AMD eBulletin 28 May 2021
Greetings to all.
This year I have been fortunate to attend RACP Congress 2021 in person in both Brisbane and Melbourne. After last year’s virtual Congress, the College took on the task of bringing the 2021 event to members, hosting face-to-face meetings across six cities and two countries, as well as offering all content online. Unfortunately, in a reflection of current times, the Perth face-to-face event was unable to proceed due to COVID-19 restrictions. I was honoured to interview Dr Michael Ryan, Executive Director of the World Health Organization’s Emergencies Programme for the AMD Cottrell Memorial Lecture. Dr Ryan shared his philosophy: ‘if you change nothing then nothing changes’ and ‘if you want change to happen you have to be a part of that change’. This is particularly meaningful given the unique set of challenges that we currently face as physicians.
It was my privilege and pleasure to introduce Professor Sharon Lewin AO to present this year’s Priscilla Kincaid-Smith Oration in Melbourne. Professor Lewin, in a similar vein to Priscilla Kincaid-Smith, has provided outstanding leadership in service of our community through her role as an infectious diseases physician, and as Director of the Peter Doherty Institute.
The AMD Executive Committee met on 19 May 2021. The Committee engaged in discussions regarding supporting the physician leader, a piece of work which the Committee intends to pursue as its focus in the coming months, as well as further progressing the Adult Medicine Division work plan. Associate Professor Catherine (Cathy) O’Connor, Chair of the Gender Equity in Medicine Working group (GEMWG) also joined our meeting to provide an update on the progression of this important area of focus. To further support the great work the GEMWG is doing, Associate Professor O’Connor has been invited to attend the August AMD Council meeting to provide a further update to Council members. We also had an important discussion around the ongoing vacancies on AMD Council and discussed ways to encourage these roles to be filled to ensure that all membership voices are included.
The AMD Executive Committee will meet again on Wednesday, 14 July 2021, if you have any questions or feedback for me or the Committee, you are welcome to contact me via the Adult Medicine Division secretariat at email@example.com.
Professor Don Campbell
Adult Medicine Division President
I would like to draw attention to five Chapter prizes that are either open now or will open shortly. I encourage you to apply for these prizes, or, if you can think of someone who would be eligible, send them the link, or nominate them.
Congratulations to Dr Caroline Thng who has been nominated as the Lead Convenor for the AChSHM ASM 2022. The ASM is the highlight of the Chapter’s year and I would like to thank her in advance for leading this important annual conference. The AChSHM ASM 2022 is also seeking for a sexual health trainee and a regional or remote representative to join the organising committee. For more details, please see the EOI description on the RACP website.
Lastly, I would like to advise members that an expression of interest is open for the Aotearoa New Zealand representative on the AChSHM Committee. If you are interested, please complete the EOI application form on the RACP website and send to the Chapter secretariat by Friday, 25 June 2021.
The next AChSHM Committee meeting will be held on Wednesday, 23 June 2021. If there are any issues you would like to raise with the Committee, or if you have any feedback for us, please feel free to contact us through our secretariat at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Professor Kit Fairley
Australasian Chapter of Sexual Health Medicine
I would like to congratulate Professor Douglas Bridge, recipient of the 2020 College Medal. The College Medal is a recognition of a Fellow’s contribution to improving the health of the community or College members. A Past President of our Chapter, Professor Bridge has been heavily involved with the education program. Professor Bridge’s service to our Chapter and profession exemplifies the College motto: 'hominum servire saluti'. Professor Bridge has contributed to the field of palliative medicine in so many ways during his distinguished career including publishing academic papers, developing an extremely well-regarded spirituality workshop, mentoring an impressive number of palliative medicine trainees and of course, impeccably caring for his patients. I have thoroughly enjoyed our time together on College Committees and always left our meetings or discussions with some new idea or perspective but also feeling uplifted by Professor Bridge’s encouragement and quiet enthusiasm. Humble by nature, he is not one to seek reward or recognition, yet the College Medal could hardly have a more worthy recipient.
