AFRM eBulletin – 9 February 2018

Evolve: Driving high-value, high-quality care

Part of a global movement, Evolve is an initiative led by the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) to drive high-value, high-quality care in Australia and New Zealand. Evolve identifies a specialty’s Top 5 clinical practices that, in particular circumstances, may be overused, provide little or no benefit, or cause unnecessary harm. RACP is a founding member of the Choosing Wisely campaigns in Australia and New Zealand, and all Evolve lists are also available via this means, which further supports their dissemination and uptake.

There are now 19 Evolve Top 5 Lists published – including AFRM’s – with further Top 5 Lists under development. The most recent list is from rheumatology, which includes recommendations on arthroscopy, ANA testing, imaging for low back pain, ultrasound guidance and dsDNA antibody testing.

 The AFRM contributed its list to the Evolve initiative in September 2017 and its Top 5 recommendations included discharge of patients with osteoporotic fractures, spinal orthotics and bed rest for low back pain, use of Mini Mental State Examination, splinting for management of contractures after stroke and imaging for low back pain.

RACP is currently developing further resources as part of a ‘Call to Action’ to help the Evolve recommendations become everyday clinical practice. Resources will include educational videos, templates, posters and demonstration projects. Currently, these projects will focus on a number of GESA and ANZSGM Top 5 recommendations, with plans to facilitate more across a number of other specialties. If you are interested in finding out how you can implement Evolve in your daily clinical work, visit the Evolve website or contact

A message from your President

The fortieth anniversary of anything is a very memorable occasion.

Many of us will remember pranks that occurred at 40th birthday celebrations. In the presence of laughing peers or school-age children looking on, middle-aged parents open gifts acknowledging the life-stage reached. Amongst our friends, gifts have included walking sticks of various kinds, some with compasses or glass decanters hidden in the top of the handles (either to help the person not to get lost, or not to be concerned even if they do get lost), or bottles with labels indicating that they contain venerable beverages such as grandfather port, or woolly slippers, or padded stools to put the feet upon. One lucky friend received a two-stage gift that contained a silastic catheter wrapped inside an incontinence pad.

Very recently, I attended that anniversary of medical graduation: we enjoyed mingling on the lawns, in the University quadrangle. We ate canapes beside the place where the jacaranda graduation tree used to stand until last year, before its roots rotted, it fell over, and it was mulched and carted away, to be replaced by a sapling, struck from the original tree – that is a sign of individual academic impermanence and succession, if ever there was one! We ate dinner in the main examination hall, where nothing seems to have changed at all in 40 years – it still has the same ornate hammer-beam ceiling, subdued grand lighting and the unsmiling portraits of 19th century academic grandees, looking down on the writing efforts of following generations of students. We met with old friends, many not seen for at least a decade or two, and caught up with everyone’s doings. Many colleagues seemed just the same as their younger selves, whilst others looked a lot older than their years, and of course some folk are sadly no longer with us.

The after-dinner speech by one of our senior academic colleagues was about the therapeutic value of gratitude, in the face of a clinical world that often seems to be defined by stressful encounters, impossible traffic jams, not enough time to spend on doing things that matter, and life generally perceived to be no longer being the way it once was. Amongst other things, he spoke about the importance of gratitude for having lived in a part of the world that has been free and at peace since our student days. Clinical medical knowledge has been advancing steadily, and we work in a healthcare system where most people receive good care that they can afford, and where nearly everyone is genuinely grateful for all that is done for them. Food for thought indeed, as we make our way home, at the end of our next busy work-day. 

In recent days, our nation has expressed gratitude to several of our Rehabilitation Medicine Fellows, in bestowing awards of the Order of Australia, to Pesi Katrak and Friedbert Köhler, and the award of the Public Service Medal to Maria Crotty. Our warmest congratulations go to these very worthy recipients of honours that are richly deserved, as they have given great service as rehabilitation physicians in our community, over many years. 

Following John Baggott’s recent passing, Pesi Katrak has sent in an appreciation and summary of his life and work, with decades of service to the community surrounding the old Royal South Sydney Hospital. This material will be included within the College Roll, in due course.

