AFRM eBulletin – 5 February 2021

A message from your President

The Christmas and New Year holidays seem to have flown by as usual. No doubt you're all gearing up for another year at work and at home. It never seems to get any easier.

I would like to extend my congratulations to Associate Professor Douglas James Brown FAFRM, FRACP for being recognised in the 2021 Australia Day and Aotearoa New Zealand Honours lists for significant service to medicine, particularly to spinal cord injuries.

COVID-19 continues to dominate the news cycle and our work settings. In my hospital we finally returned to our ward in late December having moved out some nine months earlier to enable the hospital to expand isolation facilities. In a move which will not surprise many of you we returned to reduced bed numbers and the loss of all our single rooms. I'm aware that some of you have tolerated much greater disruption in your work situations and urge you all to continue to advocate for adequate facilities for disabled people in your units and in your ambulatory services. While it's quite understandable that hospitals have focused heavily on expanding their acute capacity at the expense of sub-acute services it remains timely to remind everyone that services for disabled people are still essential and that the numbers of people needing treatment in hospitals for COVID-19 in Australia has thankfully been very small. 

You will be aware that a COVID-19 Rehab Group is forming under the leadership of Dr Susan Graham. Susan is also a member of the RACP Expert Reference Group for COVID-19. You may be aware of emerging evidence regarding ‘Long COVID’ which demonstrates that rehabilitation services will be needed for a significant number of COVID-19 survivors in the future. The COVID-19 Rehab Group will gather the evidence and collect and create policy documents to help us in the fight to provide adequate rehabilitation services for the COVID-19 survivor group as well as maintain our usual services for disabled people. Much relevant work has already been done by Faculty Fellows on state committees.

You may have seen that the College is currently recruiting AFRM members to be part of the Curriculum Review Group for Rehabilitation Medicine (General). The Faculty is one of the first groups to undergo this process as part of the Advanced Training Curricula Renewal project to renew the College’s 38 Advanced Training curricula. This is an important piece of work and it’s crucial that AFRM members participate in this process to ensure the Curriculum is robust and relevant. The roles to be filled are: 

  • a Deputy Chair, appointed by the Chair 
  • at least one member who is a member of the specialty society
  • at least one member who is based in Aotearoa New Zealand 
  • at least two members who are trainees at the time of appointment to the group
  • at least one member who has completed Advanced Training in the specialty within the last five years at the time of appointment to the group. 

Further details can be found on the RACP website.

The twin retirements from the Australasian Rehabilitation Outcomes Centre (AROC) of Professor John Olver as Clinical Director and Frances Simmonds as Director have left us very large shoes to fill indeed, but the appointment of a new Clinical Director and Director will give AROC an opportunity to take time for reflection, renewal and strategic planning. AROC has done a marvelous job establishing rehabilitation medicine at the forefront of benchmarking and clinical evidence in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand. However there may be opportunities for us to use the data more effectively by setting the health agenda into the future. We are now in the era of big data and using it to set the health agenda by producing evidence at a national level arguably gives AROC and us the opportunity to be far more proactive and perhaps more influential than we have been in the past. I would invite all Fellows and trainees who have ideas or suggestions about AROC and its place in setting the future health agenda to write to me care of the AFRM Executive Officer, Jane Henderson at afrm@racp.edu.au. Messages can be passed on to the incoming AROC Clinical Director and Director for consideration in their deliberations.

The final AFRM Council meeting for 2020 was held on 13 November. The Faculty work plan for the next two-year cycle has been presented to the RACP Board and with some additional re-drafting to align the format with those of the other Faculties it should be in a completed form with timelines early this year.

The College has awards and prizes each year for a range of activities supporting the College and medical endeavours for the community. These include the John Sands Medal and the College Medal. There's also a separate medal for rural and remote medical contribution. Faculty members have been worthy recipients of medals in the past, but we rely on members to bring Fellows to the attention of the Executive both at the regional and the Faculty level to ensure we are aware of suitable recipients for us to put forward to the College. I would urge Fellows to go to the RACP website and look at the definitions of the medals and if colleagues are known to you who would be worthy recipients we would appreciate you contacting your Regional Committee or the Faculty Executive Committee and pass along that information whenever you feel it's appropriate to do so.

