The President's Message - 17 July 2015

Business as Usual

Our busy and vibrant College continues with its daily business as usual. Committees are actively working on a range of issues and initiatives and making weekly progress. In this e-Bulletin I have highlighted some of the work taking place in the areas of Workforce Planning, advocacy, and with our Fellows and trainees in New Zealand.

Workforce Working Party

Our Board led Workforce Working Party, led by Board Director Dr Nick Buckmaster, has been examining the issues surrounding the role of physicians, workforce planning and forward planning.

The Working Party is currently developing a Horizons paper on the physician workforce, which will explore likely trends and drivers influencing physician supply and demand, the role of the College in workplace planning and possible levers to influence workforce trends, and mechanisms for assessing and monitoring workforce supply and demand.

We look forward to the completion of this report and sharing the results and findings with the membership of the College. We would like to invite all Fellows and trainees to engage and participate in these discussions once the report is finalised. In the meantime, Dr Buckmaster has posed the very interesting question, ‘how much should our college try to influence the numbers of trainees within advanced training programs in Australasia?’ on the new Our College website for discussion. You can be involved and contribute to the debate here. It is an important subject for all physicians and I urge everyone to be involved in this discussion.

New Zealand activities

The College’s vibrant and active New Zealand Committees have been busy working on a number of issues key to New Zealand. In the forthcoming edition of RACP News is an article highlighting the work of the New Zealand Paediatric and Child Health Division Committee to action removal of high sugar sports, energy and soft drinks and limit their availability to children in NZ hospitals.

In recent months the Policy and Advocacy Committee have been actively contributing to a number of submissions on obesity and childhood obesity and work continues on many other New Zealand Committees of the College to support the work of physicians across the nation.

April 2015 saw the inaugural meeting of the Pacific Working Group (PWG), which is developing a plan to support physicians working in the Pacific. Please see the article below about a forthcoming vacancy in the region and the work of this important group.

Doctors against the Border Force Act

I commend the ongoing efforts of our Fellows and trainees in speaking out on the Federal Government’s new Border Force Act, and those who took time to protest at events in major cities around the country at the weekend. Physicians and other health professionals must be allowed to advocate for their patients as a basic duty of care.

Fellows of the College Dr David Isaacs and Dr Peter Young, both experienced in the care of refugees in detention centres, have been vocal in their opposition to this Act, and the College applauds them for keeping this issue in the media’s focus. The College will continue to argue there is no justification for this secrecy.

MyCPD

MyCPD is designed to be a flexible reporting tool and repository of evidence of continuing professional development (CPD) participation. I hope that Fellows have been enjoying the new improvements to the MyCPD program, including the convenience of being able to access and make additions and amendments on mobile devices.

This year the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) has been auditing continuing professional development, selecting practitioners at random to demonstrate that they are meeting the continuing professional development standards of their colleges. Over 97% of RACP Fellows participating in MyCPD successfully completed the 2014 program.

This new AHPRA process has been unexpected by some Fellows, but the CPD Unit in the College has been able to help them meet requirements. As both the College and AHPRA are now auditing a random selection of Fellows, it is possible that a Fellow may be selected for audit twice. Fellows can be assured that if their CPD is audited by the College, AHPRA will accept a letter of successful audit as fulfilment of its audit requirements, and vice versa.

For more info on MyCPD, please visit the College website here.

Yours sincerely, Laureate Professor Nick Talley

Dual Training Pathways to commence in regional Victoria in 2016

Supported by the Victorian Department of Health, the College’s Victorian Dual Training Working Group is delighted to announce two new dual training positions to commence in 2016.

Regional dual training serves two important functions:

  • to provide rural communities with opportunities to better access specialist care
  • to provide trainees with the opportunity to train concurrently in two specialties and experience a wide range of challenging clinical scenarios in a regional healthcare environment.

