AFRM eBulletin – 14 December 2021

A Message from Your President

I can feel the year finally slowing down now that we’ve reached December, and I don't have a great deal to report in terms of activities at the executive level.

I would like to introduce our new Executive Officer, Caroline Lambert, who has recently joined the Faculty executive team. She can be reached at:


COVID-19 continues to dominate much of our working and personal lives. Just when we felt our vaccination levels were reaching world beating standards that would allow us to relax a little, we now have news of the omicron variant with new fears about its ability to reduce the efficacy of our vaccinations. I know that many of you have suffered reductions in services in your rehabilitation units and I hope you have responded to the AROC survey which is specifically designed to document these impacts and to use that information to ensure that we can recover our services effectively when COVID-19 allows. My own experience of a 30 per cent reduction in bed numbers and no guarantee of return of these beds is, I'm sure, mirrored in many places around the country.

RACP Online Communities (ROC)

Please take the time to download the app and explore the ROC. You'll notice that I have placed a document from the New South Wales Agency for Clinical Innovation (ACI) titled “Management of adults with COVID-19 in the post-acute phase”. Useful documents like this can be uploaded for the benefit of others to the ROC library. We hope to be able to use the ROC to enable easier communication between branch committees and Fellows, and between the branch training coordinators and trainees in the regions.


With our 2021 examinations completed, we now turn our attention to 2022. As you know, the examination dates have been published for next year - the Fellowship exams (Adult and Paediatric) being scheduled for March and May and Modules 1 & 2 for July and August. After the rollercoaster of the past two years, we are confident that the examinations will be mounted successfully in 2022.

Dr Francis Angelo Anthony

It is with sadness that I recognise the recent passing of another Faculty Fellow, Dr Angelo Anthony – a Spinal Injury Medicine Physician in Aotearoa, New Zealand. An obituary has been included in this month’s e-Bulletin.

As the year comes to a close, I wish you all the very best for the upcoming festive season and the New Year. I hope you all have a chance to relax and reunite with families and friends. It's a good reminder that while work consumes most of our daily lives the importance of our connection with family and friends should not be forgotten. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the many Faculty volunteers who give so much of their time and continue to be a vital part of the Faculty’s work. I thank you one and all and urge any Fellows or trainees who feel they can contribute in some way to watch the Faculty e-Bulletin or contact their Regional Branch Committee to see how they can help.

I would especially like to thank the members of the Executive: Jenny Mann, Tim Geraghty, Caitlin Anderson, and Richard Seemann, along with RACP staff members Jo Goldrick, Phil Munro, and Caroline Lambert, as well as others in Education, Policy and Advocacy, and Member Services who support our work.

Dr Greg Bowring
AFRM President

Obituary for Dr Francis Angelo Anthony

It is with great sadness on behalf of the Burwood Spinal Unit and Aotearoa New Zealand branch of the Australasian Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine (AFRM) that I advise you of the passing of our dear colleague, the legendary spinal specialist, Dr Angelo Anthony.

Dr Anthony was born on 3 December 1939 in Sri Lanka. He immigrated to Aotearoa New Zealand in the early 1970s and after a brief period working as a surgical registrar in the North Island, he started working at Christchurch Hospital in 1974. It was then that he became interested in spinal injuries and eventually joined Mr Bill Utley and Dr Allan Bean to become one of the pioneers and leading specialists in the care of spinal cord injured patients.

He was trained and qualified in rehabilitation medicine in the UK and was accepted as a Fellow of AFRM. With his extensive knowledge and skills in surgery and urology, Dr Anthony became one of the leading specialists at Burwood Spinal Unit treating patients with devastating injuries.

He is loved by patients and their families, and staff at the Burwood Spinal Unit.

Thanks to his great work, along with the work of Dr Allan Bean and Mr Bill Utley, the Burwood Spinal Unit has become recognised as one of the leading spinal units in the world. Dr Anthony dedicated over 40 years of his life to people with spinal cord injuries and was recognised by this country with the New Zealand Order of Merit, awarded in 2008. Dr Anthony is a father of four children including three boys and one girl and he is truly beloved by families and friends.

A great medical giant and true legend in our field, Dr Anthony will be dearly missed.

Dr Shaun Xiong FAFRM

Rehab in Review Journal

Rehab in Review is a surveillance journal where editors scan 70 rehabilitation related journals for the best, most up-to-date literature important to the practice of physical medicine and rehabilitation. Rehab in Review is produced by physicians specialising in physical medicine and rehabilitation, with the cooperation and assistance of the Emory University School of Medicine (Georgia, USA), Department of Rehabilitation Medicine. The publication is generously provided to the Faculty and its members at no cost.

View the Rehab in Review November 2021 edition.

2022 Faculty exams

The 2022 Faculty examination dates are now available. Dates are subject to change due to the impact of COVID-19.

