AFRM eBulletin – 17 September 2021

A message from your President

I'm pleased to provide you with another update on our activity in this September edition of the eBulletin. 

Raising our profile

We recently met with representatives of three stakeholder organisations: the National Rural Health Alliance, the Australian Rehabilitation Providers Association, and Brain Injury Australia. Each of these provided an opportunity for us to talk to them about rehabilitation medicine, our training, and the expertise of our Fellows. We were also able to gain a first-hand understanding of these other organisations and by virtue of our discussions hopefully have established a link both personally and officially that will enable us to work together when items of mutual interest arise in the future. There are further meetings planned.

AFRM Exams Working Group

The group continues to meet regularly. The next meeting is scheduled for immediately after the upcoming AFRM Module 2 examination in Melbourne. These meetings enable frequent and fruitful communication between College Education, Learning and Assessment staff, the Chair of the Faculty Assessment Committee and the Faculty Executive Committee. The AFRM Module 2 examination on 10 October 2021 was postponed due to COVID-19 and we are very hopeful that it can take place although as our previous experience demonstrates this can never be 100 per cent certain until very close to the day. There are contingencies should that situation arise again. I wish all candidates the very best.

Academic Committee

The Academic Representative on AFRM Council will be appointed shortly, the EOI process is now completed. I look forward to welcoming the Academic Representative onto the AFRM Council as a tangible way to keep academic issues at the forefront of Faculty thinking both now and into the future. 

We continue to pursue formation of an Academic Committee to work with the AFRM Council representative to pursue appropriate initiatives.

Australian Rehabilitation Outcomes Centre (AROC)

We held our regular liaison meeting with AROC on 26 August 2021. The AFRM Executive Committee met with Kathy Eagar, Director of the Health Services Research Institute, Professor Maria Crotty the newly appointed Clinical Director of AROC and Dr Ross Clifton the recently appointed Director of AROC. They are currently undertaking a strategic review looking to keep AROC forward-looking and resist the temptation to complacency. There is no question that AROC has been a great achievement and continues to be one of the very best benchmarking systems in existence in health in Australasia. The question is whether it could be used more effectively to influence health policy at a state and national level. The strategic review will be a useful step in considering this and other issues.

We continue to seek a Chair of the AROC Management Advisory Group to succeed Dr John Estell whose term finishes soon.

COVID-19 Rehabilitation Group

The College COVID Expert Reference Group (ERG) held two webinars on Long-COVID in September, chaired by Dr Susan Graham, our representative on the ERG and included Professor Steven Faux as a speaker. We continue to explore formation of a COVID-19 Rehabilitation Working Group. This is especially important now given the need for rehabilitation post COVID, and our concerns that rehabilitation services have been curtailed quite significantly throughout the country, yet the needs of our existing case-mix groups persist, as well as the anticipated Long-COVID group.


The College will be launching its Online Communities platform (ROC) this month. We encourage all Fellows and trainees to join the platform. It is designed to create an easier form of direct communication between members and should enable us to set up groups (e.g. Regional Committee groups or smaller Special Interest Groups) which will solve many of the problems of direct communication which have bedevilled particularly regional activities in the last few years.

Vacancies and succession planning

My thanks to everyone who recently applied to fill committee vacancies. We look forward to working with you and thank you for your generosity. At this point we still have some important roles to fill: 

It's very important that we have a range of members willing to step up to all our roles. It's also important that we aspire to an Executive which has a diversity of members reflective of our general Fellowship. Please consider applying.

Rural workforce

This important issue was discussed recently at the Council and has been a subject of discussion and consideration going back more than 10 years. The College Council is commencing a focused piece of work on this issue via its Regional and Rural Physician Working Group on which Dr Jeremy Christley is the AFRM representative. At this stage the principal focus of the Working Group is to develop a regional and rural physician strategy in support of equitable health outcomes for these communities.
.Discussions in the Faculty more than 10 years ago about rural training were mostly focused on attracting Fellows to work in rural areas at a time when very few positions existed. This situation has changed (certainly in New South Wales and Victoria) although there is still a maldistribution when one compares metropolitan to non-metropolitan services. 

The concern of our rural colleagues in recent years is to increase the number of trainees working in rural training positions. This is not an issue that only affects us, in fact has been the subject of consideration by several groups including the Australian College of Rural Medicine and The National Rural Health Alliance. I'm also aware that other groups have mandated rural training terms (e.g. Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and some Basic Physician Training Network positions in New South Wales). There are arguments for and against and not surprisingly these debates have been held by others before us. Ultimately the issue is complicated and involves consideration of the projected long-term rural workforce, the quality of the training experience including whether there are unique characteristics, the role of trainees in establishing and maintaining a quality rehab service, and the burden both social and financial on trainees if a mandatory training term were introduced. A less controversial approach may involve promoting the value of rural training and addressing the economic and social disincentives where they exist.