The primary goal of the dual training program is to encourage trainees to continue to work in regional centres following their physician training, consequently increasing the physician workforce and healthcare capacity in Victorian rural areas.

The NSW Dual Training pilot program was initiated in 2014 with trainees in Dubbo and Orange. Both programs ran successfully over their first year and a subsequent trainee has begun in Dubbo for 2015.

Following on from the establishment of the program in NSW, a working party of the Victorian State Committee has conducted an application and selection process and chosen two health services for the launch of the Victorian program. The College is pleased to announce these two new dual training positions for 2016 based in regional Victoria at Bendigo Health and Goulburn Valley Health Services. The dual training positions will be in General and Acute Care Medicine and Gastroenterology, and General and Acute Care Medicine and Endocrinology, respectively.

The positions are supported by structured, accredited four-year training pathways. Successful applicants will be based in Bendigo or Shepparton for the General and Acute Care Medicine training, with training in the other specialty to be undertaken at one or more metropolitan units accredited in Gastroenterology or Endocrinology.

The positions would suit trainees who are keen to expand their knowledge, skills and expertise to manage a wide range of challenging clinical scenarios, as well as begin to build their careers in regional Victoria. Both positions will be advertised by the respective Health Services over the coming months.

The Victorian working group will work with the Victorian Department of Health throughout the second half of 2015 to secure funding for additional position(s) to start in 2017.  Further information on the 2017 positions, including the recruitment and expression of interest process, will be available in the near future.

For further information on the program please contact Fiona Hilton, Dual Training Project Manager on (03) 9927 7708 or email Fiona.Hilton@racp.edu.au.

Openings available for trainees on the College Trainees’ Committee

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 is focused on a number of priorities, 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
  • ongoing development and implementation of trainee orientation days
  • embedding Annual Trainees’ Day as part of the RACP Congress
  • advocating for the health and wellbeing of doctors. 

The CTC champions the trainee perspective and ensures the trainee voice is heard across our College.

Due to a number of representatives finishing their training, the CTC is seeking applicants for representative positions from NSW (PCHD or Faculty), NT, a representative who identifies as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, and a trainee who completed their primary medical degree in a country other than Australia or New Zealand.

Being a part of the Trainees’ Committee provides a unique opportunity to engage with the College and represent the needs and voice of trainees on key matters such as selection into training, assessment and overall education.

Further details on the available positions can be found under Expressions of Interest in this e-Bulletin. Trainees who are interested in applying for membership of the CTC are invited to submit their Expression of Interest form by 5.00pm (AEST) Friday, 31 July 2015.  More information about the CTC including the by-laws of the Committee can be found here.

Please email your completed EOI form and CV to TraineesCommittee@racp.edu.au, or contact Chanelle Lim for further information.

Fiji National University Physician Role

One of the important activities that the College’s Fellowship Committee has progressed in recent months has been the creation of the International Strategy Working Group (ISWG) and the Pacific Working Group (PWG). The ISWG will be vital in determining the College’s strategic framework for international development and collaboration opportunities in and beyond the Asia Pacific region.  Reporting to the ISWG, one area of focus for the PWG will be closer to home in determining how it can better support Fellow and Trainee Members currently working in, or interested in working in the near Pacific.

A valuable opportunity is currently open for a consultant physician and university teacher in Fiji, with the Fiji National University in Suva. The College urges Fellows to consider if they or their departments are able to support secondments such as these in order for us to support physician practise in the Pacific.

The Fiji School of Medicine (FSMed) has been producing medical graduates for Pacific Island Countries for over 120 years; in the last five years this has been as the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences (CMNHS) at the Fiji National University (FNU).  Post-graduate courses in Internal Medicine (and most other specialties) have been developed more recently to train specialists for the region. Opportunities exist for FRACPs to work with the local physicians in Suva, the capital of Fiji, in the Department of Medicine at the CMNHS.

The work is extremely rewarding, involving teaching and examining both postgraduate (Masters) and undergraduate (MBBS) students and assisting with the development of curricula.