There are a number of Faculty specific and College generic prizes and research grants available for Fellows and trainees. Some of these are only rarely awarded in part because of the lack of applicants. I would urge all Fellows and trainees to make themselves aware of the available research grants and prizes and apply, particularly those interested in pursuing research. Members who have been recognised for their work or achievements recently are:

2019 

  • AFRM Basmajian and Györy Prize: Dr Stephanie Lam
  • AFRM Adrian Paul Prize: Dr Timothy Butson
  • Aotearoa New Zealand AFRM Boris Mak Award First Place: Dr Sheela Perumal and Second Place: Dr Dawn Adair

2020

  • Aotearoa New Zealand AFRM Boris Mak Award First Place: Juan Delgado Rodriguez and Second Place: Somu Victor
  • RACP AFRM Research Entry Scholarship ($45,000): Dr Simon Paget
  • RACP AFRM Research Development Scholarship ($10,000): Dr Yuriko Watanabe

The Faculty Council is now presenting an additional medal in recognition of the best performance in the Faculty Fellowship examinations. The Medal will be known as the Katrak Medal and will be granted for the best performance in the Faculty Fellowship examinations with the prize being named the Basmajian-Katrak prize.

The RACP Board recently approved our request for the addition of an Academic and Research Representative to permanently sit on the AFRM Council. This is an important addition to Council and will ensure that the Faculty has a firm academic focus to our work into the future. The Research Working Group will support the Academic and Research Representative in our ongoing focus on academic and research work. The role will also include responsibility for the Faculty contribution to RACP Congress, which in 2021 will have a strong focus on COVID-19. It will also involve our ongoing relationship with the Rehabilitation Medicine Society of Australia and New Zealand (RMSANZ) Annual Scientific Meeting as a member of the Scientific Organising Committee.

The Faculty Policy & Advocacy Committee (FPAC) chaired by Dr Jenny Mann, Faculty President-elect, continues to pursue a number of separate issues via working groups: 

  • As mentioned above Dr Susan Graham is now representing the Faculty on the RACP COVID-19 Expert Reference Group
  • The ACHS Clinical Indicators Group chaired by Frances Simmonds, and including Faculty representatives and allied health members, has suggested a change to the clinical indicators in the future which AFRM Council has approved. These changes involve removing two indicators which were no longer felt to be contributing to quality improvement and replacing them with two new indicators which are recognised to be key areas intended to drive quality improvement: falls and intensity of therapy. Neither of the two indicators are without controversy and issues of data collection and consistency were recognised by the proponents. There are however clear definitions around them in the document and this should allow the indicators to be properly assessed and revised if necessary. 
  • The Bariatric Working Group continues with their work towards a position statement.
  • The Stem Cell Working Group is also progressing their statement. 
  • The Multi Resistant Organisms Working Group has been forced to suspend their work because so many of the members in Melbourne were impacted by last year’s second wave. 
  • The National Disability Insurance Scheme Reference Group has assisted the RACP in their submission to the Disability Royal Commission.
  • The FPAC representatives were opposed to changes to the AN-SNAP classification proposed by the Independent Hospital Pricing Authority which had suggested incorporating a frailty measure into AN-SNAP. While frailty is accepted as an important comorbidity, the tool proposed was not felt to be appropriate for the usage suggested.

The Faculty Education Committee had a very difficult year in 2020 with the disruption to examinations and training brought about by COVID-19. An Exams Working Group comprised of the Chairs of the Faculty Assessment, Training and Education Committees, Faculty Executive members and College staff, met regularly throughout 2020 to stay on top of the threats posed by COVID-19 and to plan for safe and deliverable examinations for 2021. At this stage we have dates for examinations in February 2021 through to June 2021 which we believe will be deliverable. These plans include meticulous planning in keeping with COVID safe requirements with fallback plans should circumstances change again. 

I encourage all regional and hospital training committees to continue exploring options for alternative training methodology. There have been some great examples of groups using video technology and adapting training styles to keep learning opportunities for our trainees at a level needed to pass their examinations. In particular, at the recent AFRM Council Meeting, I encouraged Regional Committee Chairs to support meetings between Regional Training Coordinators to spread knowledge from the larger or more innovative regions to other committees who may not have had exposure to some new techniques. 

