AFRM eBulletin – 30 April 2021

A message from your President

I’m pleased to provide you with an update on the breadth of activity for AFRM.

RACP Congress update

There are two important sessions provided by the AFRM at the upcoming RACP Congress:


Many Fellows continue to report adverse impacts on their services resulting from COVID-19 changes in their hospitals. The vaccine rollout is underway, but the cover of our staff seems to be quite patchy so far. Fellows will be aware of the emergence of so-called Long Covid Syndrome or Long Covid wherein persistent complications of COVID-19 continue to cause concern and disability for a significant minority of patients. We believe there is a role for rehabilitation in a large number of these patients. Dr Susan Graham represents the AFRM on the RACP Expert Reference Group. A COVID-19 Rehabilitation Group continues to meet and we intend to formalise this as a Working Group reporting to the AFRM Council.

AFRM examinations 

You will be aware that the Fellowship Written Examinations (FWE) in General Rehabilitation and Paediatrics were held in February 2021. The Fellowship Clinical Examinations (FCE) in General Rehabilitation and Paediatrics will be held in May 2021. Due to the postponement of the 2020 exams there is a large cohort sitting exams and additional complexity has been introduced by the inability of candidates to travel reliably to centres for the exams. This has dictated the need for a blended face-to-face and virtual examination for the first time. Module 1 and Module 2 examinations are scheduled for May 2021 and June 2021; Module 1 will be the first computer-based testing examination held by the College since the aborted part one examinations two years ago. 

Aotearoa New Zealand matters

An important issue for ongoing benchmarking of Aotearoa New Zealand rehabilitation units has arisen. Functional Independence Measure (FIM) and the Australasian Rehabilitation Outcomes Centre (AROC) data set have long been established as benchmarking tools in Aotearoa New Zealand but unfortunately a competitor system known as interRAI has recently been introduced and mandated by a number of Aotearoa New Zealand Health Boards as their preferred data system. We've approached the Health Minister and will meet with her and representatives from the health boards. It is however unlikely that they will abandon the proposed interRAI system which is well advanced, and we will attempt to continue use of the FIM in rehabilitation units so that benchmarking can continue.

Prizes and awards

Congratulations Dr Petria Carter, the 2020 recipient of the Adrian Paul Prize for the best scientific work in the field of rehabilitation medicine submitted as part of the AFRM Advanced Training program. 

Three other Fellows received prizes and awards last month: Professor Tim Geraghty was awarded the 2021 RACP MAIC Career Development Fellowship, Dr Pearl Chung was awarded the RACP AFRM Research Establishment Fellowship and Dr Jamie Young was awarded the RACP AFRM Research Development Scholarship. 

Congratulations to our award winners! I encourage all AFRM members to make themselves aware of the awards and prizes on offer and to submit applications for these awards and prizes, some of which are not awarded because of lack of applications.

Regional issues

A new Queensland Regional Training Coordinator has been appointed.  A meeting of Regional Training Coordinators has been arranged for May 2021 to facilitate discussions and collaboration between Regional Training Coordinators. This has come about because of the effects of COVID-19 on trainees and represents an attempt for a closer working relationship between the Regional Training Coordinators, many of whom have developed innovative distance education programs which will be applicable to trainees over a wider area.

Updates from the AFRM Council meeting held on 26 March 2021

The AFRM Council devoted more time to the Strategic Work Plan 2021-2022 which is at an advanced stage. 

The College is undergoing constitutional review because of the recent charities and not-for-profit's commission review. Some very important changes are being canvassed including a fundamentally different relationship between the College Board and the College Council. We remain very interested in these discussions which have a way to go at the moment. Our main interest is in having better access to the major decision-making bodies in the College and to recover an additional degree of autonomy.

By-law changes: Recent changes to By-laws of College bodies have regularised terms of all committees at three years and two consecutive terms unless special reasons are cited. 

Foundation update: AFRM Council was updated on the College Foundation and the many awards and prizes available to AFRM Fellows and trainees. The lack of applicants in at least one of these awards over a number of years suggests that we may need to revise the conditions of award.