The Chapter has established two new Chapter awards:
- The Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Discipline of Palliative Medicine – this is currently open for nominations and will close on Wednesday, 30 June 2021.
- The Best Trainee Research Project Award – opens for applications on Monday, 7 June 2021 and close on Monday, 2 August 2021.
I strongly encourage you to consider nominating a colleague (or colleagues) for these awards, or other awards/prizes that the College offers. It is important that we recognise the various contributions that are being made.
The Chapter supports Palliative Care Australia (PCA) in restating its position that any changes to opioid regulation in Australia must not impact access to appropriate opioids for palliative care patients. Improved regulation of and education on opioid prescribing in end-of-life care patients is one of the Chapter’s work plan priorities for 2020-2022. For more information on the PCA’s position, visit the PCA website.
A pilot of the spirituality training workshop is also being planned for later this year. I will keep you informed of progress throughout the year.
This week is National Palliative Care Week 2021 ending on Saturday, 29 May 2021. With the theme 'Palliative Care: It’s more than you think', National Palliative Care Week seeks to raise awareness about the many benefits of quality palliative care.
The AChPM Committee will next meet on Friday, 4 June 2021 via videoconference. If you have any feedback, questions, or comments for the Committee, please get in touch via our secretariat at email@example.com.
Dr Michelle Gold
Australasian Chapter of Palliative Medicine
The College recently contributed to the consultation for the draft National Preventive Health Strategy. Although the draft strategy goes some way towards acknowledging the long-neglected imbalance between prevention diagnosis and treatment and providing a coordinated national response that includes all systems, significant gaps remain.
In the area of alcohol and other drugs, the draft strategy proposes targets of a 10 per cent reduction in harmful alcohol consumption by Australians by 2025, a 15 per cent decrease in the prevalence of recent illicit drug use by 2030 and lists inspirational policy achievements by 2030. However, it does not include specific actions, responsibilities, accountabilities or funding commitments.
To address these issues, 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
- include evidence-based approaches such as taxes and restrictions in marketing
- increase focus on the environmental determinants of health in an actionable way
- increase focus on work, employment, and poverty as determinants of health
- centre the needs of Indigenous Australians
- acknowledge and make actionable measures to better address the needs of people with disabilities
- assign specific responsibilities, accountabilities and milestones.
If the upcoming Preventive Health Strategy is to fulfill its vision, including its commitments in relation to alcohol and other drugs, it must clearly state how we plan to get there.
Please be advised that the Nghi Phung Research Project Prize is now open for applications and will close on Monday, 19 July 2021. This Prize is awarded annually to the best Advanced Training Research Project for Addiction Medicine.
Finally, I would like to say that I was deeply sorry to hear about the loss of Mary Jeanne Kreek in March 2021. Mary was best known for her work in the development of methadone therapy for heroin dependence in America in the 1960s along with Dole and Nyswander.
The AChAM Committee will next meet on Tuesday, 20 July 2021 via videoconference. If you have any feedback, questions, or comments for the Committee, please get in touch via our secretariat at AddictionMed@racp.edu.au.
Professor Nicholas Lintzeris
Australasian Chapter of Addiction Medicine
On 20 May 2021, Australia recorded the largest single day of 101,146 COVID-19 vaccine doses with a total of over 3.47 million administered. As of 19 May 2021, Aotearoa New Zealand have administered a total of 474,436 COVID-19 vaccine doses.
The RACP has been concerned about the slow rollout and hesitancy of COVID-19 vaccines and is keen to support the momentum of increasing the uptake of vaccinations.
The RACP urges members to encourage eligible patients to get their COVID-19 vaccinations. To assist members please see below a suite of available resources and information on COVID-19 vaccines:
Aotearoa New Zealand
We regularly share updates and resources including from the Australian Government Department of Health and the Aotearoa New Zealand Ministry of Health on the RACP COVID-19 webpage.