Computer Based Testing (CBT) has been meticulously planned for the 2021 module one examination over the last year or so and we've been reassured that there are multiple backups in place should there be any problem, given the previous failure at the College level two years ago. Our cohort, being smaller, was chosen by the College to restart the CBT examination transition which is generally regarded as a better and more flexible format and promises advantages into the future. Be assured that a lot of time and effort has gone into this exam to ensure our trainees can complete the exam. 

Last years Annual Trainees’ Meeting, normally a weekend face-to-face event was replaced by three webinars. The change of design was forced by COVID-19 but demonstrated that very useful and accessible training experiences can be delivered and were delivered. Like so many things last year we were forced to change the way we interact and were pleasantly surprised at some of the advantages of change while not denying the loss of some other useful aspects – in this case, networking and collegiality among the cohort.

The Faculty Annual Members’ Meeting (AMM) held on Thursday, 3 December 2020 was another example of change being forced by COVID-19. Usually, the AMM is part of the RMSANZ Annual Scientific Meeting which was postponed last year. The AMM went ahead in a webinar format and allowed for questions as well as reports to be tabled and read. The clear advantage of a digital format is that people can attend the meeting who may not be able to attend face-to-face as the meeting is often in another location for most of us each year. I believe that we should incorporate a virtual component to the AMM when and if we are able to resume holding the meeting at the RMSANZ Annual Scientific Meeting to maximise the opportunity for members to attend. 

Best wishes, 
Dr Greg Bowring
AFRM President 

Message from the Chair of the AFRM Trainee Committee

Dear rehabilitation medicine trainees, 

Welcome to 2021! My name is Phil Gaughwin, and I am the Chair of the AFRM Trainee Committee. The AFRM Trainee Committee is here to represent the interest of AFRM trainees, and to provide a forum to express your views. We work in collaboration with the College Trainee Committee and your local AFRM Regional Committees. Our purpose is to advocate for you during your overall trainee experience. 

I would like to welcome all new rehabilitation medicine trainees who are commencing in 2021, making that jump from resident to registrar – you will not regret it.  You are joining a fascinating and practical discipline of general medicine that enables individuals to move from surviving to thriving, from patient to person, from a medical problem list to a care model centred around an individual’s goals and abilities. 

For returning trainees – 2020 has been a challenging year. While trainees are coming out of a long period of isolation, the challenges of social distancing and risk mitigation have impaired our ability to gather and train together. Local training committees have been developing their own responses and alternatives to face-to-face teaching. In the meantime, ward round based teaching in local settings to keep skills up remains the cornerstone, and online resources have become incredibly important. 

The 2020 AFRM ATM Webinar series was run from October to December last year and covered a series of relevant and practical topics. If you have not had a chance to see these, the lectures and notes are all available online on the AFRM Resources webpage. Please also take some time to look at the RACP’s Online Learning Resources webpage. There are excellent revision summaries and lectures available. I would also like to direct your attention to the only ‘Rehabilitation’ lecture on the College Learning Series website, from Dr Dade Fletcher in WA, which went live on 25 September 2020.

The last few months have marked a slow pickup in pace regarding examination preparation. First- and second-year trainees preparing for Module 1 (May 2021) will be the pilots for Computer-Based Testing prior to its rollout to the RACP Divisional Written Examination candidates later in the year. The AFRM Trainee Committee has been working with the College and the Faculty to advocate for trainee welfare during this period, including contingency planning. Please look at the RACP Examinations webpage for current details. 

Get involved – please have a look at the RACP Expressions of Interest webpage. There are currently vacancies on the AFRM Trainee Committee for Paediatric Rehabilitation, the Western Australian representative and the NSW/ACT representative.  

We are hungry for more feedback on how we can advocate for, and communicate with, our trainee population. Trainees can communicate your concerns to us via the AFRM email AFRM@racp.edu.au or via the RACP online feedback webpage (marked For the attention of the AFRM Trainee Committee). I encourage trainees to communicate concerns through these channels – or contact your local trainee representative.   

Finally, I would like to also thank Dr Stephanie Lam for her invaluable work and advocacy as the NSW/ACT Trainee Representative as she moves on to Fellowship.