The clinical work entails sharing the ‘School Team’ roster of ward service at the main tertiary referral hospital in Fiji, the Colonial War Memorial Hospital (where there are up to six other medical teams) equating to two to three months ward service per year for a full-timer. There are many other opportunities to contribute, such as Fiji Ministry of Health committee membership (e.g. infection prevention and control), membership of national guideline writing committees (local guidelines similar to the Australian Therapeutic Guidelines but tailored to the Pacific), presentations at local medical symposia and conferences and research.

Employment will be through the Fiji National University; the academic level of appointment will depend on experience and qualifications. Ideally an appointment would be for a minimum of one to two years. FNU will assist with relocation for international candidates and their families.

The clinical medicine is busy and fascinating and the teaching varied and stimulating. Fiji is a safe and sociable place for families and there is an International School located in Suva. There is ample opportunity to enjoy Fiji’s non-medical attractions most particularly the tropical sunshine and the sea.

For more information regarding both the position itself and the experience of relocating to Suva (Drs Jenney and Drake are both Melbourne-based physicians on a two year contract with FNU).  Please feel free to get in contact by either email or telephone.

Joji Malani FRACP, jioji.malani@fnu.ac.fj, (Postgraduate Programme Coordinator)
Adam Jenney FRACP, adam.jenney@fnu.ac.fj, +679 9969140
Anne Drake FRACP, anne.drake@fnu.ac.fj , +679 9074065

Grants Program for trainees

The MIGA Doctors in Training (DIT) Grants Program is now in its eighth year. The continuing theme of the Program is ‘Supporting skills development amongst doctors in training’, and the Grants Program aims to achieve the following objectives:

  • promote the development of medical expertise amongst doctors practising in Australia
  • assist the proliferation of enhanced clinical skills across Australia to improve the standard of care available for patients
  • ease the financial burden on doctors seeking to undertake additional training.

The Program is open to doctors in training who are in their 1st to 5th postgraduate year, or who are enrolled in an accredited program or have completed their accredited training program within the last two years. Where applicable, the intended training must be beyond the scope of training prescribed through the College.

The College wholeheartedly endorses that trainees take advantage of opportunities to further their skill set through programs such as this, and think about furthering their skills through research, travel or placements which will give them unique and irreplaceable experience and training.

Examples of training opportunities eligible for Grants include:

  • postgraduate study
  • specialised fellowships
  • placements with volunteer organisations
  • indigenous community placements
  • research in a specific area of medicine
  • other advanced training outside of an accredited College or Society program.

Four individual DIT Grants are available, to the value of $5000 each, to assist in covering the costs incurred by the doctor in funding their training opportunity. This may include travel, accommodation, program fees and other expenses.

For more information, please visit www.miga.com.au. Applications close on Friday, 6 November 2015.

Expressions of Interest

EOI: Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (The Commission) Expert Advisory Group on Hospital Patient Experience Measurement – closes Friday, 24 July 2015

The Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council has asked that a new non-proprietary set of patient experience questions be developed for nationally consistent measurement of hospital overnight admitted patients. The Commission is developing this set of questions and is also developing a related tool for use with day procedure patients. The Expert Advisory Group will provide subject matter, technical, and implementation advice and guidance on the development of these two measurement tools. Membership of the Group will include practising clinicians, consumer representatives, technical and subject matter experts, hospital administrators, state/territory government representatives, and representatives of relevant Commonwealth agencies.

 The College has been invited to nominate a physician representative to the Expert Advisory Group on Hospital Patient Experience Measurement. The physician representative should be a practising clinician (at least part time, even if also undertaking a management role) in order to provide advice on the likely implementation challenges and practical usefulness (for quality improvement purposes), of proposed questions to measure patient experience.

The term of this appointment is for one year from the date of the first meeting. There will be four meetings over 12 months, with the first meeting towards the end of August (date to be confirmed). For further information see the EOI application form.

