AFPHM eBulletin - 13 December 2019

Podcast: ‘Why Public Health is the answer to almost everything’

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) has released a podcast on Radio National which may be of interest to you. This was presented by the Australian Public Health Conference 2019.

Listen to the podcast

A message from your President

The AFPHM Council met recently for our last meeting of the year, and what for me was my last face-to-face Council meeting before handing over to Professor Robyn Lucas next May. It is great to be a member of a group of people so committed to public health in Australia and internationally, and to training the next generation of public health physicians. When nominations are called for AFPHM Council positions in the new year, please do consider nominating yourself or someone else who is keen. 

At our meeting we reviewed data showing AFPHM member and trainee numbers and noted we are an ageing workforce and that the number of trainees seems to be declining. Funding for public health is stretched across Australia and there have been several public health physician positions lost over the past year. On the other hand, we public health physicians have a unique set of skills in which we bring together extensive clinical knowledge, leadership skills and public health expertise. This enables us to understand, analyse and respond to complex public health issues and communicate with both our clinical and public health colleagues as well as policy-makers. These skills set us up well for a range of different jobs, from communicable diseases and environmental health, to policy, healthcare quality and safety and academia. There are few professions that can be applied to such a range of situations, and to me this is a major strength of what we do.

We acknowledge however, that our profession and associated job opportunities are not growing at a level that our current social and environmental conditions require. As I pointed out in a recent post, situations of economic hardship and collapse require stronger public health systems in order to protect the health of the population, not to mention the ever-increasing challenges relating to the climate crisis. 

Therefore, a major focus of our policy and advocacy work over the next period will be the promotion of public health medicine as well as the importance of a strong public health system. Doctors in general have been very effective advocates for a strong healthcare system, but advocacy for public health has not been so effective. 

It is my hope and expectation that our efforts over the next year or so will be effective in raising the profile of our vitally important profession.

Associate Professor Linda Selvey
AFPHM President

AFPHM training resources

A reminder to all AFPHM trainees, the following resources are available for your training:

Other resources you may be interested in, include:

Overseas training placements

Trainees may complete up to (a total of) 12 months in overseas placements. Overseas training must be approved prospectively by the Regional Education Coordinator and the overseeing committee. To do this, trainees need to:

  1. Select and apply for a public health training position overseas. Some positions are already listed in the Accredited Settings for Public Health Medicine document.
  2. If your position is not accredited, an application for accreditation of a training position can be submitted. See the ‘Public Health Medicine’ section on the Apply for Accreditation webpage.
  3. Once this position is accredited, apply for this position to be recognised towards your training following the ‘Apply for Approval of Training’ section on our website.

AFPHM trainees are welcome to contact the Faculty via to be put in touch with other AFPHM trainees who have successfully undertaken overseas training. 

RACP Congress 2020 'Balancing Medical Science with Humanity' – Global health security

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

We are excited to announce the dedicated session on global health security. We will commence with an overview of what global health security is. Our presenters will consider what Australia’s and New Zealand’s role and capacity is to respond to global health issues and crises. This will explore who decides what diseases and health issues are prioritised and what the interface is between health and security. 

All members are invited to join us at this thought-provoking session.

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

President's Indigenous Congress Prize

The RACP President's Indigenous Congress Prize is open to medical students, junior medical officers and RACP trainees who identify as Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander or Māori. The selected applicant will receive support to attend RACP Congress 2020 in Melbourne. The opportunity allows you to gain educational and networking opportunities, as well as exposure to career pathways within the College.

The prize includes:

  • full registration for RACP Congress 2020, held in May in Melbourne
  • return economy airfares to Melbourne
  • up to three nights accommodation.

Please encourage anyone you know who is eligible to apply before applications close on Friday, 31 January 2020.

Further details 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

Seeking AFPHM representatives for committees

Are you willing to represent your colleagues and be a voice for the Faculty? Would you like to be part of creating positive change within the Faculty? 

The Faculty is currently seeking Expressions of Interest for the following positions: 

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

Accredited AFPHM training positions

As a part of the AFPHM training program, trainees are expected to complete their core training in an AFPHM accredited training position.

A list of accredited AFPHM training positions is available on the RACP website.

Career opportunities

View all positions vacant

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 other events are coming up.

AFPHM contact details

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

AFPHM Faculty enquiries (including Council and committees):

Rachel Smith, Executive Officer
Phone: +61 2 9256 9622

AFPHM Education and Training enquiries:
Education Officer
Phone: +61 2 8247 6286

AFPHM Oral Examination enquiries:
Examination Coordinator, Assessment and Selection Unit
Phone: +61 2 9256 9681

AFPHM training site accreditation inquiries:
Site Accreditation Unit

Phone: +61 2 9256 9674

AFPHM CPD enquiries:
Office of the Dean (CPD)
Phone: +61 2 8247 6285

AFPHM New Zealand enquiries:
RACP New Zealand Office
Phone: +64 4 472 6713
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