Sincerely,
Dr Phil Gaughwin
Chair, AFRM Trainee Committee

AFRM Annual Members Meeting 2020

The AFRM Annual Members Meeting was held as a webinar on Thursday, 5 December 2020. Members who were unable to attend can view the webinar video and the meeting papers.

Advanced Training Term 2, 2020 Requirements and 2021 Applications deadline

Term 2 2020 Requirements

Requirements (including Supervisor’s Report) for Term 2 2020 are due by 11:59pm AEDT on Sunday, 28 February 2021. Schedule in time with your supervisor(s) to complete these now to avoid delays due to leave. 

Full details of your 2020 requirements are in the 2019-20 Program Requirements Handbook (General) or 2019-20 Program Requirements Handbook (Paediatrics)

Impact of COVID-19 on training 

If your rotation(s) has changed as a result of COVID-19, please contact rehab@racp.edu.au to confirm whether you should complete a Rotation Amendment Form or if an updated Application for Approval of Training is required.

Term 1 2021 Prospective Approval Applications

Submit your Application for Prospective Approval of Training for the first half of 2021 by 11:59pm AEDT on Sunday, 28 February 2021. This includes whether you are training or interrupting your training.

For further information visit the General Rehabilitation webpage or the Paediatric Rehabilitation webpage or email rehab@racp.edu.au

AFRM Exam applications open for 2021

Applications for the following AFRM examinations are now open and close 5pm AEDT on Friday, 12 February 2021. Further information can be found via the following links:

Update on the 2021 AFRM Fellowship Written Exams

The 2021 AFRM Fellowship Written Examination (General) and the 2021 AFRM Fellowship Written Examination (Paediatric) will be held on Tuesday, 23 February 2021 in a range of locations.

We continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation across Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand and have developed a number of contingency plans for both exams in response to the pandemic including reserve exams in case there’s an outbreak. 

All contracted exam venues have COVID management plans that comply with the regulations for their state, territory or region. Most of the exam venues we’ve used in the past are large venues which allow social distancing measures. Where we’ve previously used a smaller venue, we’re organising a larger room to ensure social distancing.

Best wishes to our exam candidates:

We’d like to wish all the AFRM Fellowship Written Exam (for both General and Paediatrics) candidates all the best for your upcoming exams.

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

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.

Update on Computer-Based Testing

Applications for the AFRM Module 1 Assessment via computer-based testing (CBT) are now open.

After a rigorous tender process, we have selected Elumina eLearning to provide CBT for the upcoming AFRM Module 1 exam and the limited rollout of the Divisional Written Examination (DWE) in October 2021.

The Elumina platform is modern, easy to use and provides several benefits to candidates. They also have excellent back up processes and contingency plans to minimise any disruptions.

More information about Elumina and the benefits they provide are on our website.

The CBT project is on track and preparations are going well. 

We have set January to March 2021 for rigorous testing. This includes User Acceptance Testing, and we will also run an end-to-end mock exam in live test centres. 

We have developed several COVID-safe measures and contingency plans in case the pandemic impacts exam day.

Preparations for AFRM Module 1 Assessment

We have begun working on preparations for the 2021 AFRM Module 1 Assessment on Tuesday, 18 May 2021. 

Exam candidates will receive resources in early April including access to online practice exams and tutorials on how to navigate the CBT system.

The College Education Committee has agreed that the AFRM Module 1 Assessment in 2021 will not count as an official attempt.

We will continue to keep you updated on preparations for the CBT exam. More information is also available on our website.

Short survey: Rehabilitation of patients with morbid obesity

There is a growing number of bariatric patients being referred to inpatient rehabilitation services. The Australasian Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine has established a working party to develop a RACP Position Statement on Bariatric Rehabilitation (rehabilitation for people with morbid obesity i.e. BMI > 40kg/m2). The position statement will develop recommendations and define appropriate practice on the rehabilitation needs of patients with morbid obesity. 

To better inform our understanding of the current situation of bariatric rehabilitation in different areas of practice, challenges of working in this area and whether there is a role for rehabilitation medicine services to complement the current services, we are asking members to complete a survey. This short and confidential survey consists of 16 questions and is open until close of business Monday, 8 March 2021.

Participate in survey

Thank you for your participation in this survey. If you have any questions, please email racpconsult@racp.edu.au.

