AMD Newsletter 5 April 2019

President's Post 

Advanced Trainee Selection and Matching System

As Fellows and trainees will be aware, it was announced three weeks ago that the College would suspend the Advanced Trainee Selection and Matching (ATSM) system that had operated for the last 10 years. This announcement came as a surprise to many and caused disappointment in the speciality groups that had relied on the service over this period.

It is clear that the communication about the change was not handled as well as it could have been. A process of consultation and advanced notice would have reduced anxieties and allowed alternative approaches to have been put in place before the old system was retired.

As it happened, however, there were some genuine concerns that motivated the change and an opportunity – as well as some pressure – now exists to make sure that a fully workable system is established in its place. The old system, which served us well, matched trainees on the basis of personal details and preferences for available jobs using an algorithm originally developed for the National Residency Matching Program in the USA. The service was used by about 10 speciality societies, amongst which were cardiology, endocrinology, gastroenterology, nephrology, respiratory and sleep medicine, and rheumatology.

Evidently, some concerns had developed about the stability of the software and it was determined that a comprehensive update was needed. Following the disaster associated with the failure of the computer-based exam in 2018 it was decided that it was too risky to continue with the program this year. Obviously, no-one wanted another major IT failure in the College!

The positive aspect of this is that it has allowed the larger question of matching to be revisited with a view to creating a fairer, more efficient, more comprehensive system for the future. A matching system is important because it applies objective criteria, unlike the traditional arbitrary selection processes where the criteria were not transparent. However, there is some complexity involved, because it is also necessary to allow individual selection panels sufficient autonomy to assess, interview and rank candidates as they see fit in order to satisfy specific local requirements. In addition, there is a need for an expanded process whereby both training positions and supervisors can be accredited and assessed, something that does not occur reliably under the present system.

To develop the new system a detailed consultation will be needed, followed by appropriate policy and software development. It will be required to preserve the careful balance between autonomy and standardisation, to facilitate coordination between the different selection processes in order to enable a mutual learning process, and to be integrated with a review process to protect trainees and their supervisors.

The difficulty remains what happens this year. In the absence of a ready made back-up, the College is putting together a package that will be fully workable in time for the match, which starts around June. A temporary electronic matching progress will be provided. The jobs themselves will be advertised on the College website and by the specialty societies.

The precipitous nature of the decision to withdraw the ATSM this year was regrettable, but there is confidence that this year’s temporary system will operate safely and effectively. Hopefully, by next year we will have in place a more robust, streamlined system free of the doubts and uncertainties of the old one.

Because the consultation process is key to the planning and success of the replacement system comments and suggestions about the specifications of the latter will be warmly welcomed.

Professor Paul Komesaroff FRACP AM
President Adult Medicine Division
Telephone: +61 (0)417 55 26 59

As always, I am keen to receive comments, thoughts, and suggestions about the ideas contained in this article.

AChAM President’s Report

The Chapter Committee met via teleconference on 15 March for a productive meeting in which the main items on the agenda related to the Addiction Doctors Education Program and determining the priorities for our policy and advocacy activities over the next 12 months.

The Chapter Committee has decided to focus its attention on the development of a comprehensive drug policy. This will be done in collaboration with the other relevant RACP bodies.

As many members will be aware, Dr Mark Montebello has recently stepped down from his position coordinating the Addiction Doctors Education Program. We are enormously grateful for the highly successful program that Mark has developed and run for many years and I would like to formally take this opportunity to thank him for his contribution and hard work. Many addiction medicine and addiction psychiatry trainees are appreciative of the education provided by this program.

It was a pleasure to be able to host the International Medicine in Addiction (IMiA19) conference in Melbourne and I hope that those of you who were able to attend enjoyed it as much as I did. The next conference will be held in the first quarter of 2021. In the meantime I am sure you will be made very welcome in Auckland in May for RACP Congress 2019.

