AFRM eBulletin – 20 August 2021

A message from your President

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

AFRM Annual Members Meeting 2021

Thank you for those who joined us for the Annual Members Meeting which was held online successfully again. The online format allows us to reach more members than we traditionally did in our face-to-face meetings. In the future we hope to be able to combine face-to-face and online format.

Raising the profile of AFRM: meetings with stakeholders

Following a targeted mail-out to stakeholders, we have been responding to requests for meetings with organisations throughout the country. So far these have included the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine, the Australian Rehabilitation Providers Association, National Rural Health Alliance, the Assistant Minister for Health of the Queensland Government, and the Senior Health Advisor for the ACT Government. Meetings are planned with WorkCover Western Australia, Brain Injury Australia, and the Chief Allied Health Officer of the Australian federal government. The meetings held so far have allowed us to make useful contacts, have invariably led to an increase in the other parties’ knowledge of us and what we do, and in some cases have revealed areas of mutual interest for future collaboration. We expect that our greater visibility will mean that we will be consulted more often when issues of mutual interest arise for the other parties.

AFRM exams working group

We continue to meet regularly with senior RACP Education, Learning and Assessment staff. Conducting examinations has been an extremely difficult task since the COVID-19 pandemic began. I appreciate that trainees have had a great deal of anxiety and significant disruption to their preparation for examinations in the last 18 months. I would just like to reassure trainees and supervisors that enormous effort has gone into preparing examinations which could be successfully held and having multiple contingency plans in place. Enormous pressure has been laid upon the working parties who prepare the examinations and mark them, and this has been magnified all the way up to the Chair of the Faculty Assessment Committee Dr Shari Parker. I'd like to pay tribute to Shari's sterling work, not just in the last two years which have been incredibly stressful, but during the last decade which she has devoted to this work with untiring commitment. She will be standing aside once the current round of examinations are completed and her shoes will be indeed difficult to fill.

Meetings of Faculty Presidents

I continue to meet with the President of the Faculty of Public Health Medicine and President of the Faculty of Environmental and Occupational Medicine together with Peak Bodies Manager, Phil Munro and Faculties Manager, Jo Goldrick. Following changes to the arrangements for direct communication between Faculty Regional Training Coordinators and trainees, we have been pressing for changes to communication between Chairs of Faculty Regional Committees and regional Fellows. This has been a sticking point for a number of years because of concerns by the College about privacy and excessive email communication traffic. The College recently launched the pilot of the RACP Online Community (ROC) which they hope will provide a simpler direct communication method between our Fellows without the same privacy concerns. The pilot has been concluded and formal rollout is due to commence by the end of September. I encourage you all to engage with the ROC once the opportunity is there. As this is a new platform, we will need to try it out to confirm whether it can satisfy all our needs. 

Meetings of AFRM Regional Training Coordinators

We recently held the first combined meeting of the AFRM Regional Training Coordinators along with Chairs of Regional Committees. The meeting was convened by the Chair of the Faculty Training Committee, Associate Professor Louisa Ng. Our intention is to foster closer collaboration between the Regional Training Coordinators, something which was lost when these Fellows were no longer automatically members of the Faculty Training Committee. COVID-19 has demonstrated that innovative approaches to training are essential to enable our trainees to prepare adequately for their examinations. Some regional committees have been more successful at using new technology. The meetings between the AFRM Regional Training Coordinators hopefully allows us to learn from one another and bridge some of these gaps more quickly. Supporting trainees preparing for their Clinical Examinations will continue to be hamstrung by the current COVID-19 restrictions and needs to be seen as a primary responsibility of the supervisors in the training location.

RACP Regional and Rural Physician Working Group

We are currently in the process of selecting the AFRM representative for this important College Working Group. EOIs have been received from well-credentialed Fellows.

