOEM

RACP’s 2019 Australian Government Election Statement 

The RACP’s 2019 Australian Government Election Statement outlines our priority policy areas across the key themes of sustainability, equity and prevention, and spells out recommendations for future-proofing the Australian healthcare system. 

A suite of materials has been prepared to support Australian member advocacy around our election statement and is accessible from the RACP election campaign page. These include letter templates to be used to write to Members of Parliament or to your local newspaper, social media champion kits, and fact sheets on key priorities. 

Please feel free to use these materials to make your voices heard right up to and including 18 May, and to share your experiences with us, whether via social media or by emailing

Occupational medicine. Out of time?

The skills that made occupational medicine a specialty are no longer the central activities of its practitioners. 

Hygienists, safety people and engineers are used for identification of workplace chemicals and hazards, physiotherapists and occupational therapists are viewed as the best value professions to look at ergonomic hazards. After training in prevention practice, occupational physicians rarely find themselves asked to comment.  

The 1980 founders of occupational medicine never envisaged the profession as a clinical specialty. The structural limitation of training to essentially primary-care clinics leaves occupational physician clinical skills at a generalist level, with little to offer the competent GP. Further, the compensating authority has made occupational physicians substantially irrelevant to general practitioners by the support it provides through its mobile case manager service and second opinion service.  The improved relations between insurer and GPs allow the insurer to substantially influence referrals to specialists. The insurer prefers doctors who assist the insurer to meet its goals.   

Through its rehabilitation systems, the compensating authority has substantially routinised complex problems of work return through insurer – coordinated intervention by physio, occupational therapy and rehabilitation coordinator. The occupational physician is substantially unnecessary. 

Stripped of epidemiology and application of the principles of safety practice, and now effectively excluded from the workplace, clinical occupational medicine can be seen as a restricted form of primary care. 

By its actions the compensating authority in South Australia does not value the occupational physician: it pays general practitioners a higher fee than occupational physicians for comparable medical consultations, it has restricted the body regions that occupational physicians can assess for permanent impairment, so that available work is restricted. 

How will occupational physicians make a living? Possibly, by appealing to the general practitioner as a referral source, but this form of specialist life might be over. The occupational physician can identify potential customers as insurer, union, solicitor, employer, or through marketing directly appeal to injured workers. All these approaches bring problems of agency and expectation.

Specialist occupational physicians in private practice have found high demand for medical report writing, and occupational medicine has become a service facility for the medicolegal industry. Is that what we want? Is that what our trainees expect?

For the majority of occupational physicians, the residual elements of the specialty might not be commercially or professionally viable. The future may be based on various models which might include a dual qualification based on general practice or possibly a link to a speciality that the workplace needs, like respiratory medicine or rheumatology.

What to do?
We need to collect facts about what is happening in the working lives of occupational physicians, so that we can plan our own professional lives, and protect the professional futures of our trainees. We need to have some idea how many occupational physicians the community needs, we need to rethink what skills the occupational physician needs to serve the community. If occupational physicians need a wider professional base, we will need to look squarely at how much training time occupational medicine should take on top of developing a generalist base. 

I recommend a national survey of occupational physicians, to see what we are doing with our time. If the Good Ship OccMed is headed for the rocks, we need to change course, throw overboard some ballast, or transfer to a more seaworthy vessel.

Dr Graham Wright            
Occupational Physician                                                               
Specialist Pain Medicine Physician


RACP Awards and Medals

It is with great pleasure that we congratulate Dr Hui Ting Ooi for being the 2018 Deane Southgate Award recipient. 

Hui Ting is an Occupational Physician Registrar and Medical Review Officer (MRO). She completed her medical degree at Monash University in 2011. Hui Ting came across AFOEM/RACP training by chance when she mingled with her friends back in 2014. She joined Medibank Health Solutions in early 2015 and got onto the AFOEM training in July 2015. She worked part-time as the Company Medical Officer at Toyota Motor Corporations in Melbourne from 2016 to 2017. She successfully passed Stage A AFOEM exam in 2016 and AFOEM Fellowship Exam in 2018. She is now working at Sonic HealthPlus managing workplace injuries, industry specific pre-employment medicals, health surveillance and fitness for duty assessments. Hui Ting loves the work life balance of the AFOEM training. She has never regretted pursuing this amazing and challenging career path.

Notifiable Dust Lung Disease Register in Queensland

Amendments to the Public Health Act 2005 which will establish a Notifiable Dust Lung Disease Register were passed through the Queensland Parliament on 3 April 2019. The new provisions are expected to start later this year, after supporting Regulations have been made by the Governor in Council. For further information, please see the Health and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2018 and support material.

Consultation on RACP revised conflicts of interest policy 

The College is currently undertaking a consultation on its revised Conflict of Interest Policy, which contains significant new revisions and additions. The deadline for feedback is 13 May 2019. If you are interested in providing your feedback to this consultation, please contact

eLearning Module – Cultural Competence

The College has developed a module titled Australian Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Māori Cultural Competence which is available to all members (login required) via This is a useful module for those wanting a deeper understanding on traditional Australian and New Zealand cultural practices. The module can be completed in your own time and will enhance your clinical practice, particularly when working with Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Māori communities.