Future of the Faculties: The three Faculty Presidents continue to meet with Philip Munro, Peak Bodies Manager, to discuss and pursue issues of common interest. AFRM's main hopes from these meetings is to gain additional financial autonomy within the College structure, improved representation on College wide committees, such as education and professional development, and improved support for our entry to training pathway (module 1 and module 2 curriculum resources and assessments).

Curriculum Renewal update: Dr John Ho Chan continues to chair the General Rehabilitation Curriculum Renewal Review Group whose membership is now complete with a wide range of experienced Fellows and trainees appointed. This commences a very important task for AFRM and will be carried out with significant support from the College Education, Learning and Assessment Team.

AFRM Annual Members Meeting: This has been held at the Rehabilitation Medicine Society of Australia and New Zealand (RMSANZ) Annual Scientific Meeting. No such possibility exists this year due to the postponement of the RMSANZ Annual Scientific Meeting. We plan to hold the meeting around the time of the RMSANZ Snapshots meeting from 31 July to 1 August 2021. Arguably the AFRM Annual Members Meeting could be held at the time of the RACP Congress as this equates to the handover of presidential responsibility. Something to consider.

Rhaïa Ebulletin April 2021

The April 2021 edition of Rhaïa is now available on the College website. This is a particularly interesting edition if you will excuse my bias towards prosthetics, technology, robotics and spasticity. I've already received emails from Fellows who enjoyed it including a senior non-AFRM RACP Fellow who found it particularly interesting and informative.

Bluesfest blues

Some of you will know that I was thwarted in my attempt to attend the Bluesfest music festival at Byron Bay again this year. So there will be no update on the Bluesfest until 2022 unless the festival goes ahead later this year.

Dr Greg Bowring
AFRM President

Fellowship Clinical Examination (General) candidates

We’d like to wish the candidates all the best for their exam tomorrow. 

We have 76 candidates attempting this year’s exam across venue sites in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne, and we also have candidates sitting virtually in Australia, Aotearoa New Zealand and Singapore.

You’ve already reached a massive milestone in your training and we’re all behind you. 

Results will be released from 3pm AEST, Thursday, 10 June 2021.

Don’t forget the RACP Support Program is available to all members, including exam candidates. This free, 24/7 hotline is available to you for confidential counselling, coaching and support for workplace and personal issues.

RACP Foundation Research Awards

Applications for the 2022 RACP Foundation Research Awards will open on Monday, 3 May 2021. Upwards of 50 awards up to a total value of $2.5M are available across the different categories: Career Development Fellowships, Research Establishment Fellowships and Research Entry Scholarships

The RACP AFRM Research Entry Scholarship offers up to $45,000 funding for stipends for an AFRM member undertaking rehabilitation medicine research in an area of the management of functional loss, activity limitation or participation restriction arising out of illness and injury as part of their Masters, PhD or equivalent research higher degree.

Applications for other award categories will open on Tuesday, 1 June 2021. These include the RACP AFRM Research Development Scholarship, RACP AFRM Education Development Grant and AFRM Bruce Ford Travel Fellowship.

Most awards are open to Fellows and trainees across Australia and New Zealand. Please refer to the RACP Foundation webpages for information on specific eligibility requirements for each award. 

Advanced Training Curricula Renewal update

Thank you to everyone who participated in the 2020 consultation on the proposed common learning, teaching and assessment (LTA) programs for Advanced Training (AT). Your feedback was used to refine the programs and ensure they are robust and appropriate.

The common LTA programs for AT have now been finalised.

The common LTA programs will establish a baseline for learning, teaching and assessment across all AT programs. As each specialty undertakes their program-specific curricula reviews, they will build on the common LTA programs to meet the needs of their specialty. 

This year, in collaboration with the Curriculum Advisory Group, we will continue to support the first six specialty groups to undertake the development process:

  • Cardiology (Adult Medicine)
  • Cardiology (Paediatrics & Child Health)
  • Gastroenterology
  • Geriatric Medicine
  • Nephrology
  • General Rehabilitation Medicine

More information about Advanced Training Curricula Renewal is available on our website.