Rural training opportunities

There has long been a recognition of the discrepancies between rural and metropolitan rehabilitation medicine practice and service provision. One aspect of this is the difficulty rural services have in attracting trainees. This has been brought to my attention by a number of Fellows and is an issue which goes back at least 15 years in the archives of the Faculty. In the past the main issue addressed was one of attracting Fellows to consider work in rural areas. Currently the focus is upon trainees taking training opportunities. While other colleges do mandate rural training (The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, and some Basic Physician Trainee networks in NSW), mandating rural training is not something the Faculty has ever been comfortable with. It is however an important issue, and I don't wish to dismiss it lightly. The Faculty Education Committee is currently heavily involved in curriculum renewal and this will be a major focus for us for the foreseeable future. Rural training may be part of this consideration though it is not technically a discrete area of curriculum. Advocates for rural training placements correctly point out that rural training tends to offer the whole gamut of rehabilitation medicine training opportunity be that neurology, musculoskeletal, amputees, brain injury and spinal injury; at least in the sense of chronic care if not in acute and early subacute management. Moving to a regional setting for training does place significant burdens upon trainees which I’d like to acknowledge, and which would need to be addressed in any plan. I've asked the Faculty Council to consider this issue at our upcoming meeting and it may be timely that we look again at this issue, particularly the experience of other bodies who have addressed it before us.

Succession planning

The future of the Faculty is constantly in the hands of the members both those who are already involved in Faculty activities and those who are contemplating doing so in the future. At the moment we have some significant vacancies coming up in our major committees including the assessment committee and training committees. Ultimately all of these vacancies are subject to expressions of interest. All are entitled and encouraged to put their names forward. This applies equally to all the senior executive members of the Faculty and the Presidency itself. Please consider what Faculty work you would be interested in pursuing and at what stage of your career you feel best placed to take on one of the many roles which we need you to consider.

Academic issues

The Academic Representative on the AFRM Council is currently under selection. The next step will be formation of the Academic Committee to continue the very important work that our Research Working Group commenced several years ago. This work needs to be an ongoing and integral part of Faculty business.

COVID-19 rehabilitation group

Forming a COVID-19 Working Group remains a task for the Faculty. In the meantime Dr Susan Graham, the AFRM representative on the RACP COVID-19 Expert Reference Group (ERG) is chairing two ‘Long COVID’ webinars on behalf of the Expert Reference Group. Professor Steven Faux will be speaking at one of these webinars.

The Rehabilitation Medicine Society of Australia and New Zealand (RMSANZ)

The RMSANZ Snapshots meeting was held over the weekend of 31 July and 1 August. There were a number of very high-quality presentations and I particularly enjoyed the session with John Walsh speaking about the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). I am informed there were 230 registrants for the meeting which is very pleasing. While we all look forward to the return of face-to-face meetings, I think the online format demonstrates that it does allow people to attend meetings who otherwise could not make the journey to distant parts of the country.

Australasian rehabilitation outcomes centre (AROC)

AROC is currently seeking a chair of the Management Advisory Group (MAG) to succeed Dr John Estell whose term will expire soon. Please contact the Faculty Office at afrm@racp.edu.au if you are interested in this position or view the EOI advert on the RACP website

AFRM Council Work Plan 2021-2022

The AFRM Council has set itself a number of tasks in the current work plan cycle many of which are well underway and some of which I've mentioned in passing above. 

I’d like to thank my fellow members of the AFRM Executive Committee, the AFRM President-elect, Dr Jenny Mann, the Chair of the Faculty Education Committee, Dr Caitlin Anderson, Chair of AFRM Aotearoa New Zealand Dr Richard Seemann, and the AFRM Past President Professor Tim Geraghty. I’d also like to acknowledge the AFRM Executive Officer, Jane Henderson and Faculties Manager, Jo Goldrick. 

Dr Greg Bowring
AFRM President

A message from the Chair of the AFRM VIC/TAS Regional Committee

I hope you are keeping well and making the most of a challenging 18 months.

It is a goal of the AFRM to increase engagement and improve the communication with members. Therefore AFRM VIC/TAS Regional Committee want to introduce ourselves, so members understand our role and have a point of contact.

Committee membership

Dr Yan Chow, Chair
Dr Carla Francesconi, Committee Member
Dr David Murphy, Committee Member
Dr Kavitha Muthukrishnan, Trainee Representative
Dr Michael Njovu, Committee Member
Associate Professor Michael Ponsford, Committee Member
Dr Lisa Sherry, Faculty Policy and Advocacy Representative

Dr David Murphy is the Chair of the VIC/TAS branch for the Rehabilitation Medicine Society of Australia and New Zealand (RMSANZ). His contribution to the AFRM VIC/TAS Regional Committee ensures collaboration with RMSANZ.