The Faculty Assessment Committee and College staff are working on contingency planning for all Faculty exams. We know that COVID-19 is impacting regions differently and that this will continue to evolve between now and the scheduled exam period. We are monitoring COVID-19 in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand carefully and we are preparing multiple contingencies to try and provide candidates with the best options possible.

RACP 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 the 2022 RACP Congress to gain educational and networking opportunities and exposure to career pathways within the College.

Please encourage anyone you know who is eligible to apply before the deadline of Monday, 31 January 2022Visit the RACP President's Indigenous Congress Prize website for further details.

AFRM Symposium for AFRM Aotearoa NZ members

The Australasian Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine invites Fellows and trainees to attend the annual symposium. The symposium provides Aotearoa NZ AFRM members with a platform to network, present research, education and case presentations, and discuss updates in rehabilitation medicine.

Date: Saturday, 26 February 2022, 10am to 3pm NZDT

Location: Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland - Venue TBC

During the event, the Dr Boris Mak Rehabilitation Medicine Trainee Award will also be presented. The award, which is made possible through the generosity of the late Dr Boris Mak FAFRM, offers a first-place prize of $1,000 for the best trainee presentation and a second prize of $500.

For more information about the award, visit the RACP website.

For more information about the Symposium, email Aotearoa NZ AFRM.

Updated AFRM Position Statement on the Use of Stem Cell Therapy for Children with Cerebral Palsy

The AFRM Stem Cells Working Group has completed an update of the Position Statement on the use of stem cell therapy for children with cerebral palsy based on a review of peer-reviewed literature.

Currently, health professionals lack summary information about current medical research to enable informed discussion. The purpose of the updated position statement is to provide a brief introduction of stem cells, a concise summary of the current clinical research landscape on stem cell treatments for cerebral palsy, and recommendations to support discussion between physicians and their patients.

The key contents of the updated position statement are:

  • a summary of recommendations
  • types, sources, and current clinical use of stem cells
  • the use of stem cell therapy for cerebral palsy
  • current research available for families and health professionals
  • implications for families.

Safe training environments: addressing bullying, harassment and discrimination

Many of us are aware of ongoing reports from our members which indicate bullying, harassment, discrimination, and uncivil behaviours are significant issues within medicine.

Hostile interactions in training and work environments negatively impact safe patient care, lead to psychological stress and inhibit learning.

The RACP ethos holds that respect and care for our patients and colleagues is of the utmost importance.

The RACP has an unambiguous responsibility to lead, promote, and support Members in delivering safe patient care and facilitating positive learning environments.

In response to these reports, the Safe Training Environments Summit on Friday, 5 November 2021 brought together members of the College Education Committee, College Trainees’ Committee, and invited guests to collaborate and agree on a strategic approach to tackling bullying, harassment and discrimination in training environments.

We were grateful to hear from Dr Sally Langley, President of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, regarding their approach to dealing with bullying, harassment, and discrimination in surgical training programs. Summit participants worked together to explore the root causes of these issues and prioritise key strategic areas where the RACP can take action.

In coming months, the RACP will be developing and sharing with you a strategic action plan to support this important work.

Physicians have a critical leadership role in setting the tone and behaviour of healthcare teams to foster respectful behaviour and attitudes. We call on you to be involved and join us in creating safe work and training environments.

Associate Professor Mitra Guha AM              Dr Davina Buntsma
Chair, College Education Committee             Chair, College Trainees’ Committee

Seeking your input to develop our new International Strategy

A new five-year RACP International Strategy is being developed, and we are seeking your advice and input. We want to know what you are doing in the international space, what you feel the College should be doing, and how you view the future role of the RACP internationally.

Please take time to reflect and advise on the following:

  • What activities are you involved with in the international space that involve (or should involve) the College?
  • What do you think is important in shaping the future role of the RACP internationally?

Please email your responses to

Focus areas of international engagement

We have identified three focus areas of international engagement by the College and its members:

  • Learn through partnership – including benchmarking, research and teaching collaborations with selected international colleges and similar entities
  • Trusted provider – micro-credentialling, educational provider, expert resource to doctors world-wide, but especially in our region
  • Global health supporter (LMIC) – we have rich and historical links with partner countries in our region. These are guided by RACP engagement principles:
  • Are we wanted/have we been asked for assistance?
  • Is there an identified need that supports and builds capacity?
    • Local clinicians
    • Builds the in-country health system
  • Is the engagement robust and sustainable?
  • Will it displace an existing, functioning activity?
  • Does it use the College’s core capability in postgraduate training?

Find out more about RACP International Strategy.

ANZSOM Annual Scientific Meeting

ANZSOM 2022 Annual Scientific Meeting

The ANZSOM Annual Scientific Meeting will be held at the Victoria Park Function Venue, on Sunday, 20 March to Wednesday, 23 March 2022.