Updated PREP 2022 program requirements and COVID-19 interim changes now available online

The updated COVID-19 2021 interim changes and PREP 2022 program requirements are now available on the relevant Basic Training and Advanced Training specialty pages.

Basic Training

Please check the eligibility criteria of each 2021 COVID-19 interim change to see if they apply to you.
There are no changes to the PREP 2022 program requirements for Basic Training in Adult Internal Medicine and Paediatrics & Child Health.   

Advanced Training

Please check the eligibility criteria of each 2021 COVID-19 interim change to see if they apply to you. 
The updated PREP 2022 program requirements apply to all trainees registered in a PREP program in 2022. 
PREP trainees and their supervisors should familiarise themselves with the updated 2022 program requirements for their specialty to ensure you are following the correct requirements for each training year.



RACP Congress 2021

What happens if there is a lockdown in your city due to COVID-19

In light of the recent Perth lockdown due to COVID-19 and ongoing uncertainty regarding local restrictions, we have made the difficult decision to shift the Perth program to a wholly virtual event.

We want to assure all RACP Congress 2021 attendees that plans are in place should there be a lockdown in any of the in-person cities. The possibility of this has always been part of the planning for RACP Congress, and the program has been designed to switch to a wholly virtual experience, if necessary. If you purchased a ticket to an in-person event, your existing registration automatically allows you full access to the entire Congress program so you can simply login via your OnAir app.

If you have purchased a ticket to attend an in-person day that needs to be cancelled, you will receive a full refund for the difference between the in-person and virtual ticket price. This may take up to two weeks to be refunded to the account from which your payment was made.

You can still register to attend virtually

If you have yet to register for RACP Congress 2021, but still want to attend, you can still purchase a virtual ticket. This will include access to the entire RACP Congress program as well as six months of access to all of the recorded sessions.

Register now

ANZHFR Australian Virtual Hip Festival 2021

Join the Australian & New Zealand Hip Fracture Registry's (ANZHFR) Australian Hip Festival (HipFest) on Friday, 7 May from 12.30pm to 3pm AEST for their online webinar. The webinar will provide an opportunity to share ideas on improving hip fracture care and learn from each other to highlight examples of best practice. It will also be a forum to identify and share issues and solutions that are common across our hospitals to help drive improvement in hip fracture care. 

This promises to be both an enjoyable and informative afternoon. Registration is free. Registration closes midnight Monday, 3 May 2021. 

For more information, view the HipFest program

Australia New Zealand Hip Fracture Registry newsletter

Read the latest edition of the Australia New Zealand Hip Fracture Registry (ANZHFR) newsletter. The ANZHFR initiative aims to improve outcomes by:

  • developing national guidelines and quality standards for care of hip fracture sufferers
  • establishing National Hip Fracture Registries that will benchmark quality of care delivered by hospitals against professionally defined standards
  • sharing best practice through this newsletter, the website and events in both countries.

View the March 2021 ANZHFR newsletter.

Share your experiences of completing your specialty training requirements

Researchers at Bond University want to hear about your experience completing your specialty requirements for Advanced Training via this short survey.

You are eligible to take part if you:

  • are currently undertaking your specialty training at an Australian or Aotearoa New Zealand specialist training college
  • have completed your specialty training at an Australian or Aotearoa New Zealand specialist training college in the past five years.

Participation in this survey is voluntary and should only take 10 minutes.

This survey has ethics approval from the Bond University Human Research Ethics Committee [HREC: PS00149].

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 April 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, 26 May 2021 3pm to 5pm AEST

Acquired Brain Injury

  • Acute Issues: neurosurgical
  • Medical complications and long-term outcome Post Traumatic Brain Injury
Wednesday, 30 June 2021 3pm to 5pm AEST

Acquired Brain Injury

  • PTA Assessment & Management
  • Assessment & Management of Behavioural Disturbance Post Traumatic Brain Injury
Wednesday, 28 July 2021 3pm to 5pm AEST

Acquired Brain Injury

  • Assessment of Traumatic Brain Injury Patient
  • Paediatric Acquired Brain Injury
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

Upcoming Rehabilitation Medicine Society of Australia and New Zealand (RMSANZ) events

RMSANZ Workshop – Musculoskeletal Clinical Examinations

Date: Saturday, 22 May 2021
Location: The Royal Talbot Rehabilitation Centre, VIC

The Musculoskeletal Workshop will be held again in Melbourne on Saturday, 22 May 2021 from 10am to 4pm AEST. It is suitable for AFRM year one and year two trainees, designed for the preparation of the Module 2 Exam. The teaching method is using a hands-on practical workshop approach to assist participants in acquiring the skills in musculoskeletal physical examination techniques. Thank you to trainees who have already registered. There are still places available. The maximum number of attendees is 20. 