Associate Professor Michael Ponsford stepped down as the VIC/TAS Regional Training Coordinator to focus on his role as Director of Training at Rehabilitation Medicine Training Victoria (RMTV). I would like to thank Associate Professor Ponsford for his contribution. He will remain on the AFRM VIC/TAS Regional Committee as a Committee Member, and this will ensure RMTV is represented.

Committee vacancies

There is the position vacancy for an Honorary Secretary. If you are interested, please contact afrm@racp.edu.au.

Registrar education and training

The Committee would like to explain how registrar education and training is provided in Victoria and Tasmania.

In 2012, the AFRM VIC/TAS Regional Committee (formerly known as AFRM state branch) and the Victoria Department of Health had a joint initiative to establish RMTV to coordinate and oversee rehabilitation medicine training in Victoria. This is unique to Victorian trainees.
 
The AFRM sets the curriculum, assesses competence and awards qualifications. The AFRM VIC/TAS Regional Training Coordinator is part of the Committee and reports to the Faculty Education Committee. The VIC/TAS Regional Training Coordinator can counsel doctors considering a career in rehabilitation medicine and mentor trainees. They also work collaboratively with RMTV to provide education and job recruitment to hospitals.

The key mission for RMTV is to provide evidence based medical education resources/support to Victorian rehabilitation medicine trainers and trainees. It is also to operationalise the educational/academic principles established by AFRM.

News and activities in VIC/TAS

Issues the Committee have discussed in the last 18 months include:

  • bed closures in rehabilitation services since commencement of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • substitution of rehabilitation beds with Geriatric Evaluation and Management (GEM) beds
  • the ‘Better at Home’ initiative of the Labor Government in Victoria
  • increased complexity of inpatients
  • disruption to examinations for trainees due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Committee is monitoring the quality of rehabilitation medicine, bed access and trainee experience with these major changes. 

Also, the Committee initiated the local area rehab meeting where the above issues have been discussed. It is a great networking opportunity and allows members to collaborate and discuss matters between neighbouring rehabilitation medicine services. I would like to thank Dr Lisa Sherry and Dr Kavitha Muthukrishnan who organise the meetings. Also, Dr Carla Francesconi has assisted in the recent local area rehab meeting in Hobart and provided great insights for the Committee on Tasmanian issues.

Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2021

Finally, the Committee would like to acknowledge and congratulate Associate Professor Barry Rawicki. He was awarded an Order of Australia Medal for service to medicine as a rehabilitation specialist.

Please contact the Committee at afrm@racp.edu.au if we can be of assistance or if you wish to raise any matters.

Best regards,

Dr Yan Chow
Chair and Interim Regional Training Coordinator
AFRM VIC/TAS Regional Committee

Watch the AFRM Annual Members' Meeting 2021

The Annual Members' Meeting was held on Tuesday, 20 July 2021. Thanks to the speakers who gave an update on all things AFRM related:

  • Dr Greg Bowring, AFRM President
  • Dr Jennifer Mann, AFRM President-elect
  • Dr Richard Seemann, Chair, Aotearoa New Zealand Committee
  • Dr Caitlin Anderson, Chair, Faculty Education Committee
  • Dr Philip Gaughwin, Chair, Faculty Trainee Committee

For those members who were not able to join live, the video of the Annual Members' Meeting can be viewed online.

If you have any questions or would like to receive a copy of the meeting papers, please contact AFRM@racp.edu.au.

MS_Member Survey 2021_600px_VOICE

RACP Member Satisfaction Survey – closing date extended

Your College, your voice. We’re listening

There’s still time to share your thoughts about the College via our Member Satisfaction Survey (MSS).  

Please complete the survey and have your say so we can understand your overall satisfaction with the College and identify areas for improvement. The survey closing date has been extended by two weeks and will now close on Monday, 30 August 2021. The survey should take no longer than 15 minutes. This is your chance to tell us how we’re doing and have your say. 

The survey is being conducted by EY Sweeney, an independent contractor. They will provide aggregated results back to us and any individual comments are not identified as coming from a specific member – your survey responses are anonymous.  