If you are interested in being nominated to this advisory group, please send your completed EOI application form and CV to racpconsult@racp.edu.au by 12.00pm Thursday, 23 July 2015.

 

EOI: Consumer Engagement Project Steering Group – closes Friday, 24 July 2015

The College is seeking nominations from Australian and New Zealand Fellows to join the Consumer Engagement Project Steering Group.  College Education Committee experience and/or education expertise is required. 

What is the Consumer Engagement Project?

The Consumer Engagement Project is a collaborative project with a leading consumer body to develop recommendations and strategies to improve how the College engages with health care consumers. The project has a focus on strengthening consumer input to College governance, education and policy activities.

What is the role of the steering group and the time commitment involved?

The Project Steering Group is responsible for providing expert advice and direction to the Project Team over the course of the Consumer Engagement Project (July 2015 – May 2016). The Group will meet face-to-face in Sydney and by videoconference three times over the course of the project (project initiation, mid-point review and end of project). Members may also be asked to review written materials out of session. 

How do I register my interest?

To submit an Expression of Interest, please send a copy of your curriculum vitae and a brief statement outlining how your knowledge, qualifications and experience will contribute to the Consumer Engagement Project Steering Group to RACP Research Officer, Rebecca Paton at evaluation@racp.edu.au

All EOIs must be received by COB Friday 24 July 2015.

EOI: College Council – closes Sunday, 26 July 2015

Expressions of Interest are now open for College members interested in sitting on our inaugural College Council.

The new 50 member College Council is an opportunity for specialty societies, regional committees and all RACP specialty education pathways to lead the College in important new ways – in advocacy, training and College work.

It will include:

  • a representative from each of the 25 identified Education Pathways (including Chapters) within the College. Some Education Pathways are associated with more than one Specialty Society, but will have one representative.
  • a Fellow or trainee appointed by each RACP Division and Faculty
  • a Fellow or trainee appointed by each of the seven Australian Regional Committees
  • a Fellow or trainee appointed by the New Zealand Committee
  • two trainees appointed by the College Trainees’ Committee

The first meeting of the new College Council will be held on 24 September in Melbourne.

You can download the Expression of Interest form here and send through to council@racp.edu.au by Sunday, 26 July.

You can read the full College Council bylaws here.

College staff will collate all Expressions of Interest received for positions that will be determined by a College Body e.g. Division or Faculty Council, and provide them to the relevant College Body to appoint their representative.

EOI: College Trainees' Committee – closes Friday, 31 July 2015 

Applications are invited from trainees who are interested in becoming a member of the College Trainees' Committee (CTC).  Expressions of interest are sought for the following positions:

  • a trainee from New South Wales (PCHD or Faculty)
  • a trainee from the Northern Territory
  • a trainee from who identifies as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander
  • a trainee who completed their primary medical degree in a country other than Australia or New Zealand.

The CTC provides a forum for the views of all trainees and ensures advocacy on behalf of trainees in key matters such as selection into training, assessment and the overall education of trainees.

Trainees are the future of the RACP and the CTC encourages all trainees to become involved in College activities.
 
Trainees who are interested in applying for membership of the CTC are invited to submit their Expression of Interest form by 5.00pm (AEST), Friday, 31 July 2015.

More information about CTC including the by-laws of the Committee can also be found here.
 
Please email your completed EOI form and CV to TraineesCommittee@racp.edu.au or contact Chanelle Lim.

Conferences and Events

Telehealth Technology Workshops

The colleges of Physicians, Pathologists, Ophthalmologists and Dermatologists are holding joint workshops in Hobart and Port Macquarie to give Fellows ‘hands on’ experience with telehealth technologies, including videoconferencing, imaging, cameras, 3D printers and more.

To register, please click on the relevant link below:

  • Hobart: 11am to 2pm, Saturday 1 August, University of Tasmania (TBC)

Please contact Krista Recsei on + 61 2 8247 6239 or krista.recsei@racp.edu.au for more information.

