AMD Newsletter 17 November 2017

President's Post

The College remains a leader in specialist training in our countries. Members will be aware of the enormous amount of work done by Fellows, supported by our expert education team, to ensure that our training remains founded in solid educational principles and recognises the reality of our complex and often challenging training environments. Our members contribute enormously to the success of the College’s training activities. Over 3,000 Fellows have undertaken the College’s supervisor training and over 1,500 contribute each year to the success of the Written and Clinical Examinations. This level of engagement in the work of the College demonstrates that the College remains a critically important part of our members’ professional lives.

A central piece of the training puzzle is the College’s curricula, which are undergoing a process of renewal. I’ve been asked, together with my colleague Sarah Dalton, President of the Division of Paediatrics and Child Health (PCHD), to assist this process at a College workshop in late November. This workshop is focusing on the physician of the future. I’m sure if we reflected on our own careers in medicine that we would all agree that there have been profound changes in both the context of healthcare delivery and in the type of care that we can deliver. Given how long it takes to train a physician from medical school through to completion of Advanced Training, it is imperative that the College has a clear sense of the future of physician practice. The impact of technology, of changing models of training, and of the role of the consumer in designing and evaluating healthcare will be profound. I look forward to working with colleagues to help develop a clearer picture of the many novel skills that future physicians will need.

Whilst contemplating the ‘new’ physician, and also the approaching conclusion of my time as President of AMD, I have also been reminded recently of the importance of planning an effective retirement. Ensuring that we have interests outside of our work, that we have built a succession plan, and that we do what we can to maintain good health are critical components of this. I look forward to future conversations within the College about helping our colleagues to a healthy and noble retirement.

Understanding the physician workforce is increasingly important, but at the moment there is no reliable database that can answer seemingly simple questions about the physician workforce like ‘how many RACP Fellows are engaged in research?’. To be able to answer these questions, and allow the College to better inform decision making, we need your help.

A new feature has been added to MyRACP where you can update your work details including what percentage of your time is spent the various aspects of medical practise and research including supervision, teaching, research and clinical practice (public and private). I encourage you to take the time to complete this information, it took me less than 10 minutes and the more complete the data is, the more the College can help policy and decision makers. You can complete your work profile on MyRACP or read more about it.

I encourage all Adult Medicine members to register for RACP congress 2018 which is being held in Sydney. Congress is a great opportunity for us all to get together to share our knowledge on important issues which include climate change and patient centred care in 2018. Visit the website to register.

Best wishes

Associate Professor Grant Phelps
Adult Medicine Division

Help the College to better inform workforce decision making

The RACP is establishing a physician workforce profile and is calling on Fellows to enter their practice activity through a new feature in MyRACP. We understand many Fellows complete workforce information for other organisations, but these are often fragmented and designed around a specific question.

Find out more

AChAM President’s Report

Our Chapter Committee met this month and considered a range of issues, including how to recruit more trainees to our specialty. We discussed collaboration with other physician training programs to promote dual training in addiction medicine, and opportunities to promote the discipline through training information evenings. Our Victorian Branch recently held a successful training information evening and we are reviewing this event to see how we might be able to run similar ones in other jurisdictions.

Another strategy discussed was to get a better sense of how and where addiction medicine specialists practice. We are fortunate to have a mechanism available to us to establish a comprehensive workforce profile for our discipline, but to do this, we need your help. 

The RACP is establishing a physician workforce profile for members, and I call on all AChAM Fellows to support this activity. A new feature has been added to MyRACP where you can update your work details including what percentage of your time is spent on the various aspects of medical practice and research including supervision, teaching, research and clinical practice (public and private).

It’s appreciated that many Fellows complete workforce information for other organisations, but these are often fragmented and designed around a specific question. We need addiction medicine Fellows to complete this survey to enable the College and the AChAM to better inform decision-making on workforce matters. This will also assist future decision making for the direction of the RACP education programs, including our own.

I was pleased to attend the APSAD 2017 ASM in Melbourne this week and to chair an AChAM Fellows’ Update where we discussed our Evolve list, recent policy and advocacy activity (e.g. Social Services Legislation Amendment (Welfare Reform) Bill 2017, up-scheduling of OTC compounds containing codeine, cannabinoids for medical purposes and e-Cigarettes), our training program and reviewed the implementation of the addiction medicine Medicare items. 

The biennial College election cycle is commencing in December. I’d like to remind all AChAM members of the opportunity you have to contribute to our discipline through the AChAM Committee by nominating for one of the available positions. We will also be seeking nominations for our branch chair positions in 2018. 