How you can access the survey 

On Tuesday, 27 July, you should have received an email containing the survey link from surveys@au.ey.com. You should have also received a reminder email from them on Friday, 13 August with a link to complete the survey. If you didn’t receive these emails, contact us. Further information about the survey is available on the RACP website.  

Find out more

New RACP video series highlights physicians in remote Australian communities

Practising rural and remote medicine offers opportunities, career progression and a lifestyle simply not available in Australia’s big cities. You can watch a fascinating new series of short videos In our Own Words, about the critical role our Fellows and trainees fulfil in providing healthcare to small towns, the regions and remote Australia, via the Specialist Training Program (STP). 

The STP is a funding initiative of the Australian Government Department of Health. There are around 900 STP-funded training positions across Australia, managed by 13 medical colleges. The RACP currently manages around 380 positions. 

With funding from the Commonwealth Department of Health, we’re increasing awareness and understanding of the Program. Our members tell their own stories, what it has meant to them and the communities they serve.  

We will be releasing these to you weekly over the coming months. The videos will be available on the RACP website, where we have created a new mini-site information about the program.


Spread the word about the unique value of rehabilitation medicine 

Help us to spread the word about the unique value of rehabilitation medicine for patients, other health professionals, the health system and the community. 

One of the most common concerns that we hear raised by Faculty Fellows is that rehabilitation medicine has a lower profile compared to some other medical specialties and that there is often a lack of understanding of the important work that rehabilitation medicine physicians and rehabilitation medicine teams do at both the individual patient and at the health system level.

Now is your chance to help change that by participating in the AFRM Stakeholder Engagement Project

We have developed a marketing and communications toolkit to assist you to engage with and educate key stakeholders in your hospital and health service. This includes a letter to stakeholders’ template and a new AFRM (the Working Together to Make Better Lives) brochure and PowerPoint presentation. We hope that you find these resources useful.

Another component of the project involves sending key stakeholders across government and the health, disability and community sectors in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand a letter from the AFRM President. It will provide:

  • current information about the AFRM, the work of rehabilitation medicine physicians 
  • our narrative brochure 
  • our Scope of Practice
  • our Standards (adult and paediatric) documents.

I trust that you will take this opportunity to play a small role in this important stakeholder engagement project to promote understanding and awareness of the importance of rehabilitation medicine for our patients and families, the health system and the broader community and raise the profile of rehabilitation medicine and rehabilitation medicine physicians.

Dr Greg Bowring
AFRM President

Current Australian clinical practice in use of botulinum toxin-A to manage paediatric hypertonicity 

The AFRM webinar presented by Dr Steve O‘Flaherty on 'Current Australian clinical practice in use of botulinum toxin-A to manage paediatric hypertonicity' is now available to view on Medflix.

Update on the 2021 AFRM Module 2 Clinical Assessment – October

The 2021 AFRM Module 2 Clinical Assessment will be delivered face-to-face on Sunday, 10 October 2021 at St Vincent's Hospital Melbourne. Candidates who were enrolled in the June 2021 AFRM Module 2 Clinical Assessment and were unable to sit due to COVID-19 related reasons will sit in October 2021.

Details of the venue, including transport and parking options can be found on the examinations webpage. The exam will be delivered in the traditional exam format, including physical examinations, as in previous years. 

The safety of all participants is at the core of all our plans and the contingency plans have been updated to reflect the ongoing COVID-19 situation in Victoria. The Contingency Plans are available on the AFRM Module 2 Clinical Assessment webpage. A back-up date of Sunday, 21 November 2021 is planned, in case the scheduled date is not feasible due to COVID related restrictions impacting candidates and examiners.

RACP survey now open: Healthcare of patients with intellectual disability

We invite all members to respond to this quick survey. We value your feedback. Your perspective is crucial to better understanding the type of work undertaken, the distribution of the workforce, identification of unmet health needs and perceptions of medical specialists who treat people with intellectual disability. 

The survey will only take five to 10 minutes to complete and by doing so, will provide us with a clearer picture of how we can better educate, advocate and innovate in the intellectual disability health sector. In addition, it may assist the current Australian Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability.