WA State Trauma Committee seeks AFRM Fellow

The Western Australia State Trauma Committee (WASTC) seeks expressions of interest for an Australasian Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine (AFRM) Representative.

The principal goal of the Committee is to facilitate a state-wide approach to the provision of acute and rehabilitative trauma services, ranging from pre-hospital to post-discharge, in conjunction with injury prevention and research. It adheres to the framework of the Trauma System and Services Report of Western Australia.

The Committee aims to achieve this goal through consultation with health services and key stakeholders for trauma services across WA Health.

For further information visit the RACP website.

RACP Congress 2021

The start of 2021 has brought with it a flurry of activity for RACP Congress 2021 as sessions continue to be finalised, the list of speakers grows, and each city is working hard to ensure theface-to-face events are as engaging and enjoyable as they have ever been. 

The Division and Faculty program has been announced 

Featuring a combination of live webinars, and on demand events, the Faculty programs will no doubt be a highlight of Congress. The program will present a range of both Faculty specific and more general topics. Sessions include:

  • In for the long (COVID) haul: Disruption and adaptation for rehabilitation patients and services
  • Sustainable health: Is it truly sustainable?
  • Achieving equity: Charting a practical course

To find out more about the program dates and time, as well as speaker bios, College events and the face-to-face events in your local city, visit the RACP Congress 2021 website.

Don’t miss out on your CPD credits

Whether you attend in-person or virtually, attendance at RACP Congress 2021 can be claimed as CPD credits. The RACP provides the MyCPD program as an online service to Fellows to assist in meeting mandated continuing professional development (CPD) requirements.

Workers compensation fees orders in 2021

On 1 January 2021, the following updated workers compensation fees orders took effect:

  • Workers Compensation (Hearing Aid Fees) Order 2021
  • Workers Compensation (Psychology and Counselling Fees) Order 2021
  • Workers Compensation (Physiotherapy, Chiropractic and Osteopathy Fees) Order 2021
  • Workers Compensation (Massage Therapy Fees) Order 2021
  • Workers Compensation (Medical Practitioner Fees) Order 2021
  • Workers Compensation (Surgeon Fees) Order 2021
  • Workers Compensation (Orthopaedic Surgeon Fees) Order 2021

The hearing; physiotherapy, chiropractic and osteopathy; and psychology and counselling fees will be published on the SIRA website in a new format. The Fees and Practice Requirements will provide simpler information on fees, billing and approval processes that is easier for providers to understand and follow. SIRA will consider expanding this format to other fees orders in 2022.

The following fees orders were not updated on 1 January 2021, and the existing fees orders remain in force:

  • Workers Compensation (Accredited Exercise Physiology Fees) Order 2020 No. 3
  • Workplace Injury Management and Workers Compensation (Injury Management Consultants Fees) Order 2020 No. 2
  • Workplace Injury Management and Workers Compensation (Medical Examinations and Reports Fees) Order 2020 No. 2
  • Workers Compensation (Independent Consultants Fees) Order 2020 No.3

All workers compensation fees are available on the SIRA website.

SIRA will further review all its workers compensation fees orders in 2021 and may make further updates.

SIRA Healthcare Review Final Report

SIRA has published the final report into its Review of Regulatory Requirements for Healthcare Arrangements in the NSW workers compensation and CTP schemes.

Healthcare costs account for more than $1 billion each year in SIRA’s personal injury schemes, and this review aimed to ensure that injured people have access to the right healthcare, at the right time, for optimal recovery and return to work.

The review outlines the next steps forward, including the implementation of SIRA’s health outcomes framework to progress the schemes towards value-based care.

You can read the final report on the SIRA website.
 
Submissions to two consultations that form part of this review have also been published on the SIRA website:

SIRA will provide a further update later this month on how you can be involved in implementation of the healthcare review’s findings.

Improving your experience with the RACP website

We are undertaking an extensive project to help you to find the information you need on the RACP website. The project is being delivered in two stages and will enhance and improve your experience in navigating our online services.

To help us improve the navigation on the RACP website, you’re invited to participate in this short online RACP Member Card Sort activity. Card sorting is a method that designers use to understand how people group information. The activity will take around 10 minutes.

  • Your responses will be kept confidential.
  • This activity is for RACP members only. Please don’t share the activity link with non RACP members.