The facilitator is Dr Clive Sun. Registration fees are $100 for a RMSANZ trainee registrar and $150 for a non-member registrar.

For more information, visit the RMSANZ website.

RMSANZ Virtual Snapshots 2021: Frontiers of Rehabilitation Medicine

Dates: Saturday, 31 July to Sunday, 1 August 2021
Location: online

Whilst we will have to wait until 2022 to meet one another in person at the Annual Scientific Meeting, RMSANZ is keen to continue supporting members’ thirst for learning and knowledge-sharing through RMSANZ Virtual Snapshots 2021.

The two-day program will include plenary and breakout sessions, free paper and poster submissions, plus plenty of time for interaction and networking with fellow delegates, colleagues and sponsors.

Submissions for free paper and poster abstracts are now open and close on Tuesday, 25 May 2021. There will be no extension to this deadline so add the dates to your calendar and start getting your submissions organised.

A program will be released soon.

Registrations will open on Tuesday, 4 May 2021 and early bird registration fees are available before 11.59pm AEST on Friday, 25 June 2021. Standard rates after this date are also available, please visit the website for further information. Registration fees include three months access, post-meeting, to all session recordings.

Please contact the RMSANZ Conference Secretariat at for further information.

RMSANZ can’t wait to connect with you – virtually – later this year. For more information, visit the RMSANZ Snapshots website.

Submission to the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with a Disability

In April 2021, the RACP provided its submission to the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with a Disability. Following consultation with members last year, the RACP has provided 35 recommendations to the Royal Commission that seek to improve health outcomes for people with a disability and their experience of the healthcare system. 

These include five areas of transformational change to the health and disability sectors:

  • ensuring a human-rights centres approach; reducing levels of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with a disability
  • providing person centred, integrative care
  • improving the National Disability Insurance Scheme
  • enhancing the systems which support the health and disability sectors.

The submission also focuses on the experience of specific population groups and provides recommendations to enhance healthcare for people with a disability across the lifespan. 

The submission can be viewed on the RACP Policy & Advocacy webpage

Contribute to the Clinical Ethics Online Learning Resource

Fellows, Advanced Trainees and subject matter experts are invited to express interest to join a Working Group for the development of the Clinical Ethics Online Learning Resource. The resource will be designed to educate and support Fellows and supervisors in building their own clinical ethics capacity and in conducting teaching and training sessions in clinical ethics for trainees. 

Find out more and apply now

For NSW members – the NSW Ministry of Health Your Training and Wellbeing Matters survey

The NSW Ministry of Health Your Training and Wellbeing Matters survey is an initiative of its Junior Medical Officer (JMO) Wellbeing and Support Plan. The 2021 survey will run from Monday, 26 April to Sunday, 16 May 2021. 

The survey will give all doctors working and/or training, their supervisors and support staff the opportunity to provide confidential feedback on what it’s like working and/or training in the NSW health system. This online survey will ask about your experiences in the position that you are currently in or as at 1 February 2021.

The results from this survey will provide valuable information to strengthen medical training and management, and assist in providing safe and supportive working environments.

There are three separate surveys: 

  • Doctors working and/or training – for interns, residents, registrars, doctors in accredited training positions or unaccredited positions and career medical officers
  • Supervisors of doctors training – for senior medical officers who have responsibility for doctors training.
  • JMO management and support staff – for JMO management and education support staff who spend more than 50 per cent of their time in activities involving the management and/or education of JMOs.

