The President's Message - 14 May 2015

14 May, 2015

The President's Message - 14 May 2015


On Tuesday evening, Treasurer Joe Hockey delivered the 2015–16 Australian Federal Budget. Health did not feature strongly in the government’s public focus, with a large number of the health related measures having been released earlier by the Minister for Health; although there is a frustrating lack of detail regarding the specifics.

The College welcomes some key measures including a rebooted eHealth system, the confirmation of core funding to the Aboriginal community controlled health sector and an increased focus on chronic disease management.

Of significant concern are the further cuts to the health budget – an additional $1.7bn on top of the slashed hospital funding last year. It also offers a further year of no investment in preventative health, with no measures to address the significant and irrefutable harms caused by alcohol. Indeed, the College questions the government’s continued failure to address the tax loophole for wine, which sees them forego an estimated $1.3bn – while cutting health expenditure.

The College is pleased to see the inclusion of the Specialist Training Program in the forward estimates, and looks forward to our engagement with the proposed reviews of the program to ensure it continues to meet the future health workforce needs across Australia.

Laureate Professor Nicholas Talley
President, RACP



The College Trainees’ Committee (CTC), Chaired by Dr Alexandra Greig, is the peak College body representing the interests of trainees and has 16 representatives from our Divisions, Faculties and regional Trainees Committees’ throughout Australia and New Zealand. The CTC champions the trainee perspective, ensures the trainee voice is heard in matters relating to their  education experience;  and makes recommendations regarding policy relating to Trainees including education, training, and support for trainees.

A number of key priorities have been identified by the CTC including:

  • improving communication with trainees, including the development of a Trainee Communications Strategy;
  • continued advocacy on behalf of trainees, in areas such as soft funding for paediatric positions, Selection into Training, capacity to train, the review of the accreditation of training sites and academic pathways that integrate training and research, through regular liaison with relevant key stakeholders and submissions to College committees;
  • ensuring that on entry to the College and at key transition points, trainees have the right information and support;
  • embedding Annual Trainees’ Day as part of the RACP Congress; and
  • advocating for the health and wellbeing of doctors.

The Committee is currently involved in a number of activities including:

  • introduction of a standardised Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) application assessment fee; 
  • introduction of the Basic Trainee orientation rolled out in March 2015; and development of Advanced Training Orientation and Future Fellows Forums. Ongoing consultation is taking place with the education and regional teams within the College to ensure a coordinated approach, with initial events scheduled for delivery across Australia and New Zealand in the final quarter of 2015;
  • ·ongoing advocacy in relation to the health and wellbeing of doctors and continued liaison with other College bodies to support and implement activities that promote health and wellbeing in training and beyond; and
  • involvement in a number of College initiatives including:
    • EVOLVE - a process of identifying and better targeting low value medical intervention with the aim of promoting best practice patient care and reducing waste in the health system
    • Workforce Working Party - looking at the role of physicians, workforce planning and forward planning.

An important initiative led by the CTC and the New Zealand Trainees Committee was the delivery of the inaugural Trainees’ Day held alongside Congress in May 2014 in New Zealand. This was a fantastic event which brought together trainees to  network with their peers, deepen professional skills such as breaking bad news and cultural competency and to focus on how they could look after themselves through developing skills in mindfulness. The second annual Trainees’ Day is scheduled for Sunday, 24 May 2015 in Cairns. This will be a fantastic event with great speakers and opportunities to network with other trainees. Topics include Refugee Health, how to get published and professionalism amongst many others. The CTC would encourage you all to attend what should be a great day!

The CTC is always interested in hearing the views of their colleagues and can be contacted at An Expression of Interest process will be advertised shortly to fill vacant positions on the Committee. Interested trainees from Australia and New Zealand are encouraged to apply.


Fellow and Trainee Members are encouraged to register for a special workshop to discuss College Reform.

The workshop, titled ‘Medicis & temporum – Honouring Our Past and Embracing the Future' will outline the Board’s plan to reinvigorate the College to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing environment for physicians.