The Australian Government Department of Health (the Department) has updated its Medicare Billing in Public Hospitals webpage in response to feedback received from peak bodies, including the College. The webpage contains guidance material to strengthen provider education on appropriate Medicare billing in public hospitals. This includes case studies to clarify appropriate referrals following episodes of hospital care and the hospital’s responsibility to undertake any testing required for public patients. The feedback has also informed a new set of FAQs, which provide additional clarity on key points raised in the case studies.
The Department thanks peak bodies and clinicians involved in the revision process. If you have further comments or feedback, please contact the department at firstname.lastname@example.org.
RACP Congress 2021 concluded with the last of the virtual sessions on 20 May 2021. With a total program featuring over 85 sessions, this ambitious event covered a broad range of topics and insightful panel discussions. If you missed a session, such as the Medic Mall sponsored ‘Impact of the pandemic on leading causes of death in Australia’ or would like to watch a session again, all recorded sessions will be available for viewing until Friday, 29 October 2021.
For those who didn’t attend, but still wish to view the RACP Congress material, you are able to register for a virtual ticket until Friday, 25 June 2021. You can register at www.racpcongress.com.au.
Applications for the 2022 RACP Foundation Research Awards are now open. Upwards of 50 awards up to a total value of $2.5 million are available across the different categories: Career Development Fellowships, Research Establishment Fellowships and Research Entry Scholarships.
Applications for other award categories including Research Development Grants, Travel Grants and Education Development Grants are opening on Tuesday, 1 June 2021.
Two new awards are on offer:
- The Roger Bartop Research Establishment Fellowship worth up to $60,000 funding for basic and applied research in nutrition, obesity and diabetes.
- Alex Cohen Travel Grant in Internal Medicine worth up to $10,000 funding to support travel for physicians to enhance skills or undertake further studies in the field of internal medicine.
Please refer to the RACP Foundation webpage for information on specific eligibility requirements for each award.
Nominations for the Neil Hamilton Fairley Medal for 2022 are now open. This medal is awarded by the RACP every five years to recognise an individual who has made outstanding contributions to the field of medicine. The medal was last awarded to Professor Roger Reddel in 2017.
This award is open to both RACP Fellows as well as individuals outside the College. However, the nominee must be nominated by a Fellow of the RACP to be considered.
Details on the application process and selection criteria is available on the RACP website. Nominations close on Tuesday, 31 August 2021.
AChAM Nghi Phung Research Project Prize
The AChAM Nghi Phung Research Project Prize is awarded annually to the best Advanced Training Research Project on addiction medicine. The award includes a cash prize of $1,000 and a certificate formally presented at the APSAD Conference. Applications close on Monday, 19 July 2021. See the RACP website for more information.
AChSHM Award for Outstanding Contribution to Sexual Health Medicine
Recognise a Fellow for their Outstanding Overall Contribution to the Discipline of Sexual Health Medicine. The recipient will be formally acknowledged at the AChSHM ASM. For further information please see the RACP website. Nominations close on Saturday, 31 July 2021.
RACP AChSHM Research Entry Scholarship
Applications are now open for the RACP AChSHM Research Entry Scholarship. This scholarship offers up to $40,000 funding for stipends for an AChSHM member undertaking research in the field of sexual health medicine as part of their Masters, PhD or equivalent research higher degree.
The RACP AChSHM Study Grant is also available this year to support further educational training or develop educational initiatives in sexual health medicine. Applications for Study Grants open on Tuesday, 1 June 2021.
Full details for this and other funding opportunities are available on the RACP Foundation webpage.
Opening soon: AChSHM Award for Best Postgraduate Thesis in Sexual Health Medicine
The AChSHM recognises the importance of training its workforce in research. Recognise an AChSHM Fellow or trainee for their outstanding postgraduate work. The recipient will be formally acknowledged at the AChSHM ASM. Self-nominations are accepted. Please see the RACP website for more information. Nominations open on Tuesday, 1 June 2021.