More information is available in the NSW Health factsheet

To participate in the survey please visit the NSW Health website

Pomegranate Health podcast

Ep69: Gendered Medicine – Funding and Research

This is the third and final part of our series on gendered medicine. We step back and look at the way that healthcare and research are funded. It’s been said that the health needs of women are undervalued by our existing fee-for-service model, down to individual item numbers in the Medicare Benefits Schedule. There is also evidence that diseases predominantly experienced by female patients receive less research investment. Is this blatant sexism or a symptom of structural imbalance? And what do we do about it?

Listen to podcast

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. 

RACP asks for timely clear action on preventive health

The development of the National Preventive Health Strategy 2021-2030 comes at a time when the need to address the imbalance between prevention and treatment and provide a coordinated national response that involves all systems could not be clearer. The draft strategy goes some way towards these goals, but significant gaps remain.

In its recent submission on the draft strategy, the College has asked the Government to:

  • provide greater detail on how the five per cent of the national health budget earmarked for prevention would be allocated
  • increase focus on work, employment and poverty as determinants of health
  • increase focus on the environmental determinants of health in an actionable way
  • include evidence-based approaches such as taxes and restrictions on junk food marketing to children
  • centre the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
  • acknowledge and make actionable measures to better address the needs of people with disabilities
  • assign specific responsibilities, accountabilities and milestones.

The upcoming Preventive Health Strategy must be designed, funded and implemented in a timely and actionable way if it is to lead to tangible, meaningful improvements in health outcomes for all Australians. 

Read our submission

Enrol in the new developing effective teaching skills QStream course

Fellows and trainees of all specialties are invited to enrol in this new QStream course, which has a mid-May start. The course is designed to provide practical strategies to help you enhance your teaching skills and effectively balance teaching with a busy workload.

You'll access in-depth case studies with questions that are sent directly to your inbox at spaced intervals over a three-week period. Each question takes just ten minutes to complete and participants are encouraged to discuss the case studies and share opinions with others through secure, online discussion forums.

The course is designed to enhance your knowledge in adult learning, provide practical strategies to incorporate effective teaching skills into day-to-day settings, and encourage self-reflection and peer discussion.

Digital health resources

Digital health resources have been developed and curated to assist Fellows and trainees to better understand digital health initiatives, including My Health Record, and provide opportunities for further learning and professional development.

Visit the digital health webpage to watch videos about telehealth, electronic prescribing, My Health Record and secure messaging.

Development of these resources has been in collaboration with the Australian Digital Health Agency, who are responsible for the delivery of Australia's National Digital Health Strategy. The Strategy's key pillars include driving innovation, education and workforce development, enhanced models of care, interoperability and data quality, medicines safety, My Health Record and secure messaging.

Webinar recording: Using health data for practice reflection

The Digital Health CRC kicked off a series of virtual events covering hot topics in the field of Practice Analytics on 21 April 2021. Please listen to the recording of the inaugural webinar ‘Using health data for practice reflection: Changing expectations on the role of data in professional development’. This webinar discussed the potential use of health data for practice reflection and professional development.

The panel included Anne Tonkin (Chair, Medical Board of Australia), John Wilson (President, Royal Australasian College of Physicians), Julian Archer (Executive General Manager for Education, Royal Australasian College of Surgeons) David Rankin (Director Clinical Governance and Informatics, Cabrini Health), Robert J. Birnbaum (Mass General Brigham, Harvard Medical School) and was chaired by Tim Shaw (Director of Research, Digital Health CRC). 

Career opportunities 

View all positions vacant.

Conferences and events

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians publishes notices of events and courses as a service to members. Such publication does not constitute endorsement or mandating of any such events or courses. 

Go to the events list at any time to see what 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 – Wednesday and Saturday sessions

RMSANZ Workshop – Musculoskeletal Clinical Examinations 
Date: Saturday, 22 May 2021
Location: The Royal Talbot Rehabilitation Centre, VIC

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:
Ethan Aupapa
Executive Officer DFACs AoNZ
Phone: +64 4 460 8142
AFRM Education and Training enquiries:
Education Officer
Phone: +61 2 8076 6350

AFRM oral examination enquiries:
Examination Coordinator 
Phone: +61 2 9256 5422

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

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