The presentation will look at the history of the College and how it has evolved over the past 85 years to become one of the world’s preeminent medical institutions. Workshop delegates will also review plans to place the needs of members at the centre of the College’s work, including the creation of a new Council of specialties to advise a more focussed, streamlined Board.

I welcome your participation at this free workshop on Tuesday, 26 May 2015 from 7.00am to 8.30am.

Please register online to attend. 



There is less than two weeks to go to RACP Congress 2015. To complement an already dynamic program, a number of new workshops and presentations have recently been announced. 
These include:

  • RACP Governance Breakfast – Presented by Laureate Professor Nicholas Talley
  • Physician career and transitions forum – Presented by Professor Richard Doherty
  • Clinical leadership: Physicians of the future workshop – Facilitated by Associate Professor Grant Phelps and Dr Sarah Dalton
  • Medical Marijuana for the treatment of children with epilepsy – Presented by Mr Terry Roycroft (Canada)

Don’t miss this opportunity to ‘break boundaries and create connections’ with more than 700 of your colleagues who have already registered to attend.

Register by Friday, 22 May 2015.



The May issue of the Internal Medicine Journal is now available online. Key articles include:

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Familial colorectal cancer
  • Colonoscopy in young women
  • SNAPSHOT acute coronary syndrome audit
  • Infection prevention practices in aged-care facilities


EOI: Practice Review Support Working Group, one additional Australian member, closes 15 May 2015 
The Practice Review Support Working Group (the Working Group) was established primarily to promote practical and useful frameworks for regular practice review (RPR).

RPR is being trialled in New Zealand and the Working Group includes strong New Zealand representation. As the Working Group is planning Australian trials of RPR in the future, it is broadening its Australian representation through seeking a nomination for an additional Australian member.

Nominees should be Fellows with experience in the development, implementation and review of performance/practice review processes (even if at the local level) and/or an interest in developing an effective framework (including processes, information and tools) to promote practice audit and review in Australia. The College is keen to ensure that practice review is flexible, valuable and designed to fulfil as many of a physician’s audit and review requirements as possible.

The group may meet up to six times a year via teleconference and a maximum of twice a year face to face.

For any questions please contact Michael Pooley on (02) 8247 6203 or

Expressions of interest (including your CV) should be sent to by close of business on Friday, 15 May.

EOI: Continuing Professional Development Committee Fellow and Advanced Trainee positions, closes 22 May 2015
Expressions of Interest are sought for two positions on the Continuing Professional Development Committee (CPDC):

  • One Fellow representative
  • One Advanced Trainee representative

The CPDC is responsible for working with RACP management to ensure the College’s CPD program meets the needs of the Fellowship. The primary responsibilities of the Committee include reviewing and approving minor changes to the College’s CPD program, recommending major changes to the College Education Committee, monitoring issues arising from CPD participation and facilitating peer review of learning resources.

The Advanced Trainee representative is a new position created to improve CPD support during admission to Fellowship and consider trainee access to the CPD program.

The CPDC is supported by the CPD Unit within the Office of the Dean.

Expressions of interest are requested by Friday, 22 May 2015. For more information, please contact the CPD Unit at

EOI: Medsafe Medicines Assessment Advisory Committee (MAAC), closes 29 May 2015
The MAAC provides advice to the Minister of Health on the benefits and risks of new medicines. The advice provided by the MAAC is an important component of the regulatory framework for safeguarding public health in New Zealand. 
Applications are being sought from candidates with substantial clinical experience and national credibility in:

  • general practice
  • specialist fields (for example cardiology, dermatology, geriatrics, neurology, psychiatry and women’s health).

Candidates applying for appointment should also be familiar with the purpose and scope of the Medicines Act 1981.

Appointments to the MAAC are made by the Minister of Health for a term of three years. 
Further information about the MAAC is available from the Medsafe website.