The Chapter Committee will hold its next meeting at the College on Friday, 21 June 2019. If you have any feedback, questions or comments for us, you can get in touch with the Committee via our secretariat at

Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Australasian Chapter of Addiction Medicine

AChPM President’s Report 

I am delighted to announce that our very own Associate Professor Will Cains OAM will be awarded the RACP College Medal for 2019. Will has provided a large and enduring contribution to the specialty of palliative medicine within RACP, Australia and internationally. He was an early pioneer who led the development of specialty recognition of palliative medicine within the College. Will continued to support and nurture its development with commitments to training and advocacy within the College as well as other peak organisations in Queensland and Australia over decades. His influence is felt by every current and past specialist palliative medicine trainee and by the extremely large number of generalist medical practitioners who have been awarded the Clinical Diploma in Palliative Medicine by the RACP.

He is an energetic and effective advocate for palliative medicine in Australia. He has served on a large number of committees, many of which he has held leadership positions in the RACP, Australian and New Zealand Society for Palliative Medicine, Palliative Care Australia and Palliative Care Queensland. He was a powerful advocate while a full-time specialist in clinical palliative medicine in Townsville and now as the Queensland State-wide Clinical Lead for Care at the End of Life. His work has also supported rural and remote providers and leadership for cancer services more broadly as Clinical Director for Cancer Services in Northern Area Health Services Queensland and Clinical Director of Townsville Cancer Centre. He has been an appointed member on the Australian Medical Council working party to develop ‘Good Medical Practice: a code of conduct for doctors in Australia.’ He is currently the appointed Ambassador for Advance Care Planning Australia for the national Advance Care Planning week. He is widely published and is a man of great depth of thought and reflection.

Congratulations Will.

With kind regards,

Professor Greg Crawford
Australasian Chapter of Palliative Medicine

AChSHM President Report 

The AChSHM 2019 Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM) was held on Saturday, 16 March in Brisbane. The ASM was a huge success and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the Organising Committee for all their hard work preparing an engaging and topical program. Thank you to the team, which includes:

  • Dr Julian Langton-Lockton (Lead Convener)
  • Dr Darren Russell
  • Dr Manoji Gunathilake
  • Dr Caroline Thng
  • Dr Massimo Giola
  • Dr Simone Herbert.

The AChSHM Trainees’ Day was held the day after the ASM on Sunday, 17 March, and I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank Professor David Templeton and the Training Committee members for their enormous efforts to develop an engaging program with content tailored specifically to the needs of sexual health medicine trainees.

The Adolescent & Young Adult Medicine Committee are currently seeking expressions of interest (EOIs) for the position of AChSHM Representative. Interested Fellows should submit an EOI form and CV to

If you have any feedback or issues you would like to raise with the Committee, please don’t hesitate to contact us through our secretariat at

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

Register now – Adult Medicine Division Streams at RACP Congress 2019

We invite you to participate in the AMD streams at the RACP Congress 2019. This consists of the following sessions;

Monday, 6 May 2019
The search for value in what we do

Dr George Laking will be chairing this session, including presentations by Australian public health and infectious diseases physician Associate Professor Tilman Ruff and New Zealand renal and general physician Dr Curtis Walker.

This session aims to delve into the value in our practice, exploring the role of the professional organisation, equity and justice and the concept of value-based healthcare. 

More session details.

Tuesday, 7 May 2019
Transition from paediatric care into adult medicine

Dr Richard Sullivan will be chairing this session, facilitating presentations by Australian and New Zealand physicians: Dr Rachael Harry, Dr Fran Mouat and Dr Colette Muir.

The session aims to address the complexities around transitioning a patient from paediatric care to adult care. AMD combines with PCHD to bring expert presentations from the paediatric and adult medicine spheres to seek solutions on how to create a smooth process for patients, their carers and medical teams.

More session details.

