The President's Message - 27 February 2015

27 February, 2015

The President's Message - 27 February 2015


The Board unanimously agrees a smaller member skills-based Board will increase its relevance and effectiveness for members and the broader community, by simplifying and improving the way the College is run. The Board is committed to promoting a strongly  inclusive College and deep Fellowship engagement.

As a membership body, we must ensure we continue to look ahead and identify the changing models of health care and community health needs, and strive to deliver the best value for our members. A move to a smaller skills-based Board will allow us to be more responsive to the complex and changing environment in which we operate.

Thank you to Fellow and trainee members for your feedback on College Reform, which was gathered in 2014 through face to face consultations, a member survey and member posts to the online forum and noticeboard on the RACP website.

The purpose of the College Reform survey was to gauge the awareness of the need for change, and the support for proposed changes. 12.8% of members responded to the College’s survey. There is support for a smaller Board and a desire to move from a representative Board to a skills-based Board.

I encourage all Fellows and trainees to review the survey results, which are available on the College’s website. 

As a result of your feedback, I want to reiterate that the Board will not be going forward with a nominations committee for the election of Board members.

Through the survey, members have asked what skills candidates would be required to have when nominating for elections. Members also expressed their desire for more information on the College Council, in particular, its purpose, role, scope and brief and how the large body would represent the membership and be able to influence the Board and College priorities.

The Board is confident and committed to ensuring the proposed model for College Council is both functional and effective, but is also willing to adapt and respond should the proposed model require further consideration.

The Board will come back to members with next steps once it has thoroughly considered the feedback at its March meeting. Your feedback continues to be very welcome.

On Wednesday, 11 February 2015, I had the opportunity to meet with a number of Federal Members of Parliament, including newly appointed Health Minister The Hon. Sussan Ley MP and Senators in Canberra to discuss College policy and advocacy priorities including Indigenous health, workforce and training, medical research and our new initiative, EVOLVE. I was also invited by Minister Ley to take part in a peak reference group meeting in Sydney on Wednesday, 18 February 2015 where we discussed a range of short, medium, and long-term health policies.

The College has strongly profiled its position on the health of Asylum Seekers and has received considerable media attention on its advocacy efforts to remove all children from detention. Following the tabling of the Australian Human Rights Commission AHRC report, Associate Professor Karen Zwi and I were interviewed by Australian and International media. As a show of support to the AHRC inquiry, President, Paediatric & Child Health Division, Dr Nicki Murdock also wrote an open letter to the AHRC President, Professor Gillian Triggs expressing support from the College’s paediatricians and endorsement of their participation to the inquiry.

Yesterday, the College  issued a media statement highlighting our disappointment and frustration at those who rejected the findings of the inquiry.

The strong commitment shown by our paediatricians throughout the inquiry and the united advocacy efforts of our College, demonstrate our ability to be at the fore of public debate.

Thank you to the paediatricians involved for your continued hard work and strong support for the removal of children from immigration detention.

Professor Nicholas Talley
President, RACP



RACP Congress 2015 is set to be the preeminent event of the year for physicians, trainees and health industry experts with the announcement of a dynamic and contemporary preliminary program.

Congress 2015 will encourage us all to broaden our minds. The program has been designed to improve and influence the healthcare of those we serve through five key topics we, as physicians, may not routinely consider a part of our daily practice:

  • the health of our indigenous peoples whose life expectancy continues to remain behind that of the majority of the population
  • the health of people seeking asylum
  • rights and desires of those facing the end of their life
  • gender identity and the mental and physical health of individuals struggling with its biological and social pressures
  • the impact of an ageing workforce

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

  • Mr Terry Roycroft, Founder and President – Medicinal Cannabis Resource Centre (Canada) 
  • Dr Steve Bolsin, Director of the Division of Perioperative Medicine, Anaesthesia & Pain Management at the Geelong Hospital, Barwon Health
  • Associate Professor James Ward, Associate Professor in Indigenous Health at Baker IDI Heart & Diabetes Institute 
  • Professor John Whitehall, Professor and Foundation Chair, Paediatrics and Child Health, University of Western Sydney

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

Register now through the Early Bird offer. I look forward to seeing you in Cairns from 24 to 27 May 2015 for RACP Congress.   



On Wednesday, 11 February 2015 I represented the College at the Parliamentary Close the Gap breakfast in Canberra and attended a series of meetings with Federal Members of Parliament and Senators.

The Close the Gap breakfast was an opportunity to discuss College priorities with the Minister responsible for Indigenous health, Assistant Minister for Health, The Hon. Fiona Nash MP. I also highlighted the College's work in leading the way on a framework to improve access to specialists for Indigenous communities and our call for this framework to be included in the Government’s National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan (NATSIHP) Implementation Plan. I also discussed the College’s Indigenous Policy work with RACGP President Dr Frank Jones and AMA President Dr Brian Owler and explored opportunities for future collaboration.