To be considered for appointment to the MAAC, application forms can be accessed through the above link, please submit your application form, together with your current curriculum vitae, by Friday, 29 May 2015 to:  
MAAC Secretary 
PO Box 5013 

Or email

Expressions of Interest (EOI): Grants Advisory Committee, closes 1 June 2015
Expressions of Interest are invited from Fellows to become members of the Grants Advisory Committee (GAC).
The Grants Advisory Committee is a skills based committee established to:

  • review applications for the RACP Foundation Awards and determine recipients;
  • consider and review Awards to fulfil strategic objectives across the College;
  • determine annually, the number and value of awards to be offered in the next year to support medical research and educational initiatives;
  • work with other appropriate College bodies to support the purposes of the College Research Committee and the Grants Advisory Committee.

Successful candidates must be available to meet on Monday, 26 and Tuesday, 27 October 2015 for the purpose of determining recipients of Awards for 2016.

The GAC may meet twice a year face-to-face and via tele/videoconference as required.

For a copy of the Grants Advisory Committee By-Laws and an EOI Application form please contact

Submissions must be received by COB Monday, 1 June 2015.



Australian Centre for Health Law Research Public Lecture, 18 May 2015, Brisbane
In this presentation Professor Savulescu will first set out the principles that should underlie resource allocation in a public health system. He reviews arguments for and against rationing. In the second half of the presentation Professor Savulescu will use existing cost effectiveness thresholds to shed light on the question of medical futility in intensive care. 
Venue: Gibson Room, Level 10, Z Block QUT Gardens, Point Campus, 2 George Street, Brisbane.
Date: Monday, 18 May 2015
Time: 6.00pm to 7.00pm with light refreshments from 5.30pm
Registration: Please visit the event website

Registrations extended: RACP Congress 2015, 24 to 27 May 2015, Cairns 
Congress 2015 Breaking Boundaries Creating Connections promises to deliver a diverse and thought provoking program with opportunities to interact, debate and connect, all while earning CPD points and enjoying one of the most picturesque tropical locations Australia has to offer.

A number of world-leading international and local speakers will bring a spectrum of experiences and angles for debate on often complex and polarising topics:

  • Dr Catherine Yelland PSM – the Ageing Physician and Competence  
  • Dr David Levitt and Dr Grant Ferguson – Ethics of Providing Paediatric Care in Detention
  • Dr Steve Bolsin – Changing the Behaviour of Doctors (Ferguson-Glass Oration)
  • Associate Professor James Ward – A Forgotten Epidemic: sexually transmissible infections and blood borne viruses among the first peoples of Australia (Cottrell Memorial Lecture)
  • Professor John Whitehall – Neonate and rural health (Howard Williams Oration)
  • Mr Paris Aristotle – Refugee Health: the impact for physicians (Plenary Address)

Pre-conference events include the AFOEM Annual Training Meeting, RACP Trainees’ Day, a supervisor workshop and the Chapter of Community Child Health Satellite Day.

Register now

Management for Clinicians Course, 2 to 3 June 2015, Auckland
A two day program aimed at medical practitioners who are involved or interested in leadership and management in a health care setting.
Venue: Langham Hotel, Auckland, New Zealand
Date: Tuesday, 2 June and Wednesday, 3 June 2015
Registration and information available here.

The ANZ Society of the History of Medicine 14th Biennial Conference - Missions, Methods and Management, 30 June to 4 July 2015, Sydney
Joint delegates for lectures by distinguished international and local speakers, attend a witness seminar focusing on changes in the administration of health services over the past 50 years, and hear researchers present their original work.
Venue: Australian Catholic University, North Sydney
Date: Tuesday, 30 June to Saturday, 4 July
Registration: Please visit the ANZSHOM Conference website.



Applications now open for 2016 Research Awards 
I am pleased to announce on behalf of the RACP Foundation that awards in the following Award categories are now being offered to Fellow and Trainee Members.

Research Development Scholarships providing funding for smaller projects.
Research Entry Scholarships to assist Fellows and trainees at the start of their research career and who are enrolled in a Masters, PhD or higher research degree.
Research Establishment Fellowships available to Fellows and trainees who wish to establish themselves in a research career.
Career Development Fellowships for Fellows who are established researchers.
Travel Grants to support short periods of research or study.

There are multiple awards available in each category.

Visit the RACP Foundation website for full details including:

  • Closing dates
  • Eligibility
  • New Online application system
  • Award Terms and Conditions

For any queries contact

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