New awards in palliative medicine
AChPM Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Discipline of Palliative Medicine
Nominate a Fellow for their outstanding contribution to palliative medicine. The award includes a cash prize of $500 and a certificate formally presented at the ANZSPM Conference. Please see the RACP website for further details. Nominations close on Wednesday, 30 June 2021.
AChPM Best Trainee Research Project Award
This new award is for the best research project submitted for assessment for Advanced Training in Palliative Medicine each year. The award includes a cash prize of $1,000 and a certificate formally presented at the ANZSPM Conference. Applications open on Monday, 7 June 2021. See the RACP website for more information.
The Board held its first virtual Conversation with the Board event with members from the Hunter New England (HNE)/Newcastle area on 24 February 2021.
The communique for this Conversation with the Board is available on the RACP website
where you will also find previous Conversations
Join Dr Robert Lethbridge as he hosts a virtual live screening of ‘The Advocate’s Journey’ mini-documentary series on Thursday, 24 June 2021, 6pm to 8pm (AEST).
In the documentary, Dr Lethbridge sets out to interview well-known physicians who have taken the leap into advocacy and achieved remarkable outcomes from their work. The five short episodes see Dr Lethbridge conduct engaging interviews with Dr Helen Young, Professor Fiona Stanley, Dr Graeme Edwards and other respected advocates and experts. Throughout the screening you’ll gain valuable insights into becoming a physician advocate, engaging key stakeholders, getting issues on the public agenda, and the results of advocacy.
Register now to watch ‘The Advocate’s Journey’ and hear first-hand from Dr Lethbridge about his experiences working on the documentary.
Watch this short showreel for a sneak preview of what you’ll find on Medflix, home to our extensive collection of powerful and engaging educational videos. The videos are designed to support members with their lifelong learning and professional development needs and cover a range of clinical and professional topics.
Tune in to Medflix to view more and share.
A feature of the Federal Budget 2021-22 was its response to the 148 recommendations from the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety (the Commission). The Budget reflected the Government’s acceptance or acceptance-in-principle of 126 of the Commission’s recommendations and its rejection of six. The remaining recommendations are either under consideration or have been supported in other ways.
College members made strong contributions to the Commission through the College’s 2019 submission and the later 2020 submission impact of COVID-19 on aged care.
Of our 56 recommendations in the 2019 submission, only five were not addressed by the Commission, and five were taken up in less direct ways. With the Government’s positive response to the Commission’s recommendations, we anticipate seeing the majority of our recommendations implemented either directly or less directly, which we will monitor.
Some examples of where the Federal Budget has responded to Royal Commission recommendations, consistent with the College’s recommendations, include:
- improved assessment provisions such as the single assessment process
- more home care packages
- improved access to specialists and other health practitioners through multidisciplinary outreach services
- support to increase the cultural competency of service provider staff, and to address some of the barriers Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander older people experience in relation to aged care services
- funding for Primary Health Networks to provide end-user support for the use of telehealth in residential aged care facilities.
Over the next four years of the Budget’s provisions for aged care, the College will continue to advocate for improvements in aged care services as recommended by our contributing College members.
We, in partnership with the Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand, are pleased to announce that during Lung Health Awareness Month, the latest Evolve ‘Top-5’ recommendations on low-value practices in thoracic medicine were launched.
The new Evolve thoracic recommendations span a range of conditions, ranging from common, such as COPD, to rare, such as sarcoidosis.
These recommendations were developed to reduce key low-value tests and interventions in the practice of thoracic medicine but will be of interest and applicable to care provided by clinicians beyond the specialty. The new recommendations say:
- Do not perform a D-Dimer in patients at high risk of pulmonary embolism.
- Do not use long term systemic corticosteroids for management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
- Do not initiate maintenance inhalers in minimally symptomatic COPD patients with a low risk of exacerbation.