Faculty Prizes and Awards

Each year we can nominate Fellows for several Faculty and College awards including the John Sands Medal, which is awarded for service to the College, the College Medal which is awarded for services to health services generally, the Rural and Remote Medal which is given for service to rural health, and the International Medal awarded to those who make a contribution to international health. Unfortunately, many of the people who might be quite deserving of these are not necessarily people whose work will be known to everyone in the Faculty. I seek your assistance to bring the names of anyone who you think might be appropriate to the Chair of your Regional Committee as soon as possible.

AFRM Council Meeting

The AFRM Council last met on 20 August 2021 and discussed a range of topics several of which I've discussed above. The AFRM Council consists of the Executive Committee and the Chairs of Regional Committees and meets four times a year. The interaction has been changed significantly by COVID-19 so that all our meetings are now held by video conference. This has in some respects made life easier for those in the more distant locations and Aotearoa New Zealand but does by its nature limit some of the discussion and makes us all feel slightly more isolated in our decision-making.

Those of us who have been struggling under prolonged lockdown conditions will be looking forward to some light at the end of the tunnel. Vaccination rates have certainly given us hope that things can improve and that perhaps many of our activities might be starting to look a little more normal in 2022. Road cyclists will know that in the lockdown areas we have been restricted to riding alone or with one other person for many months now and for those of us used to riding in larger groups that has been a strange experience. Some, like me, have adopted online racing and riding with people from all over the world in simulated cities which for those who haven't been particularly involved in online gaming has been quite a new experience. I'll certainly be counting the days till we can ride in larger groups in person at some stage in the future.

Regards to all,

Dr Greg Bowring
AFRM President

RMSANZ Snapshots 2021

Over 200 delegates, sponsors and speakers joined us online for Rehabilitation Medicine Society of Australia and New Zealand (RMSANZ) Virtual Snapshots 2021 on the weekend of 31 July to 1 August. The weekend gave members the opportunity to learn, connect and network. 

The full program was well received with a number of topics generating significant interest from our members. The topics included, but were not limited to:

  • National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)
  • alternative models of care (in-reach/complex care)
  • effect of placebo and nocebo in pain management
  • rehabilitation outpatients, paediatrics, geriatrics
  • rural and remote practice
  • scientific breakthroughs and basic science research.

Attendance and delegate involvement was strong over the weekend, with many sessions ending up with more live questions during the panel discussion than there was time for! Delegates enjoyed connecting with each other and the sponsors during the breaks, with five lucky delegates winning fantastic prizes through a number of competitions set up throughout the event.

Registrations and recordings

For those who were unable to join live, recordings are available of the full program until the end of October 2021. Register today to gain immediate access to these recordings. To register please visit the Snapshots 2021 website.

RMSANZ 2022 Annual Scientific Meeting 

As the Meeting Committee take a well-deserved break, we look forward to reconnecting with our Conference Committee as our sights turn to the RMSANZ 2022 Annual Scientific Meeting. Due to be held on the Gold Coast in June 2022, we look forward to following up on a number of these topics, as well as finally connecting with new speakers, and of course all our members, in a face-to-face environment.

If you have any questions, please contact Alex Petersen, RMSANZ Administrative Officer, on +61 0477 201 806 or email

RAC2273_RACP_Online_Community_Debate_v1_Facebook 1200x628

AFRM Adrian Paul Prize

Are you an AFRM Advanced Trainee or New Fellow within your first year of Fellowship? 
You may be eligible to apply for the Adrian Paul Prize, which is awarded annually for the best scientific work in the field of rehabilitation medicine submitted as part of the AFRM Advanced Training Program.

For further details please visit the website. Applications close on Sunday, 31 October 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.

Successful nominees are presented a medal at the RACP Congress and receive full Congress registration, travel and accommodation.

Full details are available on the RACP Foundation webpage.

NeuroRehabilitation Anatomy and Ultrasound Workshops

Dates: Friday, 15 October to Saturday, 16 October 2021.
Location: Sunshine Coast, QLD.

Applications are open to attend a one and a half day Anatomy and Ultrasound Workshop on the Sunshine Coast from Friday, 15 October to Saturday, 16 October 2021.

The workshop is open to accredited registrars and consultants in rehabilitation medicine, neurology, orthopaedic surgery, plastic surgery and geriatric medicine. The main objective of the workshop is to learn advanced ultrasound skills to identify anatomical structures to perform safe and effective intramuscular injections of botulinum toxin to treat upper and lower limb spasticity.

The workshops will be restricted to a maximum of four participants to enable a detailed and first-hand learning experience.
For more information, visit the Neurorehabilitation website.