Pomegranate Health Podcast: Medical fitness to drive

Are you a physician concerned about a patient's fitness to drive?

Our latest Pomegranate Health Podcast speaks to a GP, a neurologist and an occupational therapist about how to confront patients about reducing or ceasing driving, and where responsibilities lie in reporting to the Driver Licencing Authority.

Get the latest electrical devices with member advantage in Australia

The Good Guys Commercial are your answer to accessing the latest and the best in smart devices, toasters and barista-style coffee machines for your home and much more, right at your fingertips.

Member Advantage has taken out the guesswork and made it easy for you to access these time-saving offers, all in one place.
Through your benefits program, get member-exclusive pricing on over 4,000 products with 24/7 online shopping and flexible delivery options*.

To find out more, visit your RACP Member Advantage website or call 1300 853 352.

*Terms and conditions apply. 

Register to participate in the new ethics eLearning resource

Ethics lies at the very heart of what it is to be a physician and is as relevant now as it was when first discussed two and a half thousand years ago. The ethics eLearning resource focuses on the sorts of ethical issues that are a constant feature of healthcare, and it also addresses some of the ideas that underpin ethics, such as the relationship between ethics and the law and the difference between ethics and rights.

The aims of this resource are to:

  • encourage discussion and broaden thinking about the main ethical issues facing physicians
  • encourage reflection on appropriate courses of action in situations that may be ethically challenging
  • challenge participants’ understanding of, and attitudes towards, ethics
  • model ethical practice
  • and help participants reflect on their own and their profession’s ethical commitments.

eLearning@RACP is free for RACP members and counts towards Continuing Professional Development requirements.

If you have questions about eLearning@RACP please email

AFOEM Regional Committee casual vacancies

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

Queensland/Northern Territory

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

South Australia

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


  • one position open for Trainee Representative of AFOEM VIC/TAS Regional Committee.

Western Australia

  • one position open for Chair of AFOEM WA Regional Committee
  • one position open for AFOEM Trainee Representative of AFOEM WA 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

Read RACP Quarterly online

Articles in the March/April 2019 edition include:

  • Blood stem cell therapy brings hope to people living with Multiple Sclerosis
  • Massive funding injection giving hope to people with Parkinson’s
  • Physician burnout – a crisis in healthcare
  • Innovative approach aiming to reduce obesity in Māori communities 

Free breakfast special offer for RACP members with Millennium Hotels

Be it corporate travel to Auckland, a conference or event in Wellington, a unique cultural experience in Rotorua, a romantic winter getaway in Queenstown or a well-deserved family holiday in the sparkling Bay of Islands, there is a Millennium, Copthorne or Kingsgate hotel to suit your travel need. With staff that are committed to providing a high standard of service and value, you’ll always enjoy a stay at a Millennium Hotels and Resort New Zealand hotel.

To warm you up this winter, take advantage of Millennium’s tasty deal exclusively for RACP members – get free breakfast each morning of stay per guest when booking along with 20 per cent off The Flexible Rate*. 

As they say, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and whether you’re a muesli fan or a toast and marmite person, we’ve got you covered. 

To find your special promotion code, visit your RACP Member Advantage website or call 1300 853 352 or +64 800 453 244 for more information.

*Available at 13 hotels across New Zealand and valid for bookings made between 8 April 2019 and 31 May 2019 for stays between 8 of April 2019 and 30 September 2019. Offer is subject to availability. T&C’s apply.

Independent occupational physician services: tender for fire and rescue NSW

Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW), one of the world’s largest urban fire and rescue services with over 6,800 firefighters throughout NSW, is currently undertaking a tender process to procure Independent Occupational Physician Services to provide employment-related medical services, specifically fitness for duty assessments for FRNSW’s firefighting personnel. 

FRNSW has implemented a Health Check program designed to assess 20 per cent of the workforce each year. The Health Checks are intended to increase awareness and understanding of general and firefighter-specific health issues and mitigate the risk of impairment or acute incapacity and will be undertaken by medical practitioners nominated by the firefighters.

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 RACP events list at any time to see what events are coming up.

Expression of Interest

Trainee representative on the AFOEM Council
The Australasian Faculty of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (AFOEM) Council is seeking Expressions of Interest from AFOEM Trainees to fill the role of Trainee Representative on the AFOEM Council.  To submit an Expression of Interest for the trainee representation role on the AFOEM Council, submit a completed Expression of Interest Form and your resume by email to

Check the Expressions of Interest page at any time, to find out if there are any opportunities that are of benefit to you.

Career opportunities

View all positions vacant

AFOEM contact details

AFOEM Faculty enquiries (including Council and committees):
Lucie Perrissel-Taggart, AFOEM Executive Officer
Phone: +61 2 8076 6351

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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