- Do not routinely follow-up solid pulmonary nodules smaller than 6mm detected in low-risk patients.
- Do not perform a serum ACE for the diagnosis or monitoring of sarcoidosis.
We ask clinicians to think about how these recommendations are relevant to them. Consider:
- making the recommendations a routine part of clinical handovers
- including recommendations in education sessions like grand rounds, workshops, clinical case reviews, team meetings and more
- undertaking a clinical audit and feedback project on a recommendation
- discussing the recommendations with referring doctors and your multidisciplinary care team
- undertaking research on the recommendations.
Read and download the recommendations
If RACP Fellows and trainees want to be more involved in shaping Evolve, consider joining the Evolve Policy Reference Group. The RACP regularly consults, collaborates and partners with Fellows and trainees in the Evolve Policy Reference Group. The group plays an important role in leading and shaping Evolve to make it more relevant and fit-for-purpose. Email email@example.com to find out more.
The Endocrine Society of Australia (ESA) has developed a sick day management letter for patients on Glucocorticoid Therapy available from the ESA Hormones Australia website.
This resource intends to highlight to health professionals the risk of adrenal crisis, the nonspecific nature of symptoms and presentations preceding a crisis and the importance of prompt recognition and treatment to reduce its associated morbidity and mortality. Further information regarding adrenal insufficiency can be found at the ESA Hormones Australia website
The Australian Government Department of Health (DoH) is currently seeking one College representative for the Biotoxin Related Illness Advisory Committee (the Committee), with the DoH determining the final membership.
The DoH is seeking physicians with expertise and experience in the following:
- general medicine
- infectious diseases
- occupational and environmental medicine
- clinical allergy
- clinical immunology
The Committee will comprise of representatives from a broad range of allied health and specialist medical fields, as well as consumer representation. Deadline for applications is close of business Wednesday, 9 June 2021.
Sleepy, fatigued patients are common in the practice of medicine, and it can be difficult to diagnose and dissect out all the potential contributing factors to sleepiness.
Narcolepsy and idiopathic hypersomnolence, two of the major disorders of central hypersomnolence, are often diagnosed several years after initial presentation. Patients need the support of a well-informed multidisciplinary team to manage their condition and thrive.
The Australasian Sleep Association is running an interactive virtual clinical masterclass on Saturday, 31 July 2021 to explore in detail how to diagnose and treat patients with central disorders of hypersomnolence.
“We are aware that many patients see a GP, neurologist, general physician, endocrinologist, psychiatrist, respiratory/sleep physician, psychologist or other healthcare provider as part of their workup. We’ve specifically designed the program to provide virtual interactive learning opportunities to hone the skills and knowledge of all the disciplines supporting patients with these conditions,” says Dr Sheila Sivam, Chair of the organising faculty.
“We have three internationally renowned keynote speakers who will cover the latest in pathophysiology, diagnostics and therapeutics. There’ll also be opportunities for small group discussion of complex case presentations, as well as a multidisciplinary panel discussion,” Dr Sivam added.
International keynote speakers
- Dr Christelle Peyron from the National Centre for Scientific Research, France, will present on pathophysiology and recent basic science on hypersomnias.
- Assistant Professor David Plante, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, USA, will cover a tailored approach to diagnosis.
- Dr Lynn Marie Trotti, Emory University, Atlanta USA, will cover the latest therapeutic options for treating narcolepsy and idiopathic hypersomnia.
More information and to register
Specialty societies bring together physicians and research and clinical scientists who are actively involved in the study of a particular specialty. The RACP maintains close links with specialty societies and draws upon their expertise for guidance on matters relevant to their specialty. AMD members are encouraged to explore what societies may offer to them. A list of all RACP-affiliated specialty societies is available on the RACP website.
Check the Expressions of Interest page at any time, to find out if there are any opportunities that are of benefit to you.
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.
Please see the College website to view all medical positions vacant.