The President's Message - 14 August 2015

Board meeting

The College Board discussed a range of College matters when it met on Thursday, 23 and Friday, 24 July.

In response to the establishment of the MBS Review Taskforce earlier this year, the Board has created a College Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) Review Working Party to coordinate a consistent strategic response to developing issues which may require a policy response. Expressions of Interest (EOIs) are now open for this Working Party, advertised in the EOI section below in this eBulletin.

Many of our Fellows and trainees are involved in important voluntary or philanthropic work in developing countries. To acknowledge this vital work, the Board has launched a new RACP International Medal. Further details about the award and how to apply or nominate a colleague can be found in this eBulletin.

The next full Board Meeting will be held on Friday, 25 September 2015 in Melbourne, following the inaugural College Council Meeting on Thursday, 24 September 2015.

Working Party on Climate Change and Health

The College is committed to leadership on the health impacts of climate change. Our newly-formed Working Party on Climate Change and Health held its first meeting last week.

The Working Party will lead the College’s advocacy campaign in the lead up to the UN Convention on Climate Change (COP21) in November. The College intends to make 12 October a ‘Day of Global Action’ highlighting the health impacts of climate change. Engagement and collaboration is being sought from Australasian medical Colleges, Special Societies, as well as medical Colleges from around the world for a Global Consensus Statement on the need to act to combat the negative health impacts of Climate Change.

An online campaign is being developed to garner the support of medical professionals around the world to add their voice to the call for leaders to take action to mitigate against the impacts of Climate Change.

"College Message"

As specialties develop and the health landscape continues to diversify, the College needs to continually review and redefine its purpose and how we express this to members, consumers, regulators, governments, the media, other Colleges and all stakeholders.

The College is undertaking an in-depth research project to review perceptions of the role and function of the College in an ever-changing environment, and to help refine a clear set of messages which enhance communications with all stakeholders and strengthen the College’s position and reputation into the future. 

Part of this work will be a membership satisfaction survey, which will be distributed via email to all Fellow and Trainee Members next week. Please watch for this in your inbox, and take a few minutes to complete and submit this short survey to assist us in improving our membership services, and enhance your engagement with the College.

College Council EOIs

The closing date for the submission of Expressions of Interest for positions on the College Council has now passed. I thank all Fellows and members who have taken the time to put themselves forward and offer their service to the College.

Representatives for Council are currently being finalised by the respective College bodies and will be confirmed shortly.

State Committees

In this eBulletin, the important work of our State Committees is highlighted. Our large and diverse College incorporates Fellows and trainees from a vast geographic region, spread across both Australia and New Zealand.

The RACP relies heavily on our State and Territories Committees, who support and drive many regional activities, and use their local expertise to advise and influence local health authorities and other key stakeholders on matters of regional policy and advocacy. These committees, supported by regional staff, form a vital link for the College to engage with and support members at a local level.

The activities of our Victorian State Committee are highlighted below.

Laureate Professor Nicholas Talley
RACP President

Spotlight on the Victorian State Committee

The College incorporates Fellows and trainees from a vast geographic region, spread across both Australia and New Zealand. To ensure access to localised support, the College has a New Zealand office, as well as state offices in NSW, QLD, SA, WA and VIC with outreach to ACT, NT and Tasmania.

Each office fosters relationships with local health authorities and other key stakeholders and provides office and meeting facilities to committees and sub-groups of the College, as well as administrative and secretariat support to regional committees and working groups.

The Member Support Officer (MSO) in each region provides ‘on the ground’ support and facilitates implementation of all the RACP education programs, with a particular focus on the PREP Basic, Advanced, Chapter and Faculty Training programs. MSOs also provide onsite support for supervisors and trainees at metropolitan and regional hospital locations and at their places of work.

We encourage all Fellows and trainees to make use of this local expertise, or consider an active role and become more involved with the College at the regional level. Our State Committees make a significant local impact as well as being a vital conduit to raise issues and provide feedback to the College Council and Board.

Contacts for all the College’s state and regional offices can be found here.  

Victorian State Committee

Of the Victorian State Committee’s (VSC) ten members, four are elected and nominated by various College bodies, including PCHDC, AFOEM, AFRM, AFPHM, AChAM, and a trainee member. Members represent a range of specialties working in public and private settings in a range of metropolitan and non-metropolitan locations.

The VSC is a Board Committee and has two sub-committees reporting in to it: the Victorian Tasmanian Education Committee (VTEC) which runs a number of educational workshops and events for both trainees and Fellows, and the Victorian Tasmanian Trainees Committee (VTTC), which gives voice to the region’s trainees on local education and training issues. The VTTC also provide valuable input, advice and assistance around trainee events such as the Trainee Research Awards for Excellence.