Associate Professor Adrian Reynolds 
Australasian Chapter of Addiction Medicine 

AChPM President’s Report

I am sure that all members of our Chapter have been watching with keen interest the developments around the assisted dying legislation in Victoria, Australia; indeed, our Chapter Committee met the day that the legislation was passed by the Victorian Lower House.  It has been encouraging to see efforts being made by members of the Victorian Upper House to increase funding for palliative medicine services. We know the value we offer to vulnerable patients and I encourage all AChPM members to advocate for better access to palliative medicine services for our patients and to promote the value we offer to our patients and their families.

I would like to note in particular the careful and considered manner in which our College has been working on this complex and challenging issue, both in the development of a position paper on Euthanasia and Physician Assisted Dying, and in responding to Government enquiries and consultations on the legislation.

I draw your attention to the College’s workforce profile activity which has commenced this month. The RACP is establishing a physician workforce profile which it will develop as an authoritative database of the physician workforce. This will reflect the workforce profiles of each RACP specialty, including Palliative Medicine. To achieve this, the College needs your help, and I call on all AChPM Fellows to contribute to this important activity.

 Most of us complete workforce information for other organisations or regulators which produce fragmented data sets and are often designed around a specific question serving the organisation conducting the survey.

 To advocate effectively for our discipline and make effective and sound decisions for our training program, we need to establish accurate workforce data. We have a collective responsibility to do this and I encourage all of you to take the time to participate.

 A new feature has been added to MyRACP where you can update your work details including what percentage of your time is spent the various aspects of medical practice and research including supervision, teaching, research and clinical practice (public and private).

Our Spirituality Working Party has now developed a draft report on its review of Clinical Professor Doug Bridge’s Spirituality Training Working and is consulting with various parties on the observations and recommendations therein. We look forward to the final report being tabled over the next few months.

The College election cycle will commence in a few weeks and I ask AChPM members to take heed of the call for nominations for vacancies on our Chapter Committee when they are announced. The Chapter Committee is the peak body for our discipline within the College and offers an opportunity to contribute to the wellbeing of our discipline through Education and Training, Policy ​& Advocacy and Fellowship. 

Dr Simon Allan
Australasian Chapter of Palliative Medicine

AChSHM President’s Report

Last week I attended the 2017 Sexual Health conference in Canberra, and was pleased to chair an AChSHM Fellows’ Update and see our 2017 Jan Edwards Prize candidates present their papers.

I am very pleased to announce that Dr Sian Goddard was the winner of the 2017 Jan Edwards Prize, and congratulate all three candidates on the very high standard or their presentations.

At our Fellows’ update we considered the implementation of the Sexual Health Medicine Medicare Items which commenced on 1 November 2016, and discussed the impact of these on our practice. Associate Professor Dave Templeton provided an update on Training activities and succession planning.

Many of us complete workforce information for other organisations, but these are often fragmented and designed around a specific question. To address this, the RACP is establishing a physician workforce profile which it will develop as an authoritative database of the physician workforce. This includes Sexual Health Medicine specialists. To do this, we need your help, and I encourage all AChSHM Fellows to contribute.

A new feature has been added to MyRACP where you can update your work details including what percentage of your time is spent the various aspects of medical practice and research including supervision, teaching, research and clinical practice (public and private).

We are a relatively small discipline, and establishing accurate workforce data is of great value to us and will assist future decision making for the direction of our education program and our discipline as a whole.

Our 2018 Chancres, Coffee and Clinical Updates ASM has been launched and I encourage you to register for what is developing into a very stimulating program. Our 2018 ASM will be held in Melbourne on Saturday, 17 March and will cover recent advances in mycoplasma genitalium and bacterial vaginosis, genital dermatology,  syphilis, an antimicrobial stewardship panel discussion, gonorrhoea and saliva, enteric infections in gay men, azithromycin in STI and of course our annual Penelope Lowe Prize presentations.

Full details are on the ASM website.

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

Paediatric cardiologist named the Northern Territory’s Australian of the Year

One of Australia’s first female paediatric cardiologists, RACP Fellow Dr Bo Reményi has been named the Northern Territory's Australian of the Year for her work in tackling rheumatic heart disease in the Northern Territory – an area with the highest rate of rheumatic heart disease in the world. Her work includes diagnosis, treatment, and advocacy.

Her work has led to new treatments and better outcomes for patients, locally and internationally. She fled Hungary as a teenager and found a safe haven in Australia where she is now saving lives and contributing to putting Australia on the international map with her innovative approach to tackling heart disease with an emphasis on prevention.

Find out more

MyCPD Upgrade Launching 27 November

The new and improved MyCPD program will be launched on 27 November.

Find out more

Physician Training Surveys

We are introducing surveys for trainees and supervisors as part of our accreditation program. 

The surveys will help us ensure high quality and safe training experiences for trainees, confirm there is sufficient support and training for supervisors and assess whether our educational standards are being delivered in the workplace.