Your time is appreciated and will go a long way to help us develop a website that meets your needs.  

If you have questions about the project or need assistance with the activity please email Member Services

Digital health

A series of digital health webinars has been developed to help you better understand digital health initiatives. The webinars cover My Health Record, available systems and compliance requirements. To find out more and to register visit this RACP webpage.

The webinars have been developed by 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.

Find out more

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, 24 February 2021 3pm to 5pm AEDT 

Chronic Pain

  • Pathophysiology
  • Assessment
  • Interdisciplinary management
Wednesday, 31 March 2021  3pm to 5pm AEDT

 Chronic Pain

  • Non-Pharmacological Management
  • Outcomes
  • Paediatric Pain
Wednesday, 28 April 2021 3pm to 5pm AEST

 Cardiac

  • Pharmacological Management Congestive Cardiac Failure, Ischemic Heart Disease
  • Cardiac Rehabilitation
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

  • Principals 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
 

More evidence for minimum unit pricing of alcohol – join our campaign for a minimum price in Western Australia

The Northern Territory has the highest rates of alcohol-related harm in the country. In recognition of this grim statistic, the NT Government became the first and, so far, the only jurisdiction in Australia to introduce a minimum unit price (MUP) for each standard drink of alcohol.  

A new study by Wright et al. on alcohol-related intensive care unit admissions to Alice Springs Hospital adds to the growing pool of evidence for the effectiveness of price-related interventions in minimising harms of alcohol. The study shows a nearly 40 per cent reduction in harmful alcohol use after alcohol reforms, including MUP, were introduced in 2018.

Both modelling and recent empirical research from Scotland shows that the heaviest drinkers and those with the lowest incomes are the biggest beneficiaries of the health gains attributable to MUP – heavy drinkers prefer the cheapest beverages and since they drink more alcohol, they also respond to price changes. A January 2021 study shows that the introduction of MUP in Scotland and Wales shifted purchases from higher to lower strength products – the alcohol by volume of beer dropped by two per cent and of cider by seven per cent.  

Australian governments know that policies aimed at reducing alcohol availability via increasing pricing and reducing access save lives and dollars. The introduction of MUP and associated reforms in the NT indicated that the Government recognised the high price paid by its citizens and its budgets for alcohol-related harm. However, the NT Government’s recent bypassing of the usual liquor licensing process in favour of Endeavour Drinks Group’s push to open a ‘big-box’ Dan Murphy’s store within walking distance of three ‘dry’ Aboriginal communities shows that commercial pressures are already undermining progress.  

The RACP actively advocates for MUP and other evidence-based alcohol harm reduction policies. In 2021, we will be asking for member support as we push for MUP in Western Australia as part of our pre-election campaign. Learn more about the RACP campaign for MUP in our information sheet on the intervention.   

RACP Statement on Indigenous child health in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand

We have released a landmark statement on Indigenous child health in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand, providing concrete steps that paediatricians, health professionals and the healthcare system can take to improve the health of Indigenous children in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand.

Dr Danny de Lore, Māori paediatrician, led the RACP working group that worked closely with Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Māori people to develop a statement that provides tools and actions for health professionals to ensure more equitable health outcomes for Indigenous children in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand.

The statement calls on physicians to:

  • recognise the strength and resilience of Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander people and Māori communities
  • understand how privilege and institutional racism operates within healthcare systems and be open to naming it.

All RACP members are encouraged to read the statement and implement the key messages in their practice and workplace.

Learn more

Pomegranate Podcast – Boosting Public Health in the Indo-Pacific

Ep67: Boosting Public Health in the Indo-Pacific

This is the fourth and final part in our series on Global Health Security. Australia’s Indo-Pacific Centre for Health Security was launched in 2017 to provide development assistance to health services as far-flung as Fiji, Cambodia and Timor L’este. Its mission is always tailored to the needs of the partner government. In Indonesia it has provided training to the veterinary sector to foster antimicrobial stewardship. The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic was a sudden shock to the development agenda and has forced a rapid redeployment of resources. Since recording this interview there has been an additional $500 million dollar commitment to fund doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and technical assistance to the Pacific and Southeast Asia.