Complete the survey

Neil Hamilton Fairley Medal

Nominations for the Neil Hamilton Fairley Medal for 2022 are now open. This medal is awarded by the RACP every five years to recognise an individual who has made outstanding contributions to the field of medicine. The medal was last awarded to Professor Roger Reddel in 2017.

This award is open to both RACP Fellows as well as individuals outside the College. However the nominee must be nominated by a Fellow of RACP to be considered.

Details on the application process and selection criteria are available on the website. Nominations close on Tuesday, 31 August 2021.

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.
  • The Eric Susman Prize is awarded by the College to a Fellow for best contribution to the knowledge of internal medicine.

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.

trainee-research-awards2020-v2

Your chance to be recognised and rewarded

Applications close Tuesday, 31 August 2021 at 5pm (AEST).

Are you a trainee or a first year Fellow who would like to be recognised for your research? This is your last chance to submit your abstract for the 2021 RACP Trainee Research Awards.

This prestigious event is held annually and open to all Divisions, Faculties and Chapters. A winner from Adult Medicine and a winner from Paediatrics & Child Health will be selected from each Australian state/territory and from Aotearoa New Zealand.

The best presenters from each Australian state/territory and from Aotearoa New Zealand are invited to be part of the 'Research and Innovation stream' at RACP Congress 2022, with complimentary registration and travel. Abstracts are also published in the Congress supplement of the Internal Medicine Journal or the Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health.

For information about application, eligibility, selection criteria and process, the abstract submission guideline, the prize details and a list of past winners please view the webpage. Submit your application by 5pm (AEST) Tuesday, 31 August 2021.

Apply now

Physician Training Survey results are now available

The results of the 2020 Physician Training Survey are now available to RACP members through an interactive reporting dashboard. You can access the dashboard through your MyRACP login.

View the Physician Training Survey 2020 Summary Report for an overview of the key findings for all physician trainees and educators and how they compare to those from 2018.

The survey results indicate that most trainee and educator respondents were satisfied with their overall training experience in 2020 and would recommend their workplace training setting to others. However, it is evident that last year, service provision took priority over education compared to previous years and educational opportunities were reduced. Ongoing issues regarding workload, wellbeing and workplace culture were highlighted once again, with increased rates of burnout, bullying, harassment and discrimination. While some of the concerning findings may be temporary impacts of COVID-19, the results highlight ongoing systemic issues that need to be addressed.

Through the Physician Training Survey, the RACP:

  • supports individuals by providing confidential support to respondents who raised wellbeing concerns through the RACP support program
  • drives improvements in training settings by providing feedback and identifying settings with results that indicate potential concerns and asking the training setting’s executives to respond to the feedback
  • informs systemic change by using results in the development of strategic approaches to improve physician training and the culture of medicine.

We thank all trainees and educators who took part in this important activity.

About the Physician Training Survey

Eligible RACP trainees and their educators were asked to reflect on their training experiences during Term 3 in Australia and Quarter 4 in Aotearoa New Zealand. 21 per cent (n=1675) of trainees and 17 per cent (n=907) of educators responded to the survey. The survey explored topics aligned to the Training Provider Standards. We also sought feedback on the impacts of COVID-19 on training. 

The survey is independently administered by research company ENGINE, ensuring we receive anonymous survey data only. Data is not reported where there are less than five participant responses.

Further details about the Physician Training Survey are provided on the RACP website.

If you have questions regarding the Physician Training Survey, please email us at trainingsurveys@racp.edu.au.

Rural, Remote and Isolated Special Interest Group

The Special Interest Group (SIG) has been slumbering for a while and following the recent snapshots meeting (organised by the Rehabilitation Medicine Society of Australia and New Zealand) revealing New Fellows working in isolation, I felt it was time to get active again. We are all aware of the three relatively new categories for Continuing Professional Development requirements. When working in isolation, acquiring points in the Reviewing Performance category can be problematic. I have been developing some templates for ward rounds, outpatient clinics, case and family conferences and letter audits. 

I’m currently working with the College to improve the formatting for easier use and potentially make them available on the RACP website. These peer reviews can be quite easily completed via telehealth with another colleague located anywhere. A peer review group discussing specific cases would also be useful – something a few of us proved can work at the Adelaide Annual Scientific Meeting. 