Spinal Masterclass 

Dates: 8.30am (AEDT) Thursday, 7 October 2021 to 1.30pm (AEDT) Saturday, 9 October 2021
Location: Online

The Prince of Wales Spinal Injuries Unit returns with its sell-out Spinal Masterclass in a virtual format. The masterclass aims to provide an overview of the whole journey of spinal cord injury management in the acute and early rehabilitative setting. This will benefit any clinician (medical, nursing or allied health) who is involved in managing spinal patients at any stage. We will present a practically structured approach towards optimising multi-disciplinary team care and management of patients with spinal cord injury with key evidence-based concepts.

For further information view the Spinal Masterclass brochure 2021.

Second virtual HIPFest

Date: Friday, 29 October 2021 12pm to 3pm (AEDT)
Location: Online

After an enjoyable and informative virtual HIPFest in May this year, we are looking forward to another great webinar. We are honoured to be hosting a great line-up of speakers presenting more of the topics requested in our earlier 'Your Say Survey'.

In addition, our webmaster will be launching some innovative new features of the registry and our new-look website. Plus, you will have the opportunity to ask the Australian & New Zealand Hip Fracture Registry (ANZHFR) team any questions you may have about getting the most out of your registry participation.

See the ANZHFR Virtual Hip Festival Program for details.

Don’t delay, register today. We look forward to seeing you at HIPFest!

Narelle Payne
Project Officer
Australia & New Zealand Hip Fracture Registry

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. Our 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). 

This month, we’re highlighting the work of Dr Kirsty Neal, General Medicine and Endocrine Specialist and former STP trainee – Alice Springs Hospital.

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.  

Rehab in Review journal

Rehab in Review is a surveillance journal whose editors scan 70 rehabilitation related journals for the best, most current 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 Emory University School of Medicine (Georgia, USA), Department of Rehabilitation Medicine.

The Editors of this publication generously provide this publication to the Faculty and all its members at no cost.

View the Rehab in Review August 2021 edition.

Bi National Training Program (BNTP) – 2021 Timetable

The Bi National Training Program (BNTP) lectures will proceed – attendance in person is no longer available but trainees can continue to join via teleconference/videoconference.

If trainees cannot join the live teleconference/videoconference, a recording of the session is uploaded to the event listings webpage to watch at a convenient time.

Please visit the event listings webpage for further details of the lecture.

Date Time Topic
Wednesday, 22 September 2021 3pm to 5pm AEST Cancer Lymphoedema
Wednesday, 27 October 2021 3pm to 5pm AEDT

Upper Limb Amputation

  • Paediatric Amputation/Congenital Limb Deficiency/Limb Loss
  • Brachial Plexus Injuries
Wednesday, 24 November 2021 3pm to 5pm AEDT Lower Limb Amputation

College 'Are you COVID-19 safe?' member survey now open

Current members practising in Australia will receive a direct email inviting them to complete an internal survey. Now is the time to let us know about the impact of the COVID-19 Delta variant on your workload, workplace safety circumstances and concerns, how the healthcare system is being impacted, and importantly, where the College can direct more support.

The survey is for trainees, Fellows, private and public practitioners. With the de-identified data from the survey, the College will have an evidence base with which to advance our advocacy efforts on members’ safety and protection needs, and associated priority areas, as advised by you. The survey is short and to the point, taking nine to 15 minutes.

Members are advised that an internal report will be prepared using de-identified data only, no individuals will be identified at any stage, and that summary data using de-identified data may be produced for external reporting (for example in the media, to the Australian Government, Commonwealth and State/Territory Departments of Health).

The deadline to complete the survey is close of business Monday, 4 October 2021.For further information or if you did not receive a link to the survey, please email

Pomegranate Health Podcast

Ep72: Modelling a Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to public attention, like never before, the work of public health physicians as well as epidemiologists, statisticians and computer modelers. The crisis has also shown how hard it is to make decisions affecting the lives of millions when there is so little evidence to go on. Models of viral spread and interventions to mitigate these have become everyday discussion points, but few people understand how hard these are to put together. In this podcast we share expert talks that were presented at RACP Congress in April and May 2021. While they precede the latest developments of the Delta strain and the National Plan to curb it by increasing vaccination rates, they clarify some of the first principles that go into creating these simulations, and the pressures of giving critical public health advice.

Professor Michael Baker FAFPHM (University of Otago) 
Professor Tony Blakely (Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne)
Professor Jodie McVernon FAFPHM (Director of Epidemiology, Doherty Institute)

Subscribe to email alerts or search for ‘Pomegranate Health’ in Apple PodcastsSpotifyCastbox, 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

Listen now

Blood Matters: Perioperative anaemia assessment and management in elective surgical procedures 2020 audit report

Anaemia is a major public health issue. In surgical patients, preoperative anaemia is associated with adverse outcomes, including increased length of stay, risk of infection and risk of receiving a blood transfusion (Delaforce 2020).