Finally, I am most grateful to Greg Bowring, who has nominated for the position of President-Elect of the AFRM. As his nomination was unopposed, Greg will assume this role, together with that of Chair of the Faculty’s Policy ​​& Advocacy Committee, from mid-May 2018.

Gratitude is a wonderful thing.

Associate Professor Andrew Cole
President, Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine

The call for nominations for College positions – results announced 

The recent call for nominations for the next RACP President-Elect, Directors on the College Board, and various positions on Division and Faculty Councils and the New Zealand and Chapter Committees closed on Friday, 2 February 2018.

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AFRM policy documents now on AFRM website

Following a review of AFRM policy documents, the Faculty Policy ​& Advocacy Committee made a recommendation to improve access of current policy documents on the RACP website. 

The Faculty policy documents are now listed and available for download on the Faculty Policy & Advocacy webpage

This will be an interim location which will be in place until the College Policy & Advocacy Library is fully functional. Once available, visitors to the website will be able to automatically filter results from the library to only show AFRM documents.

Please note documents are marked as retired or archived on the website when their date of publication is older than five years. This is in line with the College Policy ​& Advocacy Committee’s (CPAC) archiving policy. Whilst they may still be useful resources, please bear in mind that some of their content may now be out-of-date or superseded.

2018 Australasian Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine Annual Training Meeting – Much more than an educational meeting

Registrations are open for the 2018 Australasian Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine (AFRM) Annual Training Meeting (ATM) being held on Saturday, 21 to Sunday, 22 April 2018 at the RACP office, Sydney. 

The AFRM ATM 2018 Organising Committee have put together an exciting program that encompasses talks on examination preparation, neuropsychology (cognitive assessments), bowel, bladder and sexual function, and making the most of Australasian Rehabilitation Outcomes Centre data for research. 

Join us for an educational experience with practical workshops and lectures. The ATM aims to prepare you for: being a registrar, your exams, your future as a physician, looking after yourself and surviving the experience. 

Feedback shows that trainees gain valuable learning from this annual meeting and the opportunity to connect with other trainees creates networks from across Australia and New Zealand that continue throughout their careers. 

We look forward to seeing you there, register at If you have any questions regarding the ATM, please contact

AFRM examinations: Applications open soon

All examination dates are now available on the ​College website

Applications for the Rehabilitation Medicine Examinations* will all open on Thursday, 1 March 2018. Eligible applicants can access the application form on the RACP website from 1 March 2018. 

If you are unsure of your eligibility for any of the rehabilitation medicine examinations, please email for further details.

Applications close at 5pm ​AEST on Monday, 16 March 2018. No late applications will be accepted. 

*Module 1 written assessment for October 2018 applications will open in September 2018.

For further information please email or phone 1300 69 7227 (Australia) or 0508 69 7227 (New Zealand).

The RACP’s 2018​-19 Pre-Budget Submission

The RACP’s Australian Government 2018-19 Pre-Budget Submission highlights key areas where specialists believe new initiatives or sustained investment are needed, including for integrated care, end-of-life care, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, obesity prevention and treatment, expansion of telehealth items, and drug and alcohol services. 
Amongst its recommendations, the submission calls for investment in a trial of models of care that integrate care across primary care, hospital and community-based specialist care and allied health.

It also recommends the Federal Government improves access to telehealth services by removing the distance requirement from the MBS items supporting specialist telehealth consultations and funding the promotion of extended access to telehealth to the community, healthcare professionals and health services organisations.
The ​RACP highlights the importance of patients who are terminally ill being able to receive high quality end-of-life care, and calls for improved funding of palliative care services, particularly for non-cancer patients and rural and regional communities.

Chronic fatigue syndrome – a call for help

Most doctors will have heard of this condition, and many will have seen patients with it. Prevalence is around 0.3 per cent of the population and given that there is currently no specific proven treatment, the best approach (after other medical and psychiatric conditions have been excluded) is a combination of education, graded exercise, self-management training and cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) – there is reasonable evidence for effectiveness of these strategies. Rehabilitation physicians and their allied health teams are ideally placed to implement this function-based approach, but it appears there are very few doing so. We have been running such a program at Royal Talbot for around 15 years, and a recurring problem for us is managing referrals that are geographically challenging, including not just those from outer metropolitan areas, but from country Victoria and interstate.