If anyone is interested in remote peer reviews, please email me at louis.baggio@health.nsw.gov.au.

Louis Baggio
Director of Rehabilitation Services
Wagga Wagga Base Hospital, NSW

COVID-19 Webinar Series 2021

RACP Long COVID Webinars brought to you by the RACP COVID-19 Expert Reference Group

For some people, COVID-19 can cause symptoms that last weeks or months after infection, which is referred to as post-COVID-19 syndrome or ‘long COVID’. The RACP will be convening a set of webinars to inform members across Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand, on understanding the impact of long COVID and how to manage both the short and long-term practicalities in daily life.

Understanding and managing long COVID

Thursday, 2 September 2021, 5pm to 6.30pm (AEST) / 7pm to 8.30pm (NZST)

This webinar will help participants understand the impact of long COVID and how to manage matters in the early phase. Attendees will have a better understanding of how to investigate and diagnose long COVID, and how to manage patients in the sub-acute phase of their disease.

Register now

Research projects and research supervision: online courses for trainees and supervisors

Each trainee is responsible for completing their own research project. Trainees can learn about conducting a research project by enrolling in our Research Projects online course. It’s designed to support trainees through a detailed walk-through of the research process.

A trainee’s experience can be greatly enhanced by a supportive and informed supervisor. The Research Supervision online course helps supervisors who want an update on research project requirements and the research process in general.

RACP Online Learning Resources are free for members and count towards Continuing Professional Development requirements.

AFRM Aotearoa New Zealand members: Save the date for the AFRM Symposium

Date: Saturday, 26 February 2022 
Time: 10am to 3pm (NZDT)
Location: Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, venue TBC

The symposium provides Aotearoa New Zealand AFRM Fellows and trainees with a forum for: 

  • all Aotearoa New Zealand AFRM trainees, who are invited to present at the Dr Boris Mak Rehabilitation Medicine Trainee Award for Best Presentation
  • opportunities for Fellows to present research, education and case presentations
  • networking with colleagues and to discuss updates in rehabilitation medicine.

The Dr Boris Mak award is made possible through the generosity of the late Dr Boris Mak FAFRM and offers a first-place prize of $1,000 for the best trainee presentation and a second prize of $500.

For more information about the event, contact NZ_AFRM@RACP.org.nz.

RACP calls for the urgent release of the National Obesity Strategy

The RACP President, the Presidents of the Australasian Faculty of Public Health Medicine and the Paediatrics & Child Health Division and the Chairs of all Regional Committees have asked the Australian Minister for Health and Aged Care, The Hon Greg Hunt for the release of the Preventive National Obesity Strategy for an urgent final review and action.

The letter to Minister Hunt stresses the College's concern that the much-delayed strategy is at risk of becoming obsolete and ineffective if not acted on in a timely manner. The letter also notes that work on the Obesity Strategy's treatment aspects should proceed as the second phase of this critical undertaking. 

Similar letters have been issued to all Australian health ministers and Shadow Health Minister Mark Butler. The letter is part of the College's ongoing efforts to tackle the challenge of obesity in a timely and resolute manner.

Read letter to Minister Hunt

New End-of-life law modules for doctors and other clinicians

End of Life Law for Clinicians (ELLC) has launched 10 new and updated online training modules for medical practitioners, nurses, allied and other health professionals and medical students. The training can be accessed for free at the ELLC online training portal. Some of the topics covered include: 

  • the role of law in end-of-life care 
  • capacity and consent to medical treatment 
  • withholding and withdrawing life-sustaining medical treatment 
  • Advance Care Planning and Advance Care Directives 
  • substitute decision-making for medical treatment 
  • legal protection for administering pain and symptom relief  
  • children and end-of-life decision-making 
  • futile or non-beneficial treatment 
  • emergency treatment for adults 
  • managing conflict.

The modules include clinical case studies, vignettes of clinicians sharing their end-of-life experiences, legal cases and interactive learning. For further information please visit the ELLC online training portal or email endoflifelaw@qut.edu.au.  

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

This new online course has been designed to help physicians and trainees 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.