Major achievement

The VSC also oversees the Victorian Dual Training Working Group (VDTWG). In 2014, the VSC established the Working Group to assist and facilitate the local implementation and monitoring of a Victorian dual training program, based on the successful 2013 New South Wales pilot program.

The goal of the program is to encourage trainees to work in regional centres following their physician training, providing valuable experience for trainees and increasing the physician workforce and healthcare capacity in Victoria’s rural areas. As part of the program, two core years of General and Acute Care Medicine training take place in a regional setting, with the training in the other chosen specialty to be completed in a metropolitan setting.

Through discussions with the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the VDTWG secured funding for two new positions. Proposals from rural health services were submitted via an Expression of Interest process, which led to the selection of two new positions to commence in 2016. The two positions will be:

  • Goulburn Valley Health, Shepparton (General and Acute Care Medicine and Endocrinology)
  • Bendigo Health, Bendigo (General and Acute Care Medicine and Gastroenterology)

The VDTWG is now working with the Victorian DHHS to secure funding for additional position(s) to start in 2017.

For further information about the Victorian dual training program, please email racpvic@racp.edu.au.

Member events and workshops

The VSC has ownership of a number of events focused on developing and broadening the knowledge of local members. The Physician Education Program Lecture Series is a series of 135 lectures delivered over 45 evenings on Thursdays, from 6.30pm to 9pm AEST. The lectures cover topics for Basic Trainees wishing to sit the FRACP written examination, as well as contemporary topics for RACP Fellows.

The Continuing Education and Paediatric Further Education and Training (Vic FEAT) workshops are also a valuable source of information for members including news and updates.

In addition to educational events, the Committee is also responsible for a number of member events such as the annual Victorian Trainee Research Awards for Excellence, which provides a forum for trainees to present their research and expand their professional networks.

Policy and advocacy

One of the larger roles the VSC undertakes is to advocate on behalf of local members to government, health departments, and other stakeholders.  Taking an active lead on advocacy issues, the VSC has recently  provided expert opinion on a number of issues, including; supervision competency materials, end-of-life choices, the Healthy Together Victoria program, consortia training models, and the Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry.

RACP International Medal

The RACP International Medal is a new initiative to recognise the significant contributions made by Fellows or trainees who are either resident or undertake voluntary or philanthropic work in developing countries.

Members of the RACP are invited to nominate a Fellow or trainee to be recognised for their contribution to improving the welfare of communities in disadvantaged areas.

Award of the medal will be based on the nominee’s clinical and public service contribution, their promotion, collaboration and advocacy of health improvements, and their commitment to education and training, either in a developing country, or working for an international aid agency overseas as outlined in the full eligibility and requirements.

For more information on the International Medal and to download the nomination form, visit the RACP Foundation webpage. 

The Future for Clinical Practice Guidelines

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (the Commission) and the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) are seeking to develop a coherent national approach to the selection and development of clinical practice guidelines in Australia.

As part of this joint work, the Commission has undertaken to establish a prioritised list of topics for clinical practice guideline development. This initial list of priority topics takes into  account considerations such as burden of disease, National Health Priority Areas and expiring or soon-to-expire NHMRC-endorsed clinical practice guidelines.

The Commission will be consulting with individuals and organisations through an online survey to gather feedback, comment and input regarding this work.

The Commission is also hosting a series of consultation events on the initial prioritised list of topics, and the possible model for the nomination and assessment of topics for clinical practice guideline development.

The consultation will include four events in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth held from August to September 2015. For further details and to register to attend, please see the event registration website
 
Further information on the consultation is available on the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care website. The contact for this project is Dr Niall Johnson, phone +61 2 9126 3537, or email niall.johnson@safetyandquality.gov.au.

Trainee Research Awards for Excellence

The RACP Trainee Research Awards for Excellence are funded by donations received from Fellows and trainees and identify and acknowledge the best trainee research presentations in the fields of adult medicine and paediatric medicine.

Each region, and New Zealand, hosts an event in the Awards and a representative from each is selected to present their research at RACP Congress.

Fourteen regional representatives from the 2014 Awards had the opportunity to present their research at RACP Congress 2015 Breaking Boundaries Creating Connections. There were eight regional representatives from the field of Adult Medicine and six from the field of Paediatrics and Child Health.

Abstracts are now open for the 2015 Awards. Eligible trainees are able to submit abstracts across the fields of adult medicine or paediatric medicine.