Once again, I’m asking Fellows to let me know if they are prepared to see and manage these patients, so that I can advise GPs appropriately and pass on the referrals where these come from areas that make access to Royal Talbot difficult. I’m especially interested in services in the public sector – most of these patients are unable to work and few have private insurance.

I would be happy to assist with management advice and program content.

If you are interested in being involved or have any questions please email

Dr Rob Weller
Head of Rehab Medicine
Royal Talbot Rehabilitation Centre/ Austin Health

RACP Congress 2018 – early bird closing 18 February

RACP Congress 2018 will take place at the International Convention Centre, Sydney, from 14 to 16 May 2018.

Early bird registrations close Sunday, 18 February 2018.

The AFRM George Burniston Oration will be presented by Associate Professor Michael Pollack, Senior Staff Specialist in Rehabilitation Medicine at John Hunter Hospital. Professor Pollack will present on the shifting definitions of health and illness and the role of rehabilitation. 

For more information on the RACP Congress program and speakers visit the Congress website.  

Register before 18 February 2018 to receive the early bird rate.

Latest podcast released

Cannabis Therapy is the topic of discussion in the latest Pomegranate Health podcast. 

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The countdown is on – only four weeks to go until IMS 2018

There are only four weeks to go until the International Medical Symposium (IMS) 2018, which ​is being held on Friday, 9 March 2018 at the Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney.

Registrations close soon so secure your place today for this unique event.
The IMS is an exciting opportunity for clinicians from around the world to come together and discuss the health and wellbeing of medical professionals and how this relates to providing quality care to our communities.
IMS 2018 ​is hosted by:

  • The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists
  • Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists
  • The Royal Australasian College of Physicians
  • Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

The symposium program features keynote presentations from renowned international experts:

  • Dr Caroline Gerin-Lajoie (Canada) – Psychiatrist and Assistant Professor at the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Medicine.
  • Dr Kym Jenkins (Australia) – President of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists
  • Dr Fiona Moir (New Zealand) – Medical Programme Directorate and Senior Lecturer at The Department of General Practice at The University of Auckland
  • Associate Professor Chanaka Wijeratne (Australia) – Senior Psychiatrist, Prince of Wales Hospital; and Adjunct Associate Professor, Sydney School of Medicine, University of Notre Dame Australia.

These speakers will explore and debate the current health and wellbeing landscape for doctors throughout their professional lifespan from undergraduate degree through to the end of a career. 

To register, view the program or for more information, please visit the conference website.

Registrations open – 2018 membership of the International Society of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine (ISPRM) 

You are invited to register as an ISPRM member for free and enjoy the following benefits:

  • Reduced registration fee for the ISPRM World Congress –  the 12th ISPRM World Congress (ISPRM 2018) will take place from 8 to 12 July, in Paris, France. As a member, you can save EUR €100 on registration fees. Register online
  • Access to ISPRM educational materials, professional forums and special-interest groups.
  • Free online access to the Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine and reduced subscription fee to the printed version.
  • Free online access to Journals published in association with ISPRM.
  • Online access to ISPRM endorsed online Journals.
  • Receipt of news and views.
  • You will be eligible to be elected or appointed to any position in the Executive Committee and any other committee.

To join ISPRM, please visit the website

Please email to obtain the special code for registration. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. 

Natalia Manolova
ISPRM Membership Coordinator 

Consultant physicians in rehabilitation medicine – icare seeks your assistance

To assist icare in providing culturally appropriate services to their Indigenous participants they are interested in hearing from rehabilitation medical specialists who work with this population.

For more information please contact Sharyn Gregory, Regional Manager, Lifetime Care on +61 2 9284 2219 or email

icare is a New South Wales (NSW) State Government enterprise supporting people who have been severely injured on NSW roads and in the workplace. They fund treatment, rehabilitation and care delivered by suitable health providers to individual participants based on their needs. 