Listen now

RACP Fellows can claim CPD credits for listening to this episode and reading the resources on the website. To be the first to hear about the latest episodes of Pomegranate Health, subscribe in Apple PodcastsSpotify, any Android podcasting app or join our email alerts list.

Invitation to participate in Aotearoa New Zealand End of Life Choice Act Workforce Survey

The End of Life Choice Act 2019 (the Act) comes into force on 7 November 2021 in Aotearoa New Zealand. 

The Act gives people who experience unbearable suffering from a terminal illness, and who meet all the criteria for assisted dying set out in the Act, the option of legally asking for medical assistance to end their lives. The Act includes safeguards to ensure anyone seeking this assistance is making an informed decision of their own accord. 

The Aotearoa New Zealand Ministry of Health has established a new team to manage the implementation and oversight of the Act and is developing a work programme to manage all aspects of implementation.

Further information on the Act can be found on the Aotearoa New Zealand Ministry of Health's website

Implementation of the assisted dying service – workforce survey

One of the first priorities for the Ministry of Health's End of Life Choice Act team is to better understand the views of Aotearoa New Zealand health practitioners with a specified role under the Act, in relation to assisted dying. A short survey has been designed to give them an early indication of workforce knowledge, understanding and attitudes towards the Act.   

Learning about the number of health practitioners who may choose to have a role in the assisted dying service, the settings they currently work in and any specific concerns they may have in relation to the Act will help inform the design, planning and implementation of the system.  

Health practitioners have a right to conscientiously object to providing assisted dying services. It’s important to note that any response to this survey is not a confirmation of a choice to either participate in, or opt out of, the service. The results will help inform their approach to workforce development for an assisted dying service. Responses will not be individually identified by the Ministry.  

The survey can be accessed online. The survey is optional and closes on 28 February.

More information about the implementation of the Act will be shared over the coming weeks. In the meantime, any questions regarding the survey or the implementation of the Act can be directed to eolc@health.govt.nz

Low-value care during the COVID-19 pandemic

During COVID-19 it is more important than ever to reduce practices that may cause unnecessary harm or pose unnecessary risk of transmission. Evolve has shared recommendations and resources that are particularly relevant to physicians during this pandemic. View relevant recommendations on TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn or search for #RACPEvolve.

COVID-19 has encouraged us to stop and reflect on what tests, procedures and practices are essential, and when it might be in the patients’ best interest to watch and wait. Do you think COVID-19 will change how we deliver medicine in the future? Read more in the latest edition of RACP Quarterly on pages 6 to 8.

If you are interested in shaping Evolve and being a leader in reducing low-value care email evolve@racp.edu.au to join the Evolve Policy Reference Group.

New Telehealth online course

Access all of the information and tools you need to prepare for and conduct culturally competent and patient-centred telehealth consultations in this new Telehealth online course. We understand you’re busy, so we’ve made sure RACP Online Learning Resources are accessible anywhere and optimised for mobile on-the-go learning. Our courses are designed to enable you to dip in and out, or just do the parts that are relevant to you.

Evolve Webinar Series 2021

This year, Evolve will host a series of webinars that will explore interesting topics relevant to low-value practice.

The inaugural webinar will feature Professor Ian Scott who will be presenting on ‘Cognitive biases in clinical decision making’. The webinar will be held on Tuesday, 16 February 2021, from 6pm to 7pm (AEDT)/8pm to 9pm (NZDT).

Behavioural science tells us that our decision making is influenced by biases, and physicians are not immune to this. Join Professor Scott in a discussion about the cognitive biases that physicians experience in their clinical decision making and how this can play a role in the continued delivery of low-value care.  

Register for the Evolve webinar

Are you ready for active ingredient prescribing? 

On 1 February 2021 regulatory changes came into effect bringing mandatory active ingredient listings on medicines, with some exceptions. 

The NPS MedicineWise active ingredient prescribing information hub contains a number of resources and useful links, including a fact sheet for prescribers outlining what you need to know and do to be ready for these changes, including ensuring your prescribing software is up-to-date. 

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 December 2020 ANZHFR newsletter.

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

Career opportunities 

View all positions vacant.

Rehabilitation Medicine Society of Australia and New Zealand (RMSANZ)

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

Australasian Rehabilitation Outcomes Centre

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

AFRM contact details 

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