Research on Perceptions of Weight-Related Disorders

Fellows and trainees are invited to participate in an external online survey regarding knowledge and perceptions of weight-related disorders.

This study aims to establish a baseline of knowledge and perceptions that medical professionals, including physicians, hold in regards to weight-related disorders. The purpose of the study is to explore both strengths and limitations in current knowledge to inform ongoing education and policy. The data will be used to better support medical professionals when treating weight-related disorders.

Survey participation is voluntary, anonymous, and completed on an opt-in basis. The survey takes approximately 15 minutes to complete.  Participants go into the draw to win one of two double Gold Class cinema tickets.


Please direct any questions to bcain@student.unimelb.edu.au.

Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital Alumni

In preparations for celebrations of Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital’s (RBWH) 150 year anniversary in 2017, RBWH Foundation has launched the Royal Alumni in order to connect with people who have worked at the General and Women’s Hospitals on the Herston campus since it opened in 1867.

Open to all who trained, worked or currently work at what is now known as RBWH, Royal Alumni aims to connect members on a professional, academic and social basis.

Benefits of joining the Royal Alumni include exclusive access to updates on ground-breaking research being conducted on campus, hospital tours, and the opportunity to reconnect with old friends and colleagues through an online message board and member directory.  Members will also be kept up to date on all the Anniversary celebrations.

Membership is free. Join online at www.rbwhfoundation.com.au, or by calling +61 7 3646 7588.

Expressions of Interest

EOI: NSW Immunoglobulin User Group (IUG)

Applications are invited from Fellows and trainees who are interested in representing the College at the NSW Immunoglobulin User Group (IUG).

The NSW IUG is responsible for providing expert advice to the NSW Blood & Blood Product Governance Committee and the NSW Ministry of Health on issues relating to the treatment of patients with immunoglobulins. The IUG is mainly comprised of clinicians with expertise in the management of patients requiring immunoglobulins for treating certain haematological and immunological conditions. Further information is available in the Terms of Reference.

The term of this appointment is for two years. Please note this is a self-funded appointment.

EOI: Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) Review Working Party

Applications are invited from Fellows and trainees who are interested in joining the College Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) Review Working Party.

The College Board has established this MBS Review Working Party, to coordinate a consistent strategic response to the policy issues arising from the MBS Review Taskforce. Please see the Terms of Reference for further information.

The MBS Review Working Party will consider the findings and recommendations of the government-established MBS Review Taskforce and coordinate and consult across the College and with other relevant stakeholders in developing a strategic response.

The Working Party will also develop communication and engagement strategies to address this issue, including representing the College at events and recommending the appointment of College representatives to relevant committees or meetings. 

If you are interested in joining, please send a completed EOI application form and CV to racpconsult@racp.edu.au by 5pm, Thursday 20 August 2015. If you have any questions regarding this matter, please contact racpconsult@racp.edu.au.

EOI: National Forum - Implementation of the National Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy

Applications are invited from Fellows and trainees who are interested in representing the College at the National Forum - Implementation of the National Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy on Tuesday, 17 November 2015 in Canberra.

Following the recent release of Australia’s First National Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy, efforts are now being focused on the development of a detailed implementation plan. Implementation of the Strategy is a shared responsibility and requires support and commitment from stakeholders across all sectors and from all levels of government.  

Conferences and Events

RACP Awards

Nominations now open for:

The John Sands College Medal, presented to a Fellow in recognition of a significant contribution to the welfare of the College.

RACP Medal for Clinical Service in Rural & Remote Areas, presented in recognition of outstanding clinical service in rural and remote areas of Australia and New Zealand.

Nominations are still open for:

The Eric Susman Prize 2015
RACP Mentor of the Year 2016
RACP Trainee of the Year 2016

Please visit the RACP Foundation website for further details about each award and to download nomination forms.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) Medicine Shortages Information Initiative

Shortages of common medicines can impact patients, health professionals and put pressure on the availability of alternatives. The TGA’s Medicine Shortages Information Initiative provides health professionals, consumers and industry with up-to-date information on shortages of prescription medicines in Australia, including current drug shortages, anticipated shortages, resolved shortages and discontinuations of drug products.

A shortage occurs when the consumer demand for a medicine exceeds the supply. The causes can be wide-ranging and occur anywhere along the supply chain. To receive updated medicine shortages information from the TGA, please subscribe to the alert service at https://www.tga.gov.au/medicine-shortages-alert-service.

Medicines Safety Update - August 2015

The TGA recently published the August 2015 issue of Medicines Safety Update. The publication can be found on the TGA website.

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