Online supervisor courses – open for registration 

Registration is now open for the successful online Supervisor Professional Development Program (SPDP)

The online courses for supervisors are facilitated by RACP Fellows. They can be completed in any order, over five weeks.

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Modern ​Workplace ​Challenges course

Registrations are now open for the Modern Workplace Challenges Qstream course, which begins on Monday, 5 March.

The course includes 10 case study questions, which each take five minutes to complete. Questions are sent by email and spaced two days apart. The total duration of the course will depend on your own pace.

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Professional Performance Framework update

The ​RACP supports the fundamental purpose of the Medical Board of Australia’s (MBA) recently released Professional Performance Framework. The Framework is the MBA’s response to the report of its Expert Advisory Group on revalidation. “Nothing is going to change tomorrow for individual doctors. We will be consulting widely and seeking expert advice on many elements of the framework,” MBA Chair, Dr Joanna Flynn said.

The ​RACP is currently reviewing the documentation to understand how it will impact Fellows and the College’s operational processes. 

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Career opportunities

New South Wales

Rehabilitation Specialist, Northern Beaches, Sydney
Applications close: open until filled
Please send a resume and professional qualifications to David Wenkart at

Rehabilitation Medicine Registrar, San Rehabilitation Service, Sydney Adventist Hospital, Wahroonga
Application close: open until filled
For further information ​visit or contact Ms Marilyn Algeo, CMO and Resident Support Manager, on or +61 2 9487 9400 or Dr Jeanette Conley, Medical Executive, Adventist Healthcare on or +61 2 9487 9421.


Private Rehabilitation Physician, Mater Health Services North Queensland (MHSNQ) Townsville, Queensland
Applications close: open until filled
For more details contact the Chief Executive Officer on +61 7 4727 4151. To apply, please submit expressions of interest via email to


Head of Unit – Rehabilitation Medicine, Peninsula Health. Mornington Peninsula, Victoria
Application close: 15 February 2018

Rehabilitation Physician required, Masada Private Hospital (Ramsay Health Care), East St Kilda, Melbourne
Applications close: open until filled

Rehabilitation Registrar (12 month position), Royal Talbot Rehabilitation Centre (Kew, Melbourne)
Applications close: open until filled
For further information, contact Dr Rob Weller on +61 418 345 389 or Applications can be made via the website.

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. 

 Register now for February 2018:

AFRM New South Wales Wednesday Training Sessions
 1pm to 3pm
AFRM Bi-National Training Program

NSW Saturday Lecture Series

The 2018 timetable is outlined below and will be updated on a regular basis with additional information.

As with previous years NSW Rehab Fellows have kindly agreed to provide teaching and training to Registrars on a Saturday morning. Below are confirmed dates, please enter them into your diaries and ensure you notify the contact person two weeks prior to the session if you wish to attend. It is hoped more dates will be added so please keep an eye out for updates in the bulletin and the Trainees Facebook page.
Date of session  Topic  Contact 
17 March Metro Rehab – PD and Stroke Rehab  Dr Anuka Parapuram  
+61 403 208 076
24 March WOW Wagga Orthotics Weekend  Dr Rachael McQueen – FULLY BOOKED
21 April AFRM annual Training Meeting  Anastasia Barabash 
visit to register
12 May Royal North Shore Hospital: Spinal Rehab  Jayashree Adhikari
19 May Liverpool BIU: TBI Rehab  TBC 
9 June St Vincent's Hospital Mock Exam  Dr Simon Mosalski 
30 June Port Kembla OSCE Practice 

Dr Francoise Joseph 0401 305 103  

28 July Nepean Mock exam Melanie Saville 
+61 2 4734 3930

AFRM training resources

Information regarding the Bi-National Training Program (BNTP), including how to participate in the webinars, and the NSW Training Sessions can be found on the AFRM Training Resources webpage.

AFRM contact details

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

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

AFRM Education and Training enquiries:
Name: Kathleen Walker, Education Officer
Phone: +61 2 8076 6350

AFRM Oral Examination enquiries:
Name: Irene Atsiaris, Examination Coordinator 
Phone: +61 2 9256 5422

AFRM training site accreditation inquiries:
Name: Sonia Tao, Education Officer
Phone: +61 8247 6233
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