The world and workforce are changing. The upcoming ANZOM will explore key issues for occupational medicine – CULTURE, COVID, CLIMATE – and provide opportunities to learn and develop skills across a range of topics relevant to daily practice.

With a long-awaited opportunity to meet face-to-face, we look forward to doing what we do best – providing a highly interactive program including worksite visits, workshops, a mock court, CPR update and more.

The 2022 Annual Scientific Meeting will also be offered as a hybrid event giving delegates the choice of attending in person in Brisbane or virtually from wherever they are.

Registrations are now open, with Early Bird discounts available until Monday, 20 December 2021.

Visit ANZSOM for more information.




RACP Congress 2022 

RACP Congress 2022 is bringing together a packed program that explores ideas regarding how specialists can bring about positive change and the best approaches to achieve this.

Hear Keynote speaker, Dr Sandro Demaio draw on his background and personal experiences in the session: ‘Health promotion helping to rebuild a healthy population’.

Explore what else we can be doing in the session: ‘Improving workforce and support for rural and remote communities’ and reflect on lessons from COVID-19 - a global game changer.

Don’t miss your Early Bird discount.

Register for the RACP congress by Friday, 31 December 2021 to secure your Early Bird discount.

Bi National Training Program (BNTP) 2022 

The BNTP lectures will proceed as scheduled. Attendance in person is no longer available but trainees can continue to join via teleconference/videoconference.

If trainees are unable to attend the live teleconference/videoconference, a recording of each session will be available to watch at a more convenient time.




Wednesday, 23 February 2022

3pm to 5pm AEDT

Illness and injury in the elderly

  • Delirium and dementia

For more information, visit RACP events.

Pomegranate Health Podcast  

Making Amends - Medical Injury Part 3 (Ep76) is the third podcast in a series about medical injury. In the first podcast – Saying Sorry- Medical Injury Part 1 (Ep74) – we talked about what patients and their families want to hear after a iatrogenic injury. And how practitioners can provide victims of adverse healthcare incidents with the comfort they seek.

In the second podcast – Feeling Guilty- Medical Injury Part 2 (Ep75) – we explored the guilt that can come about from having caused harm, and the cognitive dissonance this creates in one’s professional identity as a healer.

We also heard how fear of medicolegal suits is a major obstacle to greater transparency, at least in Australia, where litigation is virtually the only way for victims to get financial compensation for their hardship and ongoing care. While Aotearoa New Zealand, by contrast, operates a no-fault compensation scheme where all such costs are born by the government.

In Making Amends- Medical Injury Part 3 (Ep76) we’ll look at the advantages this system has, for patients and practitioners, and also some of the issues that remain unresolved.


  • Associate Professor Marie Bismark FAFPHM (Melbourne School of Population and Global Health University of Melbourne).
  • Associate Professor Katharine Wallis FRACGP FACRRM (Head, Primary Care Clinical Unit, University of Queensland)

Note: We are looking for new members to join the Podcast Editorial Group for 2022.

Key responsibilities are to:

  • discuss potential new podcast topics and prioritise them for development
  • for a chosen topic, suggest themes to explore and people to interview
  • listen to audio drafts and provide feedback to the producer to improve it before publication.

If you are interested in joining the RACP Podcast Editorial Group, please complete the application form and return by email to Applications close Monday, 31January 2022.

Transcripts and supporting references are available on the Pomegranate Health website.

Subscribe to email alerts or search for ‘Pomegranate Health’ in Apple PodcastsSpotifyCastbox or any podcasting appFellows of the RACP can claim CPD credits for listening and learning via MyCPD.

Discover RACP Online Learning

We understand that you’re busy and that’s why our online courses are created to allow you to dip in and out, or just do the parts that are relevant to you. Developed by members, for members, the interactive nature of our online courses enables you to learn from your peers.

Covering important professional and clinical topics, such as ethics, cultural competence, communication skills, genomics, quality and safety, plus more, RACP Online Learning is free for members and counts towards Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirements.

Discover your online options today.

Health Sector Women's Leadership Summit

Created by Australia’s leading authority on women’s leadership – Women & Leadership Australia (WLA) – The Australian Health Sector Women’s Leadership Summit is a new online event for women leaders at all levels and across all facets of the health sector.

Guiding our health sector organisations through the coronavirus pandemic and continuing to prioritise patient care has placed extraordinary demands on leaders throughout Australia and the world.

The world as we knew it has changed, and for some, a level of ambiguity will remain. This critical juncture presents a timely opportunity to reflect and learn from our recent experiences and rethink the way we do things.

The summit supports leadership development through strategic industry-based networking, targeted skills development, and opportunities for leaders to share their experiences. The summit will also provide access to an unparalleled group of inspirational women leaders and role models.