The National Blood Authority (NBA) Patient Blood Management (PBM) guidelines ‘Module 2: Perioperative’ (Module 2) was released in March 2012 (NBA 2012). Blood Matters conducted the 2020 audit to assess health services’ compliance with Module 2 in relation to:

  • assessment and management of reversible anaemia prior to elective surgery
  • blood conservation strategies used intraoperatively to reduce postoperative anaemia
  • post-operative strategies to manage and treat anaemia.

The audit shows that nine years after the publication of the national PBM guidelines, there is still much work to be done to implement and embed timely, quality anaemia assessment and management in the surgical groups reported.

To help address the identified gaps Blood Matters request that:

  • appropriate committees/working groups review the final report, noting recommendations and potential areas for improvement as they relate to each clinical specialty. The ‘Patient blood management checklist (pages 13 to 14)’ includes the components of a quality PBM program, and outlines how each component complies with the:

The final ‘Perioperative anaemia assessment and management in elective surgical procedures – Preoperative, intraoperative and postoperative audit report 2020’ is available for review and action.

Any queries please contact Blood Matters at or call +61 3 9694 0102.

Evolve Webinar Series September session: Prescribing cascade – Improving the trickle down

Unsafe medication practices and medication errors have been identified by the World Health Organization (WHO) as leading causes of injury and avoidable harm in healthcare systems across the world. Patient safety is every clinician’s priority.

Join this important session on Tuesday, 21 September 2021from 6pm to 7pm (AEST), 8pm to 9pm (NZST), led by Dr Genevieve Gabb with speakers Professor Jennifer Martin and Dr Chris Cameron, to discuss the common causes of physician induced harm.

Register now

Australian Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Māori Cultural Competence and Cultural Safety online course

Our self-paced online cultural competence and cultural safety course supports the provision of culturally competent and culturally safe, best practice medicine for Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Māori patients. The course facilitates reflection on our own cultural values so that we can recognise their influence on our professional practice, while also exploring how cultural safety principles can be applied to improve Indigenous patient health outcomes and experience of care.

Developed by experts and RACP Fellows, this adaptable course features a mix of in-depth content, video scenarios, reflection and discussion activities and recommended supporting materials.

New online course: Specialist Care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People

This new self-paced online course has been designed to help physicians and trainees to better understand the RACP’s Medical Specialist Access Framework and take steps to apply its principles in their daily practice, with the aim of addressing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s inequitable access to specialist healthcare by connecting stakeholders involved in delivering specialist medical care. The course focuses on steps that individual practitioners can take, highlighting successful case studies of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people accessing specialist care.

New FAQs on ethical relationships between health professionals and industry

The Ethics Committee has developed a set of FAQs to address ethical issues physicians commonly encounter in their relationships with industry covering the following topics:

  • meeting with drug representatives
  • speaking at a pharmaceutical company sponsored event
  • funding from a pharmaceutical company to attend a conference
  • pharmaceutical sponsorship for clinical meeting or grand round
  • funding from a pharmaceutical company to conduct or participate in research
  • invitation to be a member of a pharmaceutical company advisory board.

These FAQs are based on and complement the RACP Guidelines for ethical relationships between health professionals and industry.

Discover your world of benefits with Commercial Pricing

Whether you’re refreshing your wardrobe or searching for a special gift, the Member Advantage portal is your one-stop shop. Save on a curated selection of brands like Myer, The Iconic, Country Road, Sunglass Hut and many more.

Plus, through your membership you can access commercial pricing and discounts from The Good Guys and JB HiFi for all your white-goods, electronic and small appliance needs. Not only do you receive special pricing in real-time, you’ll also get the advantage of personalised customer service, delivery and more.

Learn more about all your benefits through your Member Advantage platform in Australia or Aotearoa New Zealand.

If you need assistance activating your benefits account, contact the customer care team on 1300 853 352.

Career opportunities 


Aotearoa New Zealand

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 events are coming up.

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. 

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

Bi-National Training Program (BNTP)

NSW Lecture Series

Rehabilitation Medicine Society of Australia and New Zealand (RMSANZ)

RMSANZ is the professional body for rehabilitation physicians and trainees in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand.

Australasian Rehabilitation Outcomes Centre

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

AFRM contact details 

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

AFRM Faculty enquiries (including Council and committees):
Jane Henderson, Executive Officer, AFRM
Phone: +61 2 8076 6315

AFRM Aotearoa New Zealand Committee:
Executive Officer DFACs AoNZ
Phone: +64 4 460 8142
AFRM Education and Training enquiries:
Education Officer
Phone: +61 2 82476237

AFRM oral examination enquiries:
Examination Coordinator 
Phone: +61 2 92569673

AFRM training site accreditation enquiries:
Education Officer
Phone: +61 8247 6233
Close overlay