AMD eBulletin - 22 September 2017

President's post

The College has been featured prominently in the media over the past couple of months in relation to the Australian government’s efforts to introduce legislation for a trial of compulsory drug tests for some welfare recipients. The College’s evidenced-based advocacy on this issue has been led by a number of College Fellows, including the College President, Dr Catherine Yelland, and the President of the Australasian Chapter of Addiction Medicine, Associate Professor Adrian Reynolds. It has been supported by our expert teams in Policy & Advocacy and Marketing and Communications. It has also involved the College working with a number of organisations who are also challenging the Government’s policy. This activity is an excellent example of the College’s ability to draw on evidence and advocate for the community and I encourage you to read more about this in our feature article this month.

This week the AMD Executive Committee met to discuss a range of business, including member terms on the AMD Council. The College election cycle will commence in under three months, and I encourage all AMD and Chapter members who are eligible to nominate for roles on the AMD Council or Chapter Committees to consider doing so. You have a very clear opportunity through such leadership roles to shape your College. The College is only as effective as we support it to be especially in a time of rapid change in our society and health systems and I encourage you to get involved.I draw your attention to the Physician Health and Wellbeing information on the College’s website. As was discussed at the AMD Council meeting in August, this is an issue that requires all of us to demonstrate our own leadership at individual, organisational, and system levels, and I urge you to familiarise yourself with the information and resources that our College has provided.

I would also like to remind members to visit the specialty society webinar series recordings that are in the Resources section of the College website. There is now  a range of terrific presentations available across a number of disciplines – please have a look and catch up on developments in disciplines from neurology, sleep medicine, infectious diseases, endocrinology and more.

Best wishes
Associate Professor Grant Phelps
Adult Medicine Division

Chapter Updates

Australasian Chapter of Sexual Health Medicine (AChSHM)

The first AChSHM 2018 Annual Science Meeting (ASM) Organising Committee has met to discuss the theme and speaker topics for the ASM and Trainees’ Day to be held on Saturday, 17 and Sunday, 18 March 2018 respectively in Melbourne. A lively discussion was held on topics, themes and branding ideas for the conference. Applications for the Penelope Lowe Prize will be opened shortly as presentations will be made at the ASM. Input is being sought from trainees on what would be useful topics to present at the Trainees’ Day.

Following Dr Graham Nielsen’s resignation as President of the AChSHM and my transition to the role of Acting President, the casual vacancy for the role of President-​Elect of the AChSHM has been filled by Professor Christopher Fairley, effective immediately until the end of May 2018 in line with the end of College  the 2016–2018 election cycle. On behalf of the AChSHM Committee I extend my congratulations to Professor Fairley and welcome him to the Committee.

Dr Graham Nielsen has also stepped down from the position of AChSHM Representative on the College’s Queensland State Committee, creating a casual vacancy for which nominations are being sought for the remainder of the term, which will conclude in June 2018. Eligible candidates must be an AChSHM Fellow who resides in Queensland and are encouraged to submit an Expression of Interest.

The Chapter Committee met for its 2017 third quarterly meeting on Thursday, 14 September via teleconference and looks forward to opening nominations for a new biennial AChSHM award which will be formally presented at the Annual Scientific Meeting in March 2018.

Preparations are underway for the Fellows’ Update meeting at the Sexual Health Conference which I will be presenting on Thursday, 9 November in Canberra.

Associate Professor Catherine O’Connor
Acting President 
Australasian Chapter of Sexual Health Medicine

Australasian Chapter of Palliative Medicine (AChPM)

The Spirituality Training Working Party will meet via video conference on Wednesday, 18 October and the AChPM Committee will meet on Friday, 20 October. The Spirituality Training Working party is preparing to undertake a survey to assist with developing recommendations on training resources to support trainees in meeting spirituality learning objectives in the current Palliative Medicine curriculum. The survey will soon be sent to AChPM members and will take no more than five minutes to complete so please do look out for it as your input will be greatly appreciated.

AChPM is seeking expressions of interest from current New Zealand-based Palliative Medicine Fellows for the casually vacant position of New Zealand Representative on the AChPM Committee. The term of office for this position will be from the date of appointment until the close of the May 2018 RACP Annual General Meeting in line with the College election cycle.

Dr Simon Allan 
Australasian Chapter of Palliative Medicine

Australasian Chapter of Addiction Medicine (AChAM)

The AChAM Committee met on Wednesday, 30 August for its third meeting of the year, via teleconference. Earlier that day, I spoke before a Senate Inquiry into the Government’s proposed Welfare Reform Bill on behalf of the RACP. It provided a good opportunity to have an honest discussion with fair and robust questions. The College has worked collaboratively with other health and medical organisations in making submissions to the Inquiry.

Preparations are underway for the AChAM Fellows Update that I will be giving at the forthcoming Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs (APSAD) conference to be held in Melbourne Sunday, 12​ to Wednesday,15 November 2017.