Find out more

An Open Letter to Basic Trainees Eligible for the 2018 Divisional Written Examination

Next year the Divisional Written Examination is being delivered via computer-based testing. In an open letter to Basic Trainees, Dr Jonathan Christiansen, Chair of the College Education Committee, Dr Tina Marinelli, Chair of the College Trainees' Committee and Dr Marie-Louise Stokes, Director of Education Services discuss the benefits of this change and provide further information to support trainees. 
Find out more

RACP consultation and forums on medical assistance in dying

A number of proposals to legalise medical assistance in dying have recently been considered by Parliaments in Australia and New Zealand. Most recently, Bills were introduced in the Victorian and New South Wales Parliaments, with debates ongoing.

The RACP has established a Working Party to develop the College’s position on these issues, and is working with Woolcott Research & Engagement to consult with RACP members about their views.

Find out more

National shingles immunisation program (Evaluation of Process and Early Impact)

The Adult Medicine Division has been invited to participate in a research study titled “National shingles immunisation program (Evaluation of Process and Early Impact)” that will be conducted by The National Centre for Immunisation Research & Surveillance (NCIRS) at The Children’s Hospital, Westmead in conjunction with the Commonwealth Department of Health.

 The study will provide information about what Australians know about the disease of shingles and whether they have heard of the new shingles (zoster) vaccine. The study will also provide information to better deliver the shingles vaccine in Australian communities.

This survey is preferred to be conducted over the phone with one or two specialists who have had some experience/involvement in the National Shingles Vaccination Program.

 For more information or if are you interested in participating please contact ​the Adult Medicine Division

RACP Congress

The 2018 Congress program continues with the popular shared session structure as well as clinical and specialty sessions for each Division and Faculty.

​A joint AMD and PCHD session, on Monday, 14 May will be presented by Dr Ian Scott, consultant general physician and Director of Internal Medicine and Clinical Epidemiology at Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane. Explore how overdiagnosis and the related overuse of medical tests and treatments not only cause harm but also divert resources from addressing underdiagnosis and undertreatment.

Visit the Congress website to view session descriptions for the entire Congress program

Internal Medicine Journal - October 2017 edition online now

Articles include:

  • Giant cell arteritis 
  • Sleep disordered breathing
  • Pituitary surgery outcomes
  • Cardiovascular risk in transsexuals
  • Documentation of penicillin adverse drug reactions
  • Contemporary antiplatelet therapy in acute coronary syndromes​
Access the journal

HIV testing- essential to ending transmission by 2020

One in six people diagnosed with HIV in NSW report heterosexual exposure, and at least 10 per cent of all people with HIV are not aware they have the virus and could unknowingly pass the virus onto others.

In the week leading up to World AIDS Day on December 1, HIV testing is being encouraged for:

  • heterosexual people with behaviours putting them at risk of HIV
  • people from countries with high rates of HIV and people who have had unprotected sex while travelling to these countries
  • gay and homosexually active men.

In the first half of 2017, 282,626 tests were performed across NSW –  a 33 per cent increase on the same period in 2012.

Visit NSW Health for information, resources and support.

Watch a video of Dr Bill Kefalas talk about advances in HIV testing, diagnosis and treatment.

Support for Rural Specialists in Australia (SRSA) Funding Round 2. Applications close 28 February 2018

Applications for the Support for Rural Specialists in Australia (SRSA) Funding Round 2 for individual Continuing Professional Development (CPD) grants are now open.

Find out more

RACP Indigenous Health Scholarships for 2018 – Applications open now

Through its Indigenous Health Scholarship Program, the College annually offers up to eight scholarships to medical graduates and doctors who identify as being of Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander, Māori or Pacific Islander heritage and who would like to pursue a career as a physician.

These scholarships cover all RACP training and examination fees for either Basic or Advanced Training to the value of $10,000 for each year. They also include registration, travel and accommodation to attend the RACP Congress and/or other relevant Annual Scientific Meetings.

For full details and to apply go to the RACP Indigenous Health Scholarship Program page or contact the RACP Foundation.

The RACP Support Program

The RACP places the utmost importance on the wellbeing of its members. We live fast-paced, busy and time poor lives and it can often be difficult to balance the pressures of the workplace, interactions with colleagues and personal matters.

Life and work balance doesn’t just happen – it requires planning. The Balancing Life and Work tip sheet from the RACP Support Program provides practical tips for planning and achieving balance. 

The RACP Support Program is a fully confidential and independent help line available 24 hours, seven days and is free for Fellows and trainees.

Find out more

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.

Career opportunities 

New South Wales

Cardiologist - Wetherill Park, Sydney

Western Australia

Director Clinical Services, Next Step Drug and Alcohol Services, Mental Health Commission 
Enquiries: Dr Allan Quigley or Ms Susan Alarcon on +61 8 9219 1856.
Applications close: 4pm Thursday, 30 November

Go to the Medical Positions Vacant page at any time to see all job listings.

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