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, 25 August 2021 3pm to 5pm AEST

Occupational and Vocational Rehabilitation

  • Principles of return to work of the injured worker
  • Return to work in the setting of Acquired Disability
  • Expectation of Medical Assessment

Occupational Therapist

  • Practical aspects of work capacity and workplace assessment
  • Principles of return to work programs
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
 
 

Launch of second Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan in Australia

On 9 August 2021, we acknowledged International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. The theme of the Day was ‘Leaving no one behind: Indigenous peoples and the call for a new social contract’. In Australia, a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) is a form of social contract, which provides a structure for Australian organisations to support the national reconciliation movement, formalises efforts to achieving reconciliation and is endorsed by Reconciliation Australia.

We are pleased to launch our second Reflect RAP: July 2021 to July 2022, which is a strategic initiative of the RACP Indigenous Strategic Framework Priority 4 focused on fostering a culturally safe and competent College. The development of our RAP has an important role in supporting our Indigenous Strategic Framework’s commitment in Australia to:

  • reducing health inequities between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • increasing the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander physicians
  • creating a culturally safe College for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Our RAP focuses on relationships, respect, opportunities and governance. We encourage all members based in Australia to read and learn more about our latest Reflect RAP and look into how they can contribute to RAPs in their own workplaces.

Read Reflect RAP

New Gwandalan e-learning for health professionals providing palliative care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

Given the cultural sensitivities surrounding death, it is important that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural beliefs and practices are acknowledged and accommodated during the palliative and end-of-life care journey. The Gwandalan National Palliative Care Project aims to improve the quality of palliative care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. New free education for health professionals who provide palliative and end-of-life care to Indigenous Australians is now available.  

The training does not address clinical palliative care content, but rather supports the provision of culturally safe and responsive palliative care by upskilling frontline staff to contextualise care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and deliver services in a way which supports a good ‘finishing up’. Visit Gwandalan to register for the training

COVID-19 Vaccines: AstraZeneca letters of exemption for over 60s

To support you in your important role of providing clear and consistent advice to patients on health conditions where an alternative to the AstraZeneca vaccine is appropriate, we have provided the grounds for exemption below.

The Australian Technical Advisory Group (ATAGI) advises persons aged 60 and over are eligible for the Pfizer Comirnaty vaccine if they have one of the following conditions:

  • past history of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST)
  • past history of Heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT)
  • past history of idiopathic splanchnic (mesenteric, portal, splenic) vein thrombosis
  • antiphospholipid syndrome with thrombosis and
  • contraindications to COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca. This means:
    • anaphylaxis to a previous dose or to an ingredient of the vaccine
    • thrombosis with thrombocytopenia occurring after the first dose of AstraZeneca or
    • other serious adverse event attributed to the first dose of AstraZeneca.

Persons aged 60 years and older must provide a letter from their general practitioner or specialist doctor stating that they have a history of the above conditions to receive an alternative to the AstraZeneca vaccine.

A joint statement is available, ATAGI and the Thrombosis and Haemostasis society of Australia and New Zealand (THANZ) on Thrombosis with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome (TTS) and the use of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca which advises that the following groups of people can receive the AstraZeneca vaccine as their risk of TTS is not likely to be increased:

  • people with a past history of venous thromboembolism in typical sites, such as deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism
  • people with a predisposition to form blood clots, such as those with Factor V Leiden, or other non-immune thrombophilic disorders
  • people with a family history of clots or clotting conditions
  • people currently receiving anticoagulant medications
  • people with a history of ischaemic heart disease or cerebrovascular accident
  • people with a current or past history of thrombocytopenia.

Please check the Department of Health advice in your jurisdiction for any potential additional eligibilities for the Pfizer Comirnaty vaccine for over 60s, as we are aware that some jurisdictions have additional details, for example Western AustraliaAustralian Capital Territory and South Australia. We are aware there are plans to align all jurisdiction advice and remove variations, however we do not have confirmation of the timeframe for this, so we encourage you to regularly check your local jurisdiction advice in addition to the Commonwealth advice for potential amendments. We will aim to share further advice when information comes to hand.