This interactive, online event will feature inspirational keynote presentations, expert workshops, panel discussions, participant breakout sessions, and discussion forums.

 Date and time:

  • Friday, 25 March 2022
  • Attendee registration will commence at 8:40am (AEDT)
  • Summit sessions will conclude at 3.40pm (AEDT)

Fees and registration:

To celebrate the launch of this exciting event, WLA is offering the first 100 delegates an incredible ‘Super Saver’ registration rate of A$295 + GST (standard rate is A$695 + GST).

To find out more, visit Women & Leadership Australia.

Australian and New Zealand Affiliate of the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine: Improving Diagnosis 2022 Conference

Announcing new dates for the ANZA-SIDM Improving Diagnosis 2022 Conference.

Having been postponed due to COVID-19, the conference will be taking place virtually from Thursday, 28 April to Friday, 29 April 2022 (AEST).

Previously known as the Australasian Diagnostic Error in Medicine Conference, the Improving Diagnosis conference will be hosted by the Australian and New Zealand Affiliate of the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine (ANZA-SIDM).

ANZA-SIDM will bring together diverse multidisciplinary groups including researchers, patients, physicians, surgeons, radiologists, paramedics, linguists, psychologists, medical administrators, and others – who are dedicated to the subject of making diagnosis safer.

The conference theme is: Embracing Challenges and Change.

For more information, visit Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine.

Appraisal by the Medical Services Advisory Committee

Scheduled agenda items for the Medical Services Advisory Committee (MSAC) Meeting –
31 March to 1 April 2022.

Application 1354.1 – Intravascular ultrasound guided coronary stent insertion

Application 1613 – Permanent acute coronary syndrome event detector (insertion, removal or replacement of) for monitoring of the heart's electrical activity

Application 1614.1 - Magnetic resonance-guided focused ultrasound for the treatment of medically refractory essential tremor

Application 1646 – Whole genome sequencing of antimicrobial-resistant pathogens

Application 1669 – KRAS G12C variant testing to determine eligibility for PBS-subsidised sotorasib second-line therapy in patients with locally advanced or metastatic non small cell lung cancer

Application 1673 – Single operator, single use, peroral cholangiopancreatoscopy for diagnosis of indeterminate biliary strictures and removal of difficult biliary stones

Application 1678 - Integrating practice pharmacists into Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (The IPAC Project)

Application 1679 – Improved medication management for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Feasibility Study (IMeRSe Feasibility Study)

Application 1695 – Procedures for the implantation and refill-exchange of the Port Delivery System with ranibizumab to treat neovascular age-related macular degeneration

Application 1699 - National Lung Cancer Screening Program

Consultation input

MSAC values consultation input from individuals and organisations with an interest in an application that it is considering, including experience of the medical conditions, services or technologies being addressed by the application.

Consultation input must be received by no later than Friday, 11 February 2022 for it to be considered by MSAC at its March/April 2022 meeting. A Consultation Survey Form is available on the relevant application webpage.

For more information regarding MSAC, including how to apply for a new MBS item or a change to an existing MBS item, status of reviews and completed reports, or subscribing to the email bulletin, please refer to the MSAC website or contact the Health Technology Assessment Access Point via:

MSAC website:

Rehabilitation in the news

Expressions of interest

Visit Expressions of Interest to view opportunities that may be of benefit to you.

Career Opportunities

Applications close Monday, 28 February 2022.

View all positions vacant.

Conferences and events

The 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. 

Find out more about our upcoming events.

Trainee 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.

Find out more about our upcoming events.

Bi-National Training Program (BNTP) 

NSW Lecture Series

Find out more about our upcoming events.

Rehabilitation Medicine Society of Australia and New Zealand (RMSANZ)

RMSANZ is the professional body for Rehabilitation Physicians and Trainees in Australia & New Zealand.

Australasian Rehabilitation Outcomes Centre (AROC)

The Australasian Rehabilitation Outcomes Centre (AROC) is the national rehabilitation medicine clinical registry of Australia and New Zealand.

AFRM contact details

Member enquiries

Phone: (AUS) 1300 69 7227
Phone: (NZ) 0508 69 7227

AFRM Faculty enquiries (including Council and Committees)

Caroline Lambert
Executive Officer, AFRM

AFRM Aotearoa NZ Committee

Marion Salter
Executive Officer, DFAC’s AoNZ
Phone: +64 4 460 8142

AFRM education and training enquiries

Jessica Ward
Education Officer
Phone: +61 2 8247 6237

AFRM oral examination enquiries

Ella Campbell
Examination Coordinator
Phone: +61 2 9256 9659

AFRM training site accreditation enquiries

Jessica Ward
Education Officer
Phone: +61 8247 6233



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