RACMA E-dgy Issues Webinars

The Royal Australasian College of Medical Administration in conjunction with the Rural Health Continuing Education Stream is hosting a set of E-dgy Issues webinars based on contemporary and ‘e-dgy issues’ that are current to health services. The programs provide doctors in rural and remote areas opportunities to enhance their CPD and sustain best practice in medical leadership and management.

August 2015 – Conquering fragmented rural mental health and other specialist medical services (telehealth)
October 2015 – Ageism, sexism, bullying, respect or un-esteemed collaborations between medical professionals. Are we duplicating what is taught in medicine?

For enquiries regarding the E-dgy Issues Program contact Carmel at COHea@racma.edu.au

Medico-Legal Society of Queensland Annual Conference, 28 and 29 August 2015, Surfers Paradise

The conference theme, A Claim Cycle: The Crossroads of Law and Medicine encapsulates the program scenario depicting Lance Pharmstrong, an unfortunate cyclist who had an accident enroute home from work.  His civil claim is still unsettled over three years down the track. Join colleagues and friends and follow the complexities and meandering nature of the life cycle of this claim.

Venue: Marriot Hotel, Surfers Paradise
Date: Friday, 28 August to Saturday, 29 August
Registration: Please visit the online conference registration booklet.

Australasian Symposium on Perioperative Medicine, 15 to 17 October 2015, Noosa

The Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists will host the 4th Annual Australasian Symposium on Perioperative Medicine, themed “The post-operative period: from recovery into the unknown”.

Venue: Outrigger Little Hastings Street Resort & Spa, Noosa, Queensland
Date: Thursday, 15 October to Sunday, 18 October 2015
Registration: Please visit the conference website.

Australasian Doctors Health Conference 2015, 22 to 25 October 2015, Melbourne

In line with our theme of “Pathways and Progress”, we will focus on proactive and reactive approaches to optimising physician health. Our two day academic program will appeal to all who have an interest in the health and welfare of our profession. We will discuss and showcase some of the advances in understanding the health of medical professionals and some of the great initiatives in improving welfare and support systems for doctors and medical students.

Venue: Pullman Mercure Albert Park, Melbourne Victoria
Date: Thursday, 22 October to Sunday, October 25 2015
Registration: Please visit the conference website.

 

RACP Awards

Nominations are now open for a range of awards for Fellows and trainees.

Inaugural Pacific Island Health Scholarship (New Zealand)

As part of its ongoing commitment to Indigenous Health the RACP is pleased to announce the addition of the Pacific Island Health Scholarship to the RACP Indigenous Health Scholarship Program.

In keeping with other Scholarships offered through the Program, the Pacific Island Health Scholarship offers a funded pathway for Basic, Advanced, Faculty or Chapter training which can be undertaken in Australia or New Zealand.

Applications for 2016 RACP Indigenous Health Scholarships are now open. Please contact the RACP Foundation for more information.

The Eric Susman Prize 2015

Fellows are invited to submit nominations for the award of the Eric Susman Prize for the best contribution to the knowledge of any branch of internal medicine.

Nominations close on Wednesday, 30 September 2015.

RACP Mentor of the Year 2016

Fellows and trainees are invited to submit nominations for the RACP Mentor of the Year Award 2016 for a Fellow who has made an outstanding contribution to mentoring or provided a high level of support and guidance throughout training.

Nominations close on Saturday, 31 October 2015.

RACP Trainee of the Year 2016

Fellows and trainees are invited to submit nominations for the RACP Trainee of the Year Award for a trainee who has made an outstanding contribution to College, community and/or trainee activities during 2015 and earlier.

Nominations close on Saturday, 31 October 2015.

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

MERS Update

The Department of Health have provided a situation update on Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS).

The full update can be read here, and was released on the 9th of July 2015.

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