Reminder: Complete the Medical Training Survey

The Medical Board of Australia’s Medical Training Survey (MTS) will be running for another month. Eligible participants are all doctors in training, including RACP trainees in Australia.

A survey link is provided after you renew your registration. If you miss it, you’ll find it in your Ahpra confirmation of registration email. We encourage you to complete this important survey and have your say on medical training in Australia.

About the Medical Training Survey

The MTS is a national survey of all doctors in training in Australia. Results provide a snapshot of the quality and experience of medical training in Australia. The survey is independently administered by research company EY Sweeney. The MTS is anonymous and your answers will be handled in line with the privacy policies of the Medical Board of Australia, Ahpra and EY Sweeney. Only de-identified survey data will be provided to Ahpra and the Medical Board of Australia.

Further details can be found by visiting the MTS website. If you have questions regarding the MTS, please email MTS@ahpra.gov.au.

Contribute to a new Quality and Safety Spaced Learning course

Interested Fellows and trainees are invited to submit expressions of interest to join a working group to develop a new Quality and Safety Spaced Learning course. The Quality and Safety Spaced Learning course will be delivered via Qstream and will comprise of six case study questions. Participants will receive case studies directly to their inbox and can complete them at a time that suits them over a four-week period. The working group will assist in the development and drafting of case study questions.

Find out more and apply by Friday, 27 August 2021

NeuroRehabilitation Anatomy and Ultrasound Workshops

Dates: Friday, 10 September to Saturday, 11 September 2021 and 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, 10 September to Saturday, 11 September 2021 and 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.

The cost is $770 including GST per person.

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.

Brain Injury Australia's 8th National Brain Injury Conference

Dates: Monday, 15 November 2021 to Wednesday, 17 November 2021
Location: Abercrombie Building, the Sydney Business School on The University of Sydney’s Camperdown/Darlington Campus

The conference is sponsored by the University of Sydney and its Brain and Mind Centre, Victoria's Transport Accident Commission, Insurance and Care NSW (icare), Spinal Cord Injuries Australia and the Agency for Clinical Innovation of NSW Health and NSW Health's Prevention and Response to Violence, Abuse and Neglect Unit. 

Founded in 1986, Brain Injury Australia is the nation’s peak advocacy organisation representing over 700,000 Australians living with a brain injury. Alongside providing policy advice to Commonwealth, State and Territory governments, and representing consumers on a range of advisory groups, Brain Injury Australia also drives multi-year public education campaigns on:

  • the leading cause of traumatic brain injury (TBI) – falls – due to the ageing of our population
  • people with a brain injury in the criminal justice system (as many as 80 per cent of adult prisoners report one or more brain injuries)
  • the leading cause of death and disability in children who have been abused – inflicted TBI (sometimes referred to as “Shaken Baby Syndrome”)
  • TBI in the military (one in every 10 Australian Defence Force personnel who served in the Middle East reported a post-deployment TBI)
  • women, domestic and family violence and TBI
  • concussion in sport.

Brain Injury Australia’s annual conference has become one of the premier learning and development events on the disability calendar – driving improvements in services and supports for people living with a brain injury, their families and carers.

For the first time, the Conference will include concurrent sessions and feature three Pre-Conference Workshops, on 'Positive Behaviour Support following brain injury', 'domestic and family violence and brain injury' and 'concussion/“mild” TBI'.

For more information, visit the conference website.

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.

Career opportunities 

New South Wales

Queensland

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
Email: memberservices@racp.edu.au 

AFRM Faculty enquiries (including Council and committees):
Jane Henderson, Executive Officer, AFRM
Phone: +61 2 8076 6315
Email: afrm@racp.edu.au

AFRM Aotearoa New Zealand Committee:
Ethan Aupapa
Executive Officer DFACs AoNZ
Phone: +64 4 460 8142
Email: nz_afrm@racp.org.nz 
 
AFRM Education and Training enquiries:
Education Officer
Phone: +61 2 8076 6350
Email: rehab@racp.edu.au  

AFRM oral examination enquiries:
Examination Coordinator 
Phone: +61 2 9256 5422
Email: faculty.examinations@racp.edu.au

AFRM training site accreditation enquiries:
Education Officer
Phone: +61 8247 6233
Email: accreditation@racp.edu.au 
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