Associate Professor Adrian Reynolds 
Australasian Chapter of Addiction Medicine 

College involvement in the drug testing debate

The Australian Government wants to introduce new laws that will drug test up to 5,000 welfare recipients. As part of the trial, the Government plans to put welfare recipients on income management if they return a positive result for ice, ecstasy or marijuana.

Over the last few months, the College has been advocating against drug testing welfare recipients as there’s no evidence to show that it will help those suffering from addiction. It has also advocated against several other measures proposed in the Welfare amendment bill. Both New Zealand and the United States have trialed drug testing programs but the results of these trials do not support having similar programs in Australia. The low positive results only indicate that a lot of money was spent on testing and there is no evidence to suggest behavioural change among welfare recipients as supporters of the trial have claimed.

We know that a program of this nature can't operate effectively across Australia, due to the lack of accessible pathology and treatment services. There aren’t sufficient drug testing facilities or treatment services with the necessary technical and clinical capability in many regions in Australia for the trial to go ahead more broadly. What will help those battling with drug addiction is increased funding to support building both the capacity and technical capability of alcohol and other drug treatment services across the nation. Increased attention to the evidence on what works in prevention related policy and intervention is equally important.

The College is keen to work with government and other key stakeholders in the drug and alcohol and wider health sector, to develop effective and evidence-based policies and strategies to address our national substance use problems.

The College has been supportive of our collective efforts to address this important policy matter from day one and has worked collaboratively with other health sector partners including in particular, St Vincent’s Health Australia. I look forward to continuing in these collegiate and collaborative partnerships, advocating together for better services for our patients into the future.

Clinical Associate Professor Adrian Reynolds
Australasian Chapter of Addiction Medicine

Review of Victorian public health notifiable conditions

The Victorian Department of Health and Human Services is proposing changes to the reporting requirements for prescribed notifiable conditions in the public health and wellbeing legislation.

Notifications of infectious disease and other medical conditions by medical practitioners and laboratories protect the health of Victorians as they allow the department to control public health risks, minimise the spread of disease and monitor disease patterns. The proposed changes aim to streamline reporting and modernise the scheme.

The department is seeking feedback on the proposed changes until 6 October 2017.

Medical Services Advisory Committee (MSAC) Evaluation Sub-Committee (ESC) items for the October 2017 Meeting

The following items are expected to be considered at the next ESC meeting on 5 and 6 October 2017.

Contracted Assessments:

Submission Based Assessments:

Co-Dependent Assessments:

For more information on these applications please visit the MSAC website.

New framework for educational leadership and supervision

The RACP has developed a new Educational Leadership and Supervision Framework designed to establish a consistent and transparent approach to supervision, and clearly articulate the RACP’s expectation of excellence in training delivery and outcomes. 

Find out more

New ​Evolve recommendations to improve Rehabilitation Medicine

To deliver better care for those undergoing rehabilitation treatment, the Australasian Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine (AFRM) in partnership with the RACP, has released a series of new recommendations to help avoid low-value and potentially harmful tests and treatments.

Find out more

Read the latest edition of the Internal Medicine Journal

The September edition of the Internal Medicine Journal is now available on the Wiley Online Library. Articles in this edition include:

  • Rapid-access cardiology services
  • Complementary medicine products
  • Cardioselective beta-blockers and COPD
  • Attitudes to opioid use in refractory breathlessness
  • Prescribing for oldest old inpatients
  • Eculizumab in patients with no transfusion history

2018 Indigenous Health Scholarships – ​applications opening soon

The College is offering scholarships to those who identify as being of Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander, Māori or Pasifika heritage.

These scholarships provide a funded pathway through either Basic or Advanced Training in Australia and New Zealand.

Applications open: Sunday, 1 October 2017 and close Thursday, 30 November 2017.

Find out more

Hear about ​Transitions to Fellowship on Pomegranate Health

On this episode of Pomegranate Health, four Fellows recall their unique experiences on making the ​change from trainee to Fellow and how they maintain a healthy balance within and around their careers. 

Find out more

Attend your local RACP Trainee Research Awards for Excellence event

The RACP Trainee Research Awards for Excellence are an opportunity for RACP trainees from all Divisions, Faculties and Chapters to present their research work to an audience of Fellows and trainees. 

At each event one presentation in the field of adult medicine and one presentation in the field of paediatric medicine will be selected to represent their region.

Find out more

Foundation awards  

Nominations are closing soon for several prestigious awards, including:

RACP Member Professional Development Day (as part of the Continuing Education Workshop series)

This event, hosted by the RACP Victorian State Committee, will be a longer one day format workshop compared to other Continuing Education Workshop events​.

Find out more

Career opportunities 

New South Wales

Specialist Physicians for Private Practice in Sydney

Enquiries: Tina, Ph: +61 499 183 232 or via

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.

View all events related to Adult Medicine here.

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

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