Register now

Women in Medicine 

Tying into the Congress theme ‘Impacting health along the life course’ a dedicated Women in Medicine session will take place at RACP Congress on Wednesday, 8 May 2019. This session will focus on women across the course of RACP membership and the personal reflections of female physicians.

Hear from women at all different stages in their medical career; Basic Trainee, Advanced Trainee, new Fellow, established Fellow and a retiring Fellow. This session will encourage open discussion on the struggles and triumphs faced by women in medicine, and how we can work to overcome barriers for them in the workforce.

Register to attend RACP Congress 2019 and your attendance at this not to be missed session. 

Draft report of the Specialist and Consultant Physician Consultation Clinical Committee of the Medicare Benefits Schedule Review Taskforce

Members have recently expressed interest in the recommendations of the draft report of the Specialist and Consultant Physician Consultation Clinical Committee of the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) Review Taskforce. The full report is available on the Department of Health website. 

The recommendations in this report will have significant implications for the way specialist and consultant physicians work in the future. Accordingly, the RACP Policy and Advocacy team has been inviting member input through various channels and will be developing a submission. If you have any questions on the report or wish to share any thoughts, please email The external deadline for submissions is Friday, 17 May. Policy and Advocacy is planning on developing a draft response well in advance of this date to share with respondents.

The National Cancer Screening Register

The National Cancer Screening Register (the Register) is a national electronic infrastructure for the collection, storage and reporting of data for the National Cervical Screening Program (NCSP). From November 2019, the Register will begin supporting the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP), creating one record per participant for the two programs. From 2020, the Register will also feature integration with practice management software and online participant and healthcare provider portals.

More information is available on the Register website.

Funding available for women's leadership development 

Women & Leadership Australia is administering a national initiative to support the development of female leaders across Australia’s health care sector. 

The initiative is providing women with grants of between $3,000 and $7,000 to enable participation in a range of leadership development programs. 

The scholarship funding is provided with the specific intent of providing powerful and effective development opportunities for women in the health care sector; however the funding is strictly limited and has to be allocated prior to the end of this financial year.

Find out more and register your interest by completing the Expression of Interest form before Friday, 7 June.

Genomic medicine here to stay? Have your say.

Researchers from the Australian Genomics Health Alliance would like to hear from non-genetic medical specialists who work clinically in Australia.

They want to know about past, present and future aspects of genetics and health, including genomics in healthcare. It doesn't matter if you do or don’t know much about these areas, or don’t incorporate them into your practice at the moment.

By participating you will help shape future workforce practices and continuing education and training programs.

If you’re interested,  please complete this anonymous survey by Friday, 31 May 2019.

If you have any queries, please contact Dr Amy Nisselle, Specialist Project Officer, Australian Genomics Health Alliance at or +61 3 9936 6340.

This survey is an activity of the Workforce Development Program of the NHMRC funded Australian Genomics Health Alliance.

This survey has Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) approval, The University of Melbourne (1646785.8).

Preventing Overdiagnosis 2019 Conference 

The December conference in Sydney, Australia will include a number of lively plenary debates about controversial and timely issues, involving high-profile players from across the healthcare landscape. 

There will be parallel panel sessions covering themes such as genomics, commercial determinants of health, and overdiagnosis and the media. 

We're also pleased to share that RACP Fellows Professor Robyn Ward and Professor Rachelle Buchbinder will be presenting at this exciting event.

More information is available on the conference website.

Conferences and Events 

Medical Oncology Group of Australia’s 40th Anniversary ASM

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. 

Career Opportunities

A very busy established cardiology clinic at Wetherill park and Yagoona needs a part-time/full-time Cardiologist.

Fully equipped rooms with Philips products including Stress Echo, holter monitors and BP Monitor. We also have Cardiac Technicians and RNs to support your work.

Excellent income, our existing Cardiologists are booked for two months ahead.

Email your CV to

For further discussion call Dr George Al-Horani on 0477477477

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