Whilst in Canberra, I also met with the newly appointed Minister for Health, The Hon. Sussan Ley MP, Shadow Minister, The Hon. Catherine King MP, the Member for Throsby and Shadow Assistant Health Minister Stephen Jones MP, independent Senator Ricky Muir, the Member for Bowman Dr Andrew Laming MP and the Member for Boothby Dr Andrew Southcott MP.

The meetings focused on the significance of the Specialist Training Program in meeting Australia’s training demand and the urgent need for government to confirm ongoing funding for this crucial program. It was positive to see these calls were met with broad support from MPs and Senators from both sides of politics and I was able to secure a commitment from Minister Ley to provide an urgent update on the program. I also took the opportunity to inform MPs and Senators of the RACP’s EVOLVE imitative the leadership our College is taking in this peer-led project to identify low-value interventions across the specialties. 

On Wednesday, 18 February I was invited to join an exclusive group of medical professionals to discuss short, medium, and long-term health policies. During this meeting I discussed the College’s workforce priorities and the need to invest in a self-improving health system by working with the profession through initiatives like EVOLVE and funding cost effectiveness research.  I also recommended increasing alcohol and tobacco taxes and how these reforms would also have a positive health benefit.


The forgotten children - National inquiry into children in immigration detention

Following the tabling of the Australian Human Rights Commission’s (AHRC) report, The Forgotten Children: National Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention in Parliament on 11 February, the RACP issued a media release, Minister must release children from detention as well as an opinion piece by RACP President, Professor Nicholas Talley. Professor Talley and paediatrician Associate Professor Karen Zwi, the College’s key spokespeople on this matter, which resulted in subsequent media in The Conversation,  the Drum (ABC television), ABC radio across the country and internationally via Deutsche Welle. As part of the College’s broader advocacy activities, PCHD President, Dr Nicki Murdock wrote an open letter of support to AHRC Commissioner, Professor Gillian Triggs following the Governments attack on the Commission's report. Professor Triggs responded to Dr Murdock and thanked RACP members for their support and commitment to advocating for people in immigration detention.

Australia currently holds about 800 children in mandatory closed immigration detention for indefinite periods, with no pathway to protection or settlement. This includes 186 children detained on Nauru. Children and their families have been held on the mainland and on Christmas Island for, on average, one year and two months. Over 167 babies have been born in detention in the last 24 months. Inquiry staff interviewed 1,129 children over a 15-month period from January 2013 to March 2014, spanning both the Labor and Coalition governments. It shows there were 233 recorded assaults involving children and 33 incidents of reported sexual assault. 

The report is the largest survey of children in detention ever conducted in the world and calls for:

  • 119 children on Nauru to be moved into the Australian community; 
  • Christmas Island to be shut down
  • an independent guardian for unaccompanied children
  • a royal commission be established to examine the impact on the children being detained for long periods in immigration detention centres.


The Committee of Presidents of Medical Colleges (CPMC) is the peak specialist medical forum in Australia where specialist colleges and other key organisations can exchange views on the pressing issues of the day including proposed health policy reforms, scope of practice, new models of care or workforce trends. As the sector’s most important medical body, the influence of CPMC is evident by the seniority of the politicians and public officials who regularly attend the meetings and call on CPMC for expert consultation.

As Chair of the CPMC, I will look to build on the significant work of the previous CPMC Chairs. In particular, I will continue to promote the work of the Colleges in driving the quality and safety agenda and the value and excellence of our model of specialist training. I will also advocate in Canberra for the communities our members are committed to serving and for the medical profession across workforce, education, appropriate regulation and other key common issues. 


Basic Training Survey 2013-14

From January 2014 to March 2014, Basic Trainees were surveyed to understand their views on their training experiences; the Physician Readiness for Expert Practice (PREP) tools, curriculum and handbook; supervision; educational support services; and career intentions. 

The online survey was sent to all Basic Trainees in Australia and New Zealand. A total of 921 (24%) trainees responded. 

Overall, results indicate that Basic Trainees are moderately satisfied with the PREP Basic Training experience, but there is room for improvement. The survey revealed several areas for attention including the need to engage supervisors to support the PREP program within the workplace and plan for increasing trainee interest in generalist training. 

The full report is available. An action plan for this survey is currently under development.

Preparedness for Independent Practice Study

From January 2014 to March 2014 new Fellows were surveyed in order to evaluate graduate outcomes of RACP training programs and identify opportunities for improvements. The survey focused on new Fellows’ preparedness for key domains of independent practice (as outlined by the draft RACP Standards Framework), satisfaction with RACP training programs and the ease of the transition from Advanced Trainee to Fellow.

The online survey was sent to all RACP Fellows admitted to Fellowship in 2012 or 2010 (one or three years into independent practice). A total of 404 (30%) trainees responded. 

Overall, results indicate that new Fellows consider themselves to be well prepared for independent practice. However, new Fellows felt more prepared for the clinical aspects of their role and would have liked to receive additional training in the management or administration of their role in order to ease their transition into independent practice. In addition, Fellows also identified a need to keep up to date with current evidence-based practice and maintain their existing clinical skills and knowledge and would like support from the College to achieve this. 

The full report is available. An action plan for this survey is currently under development.



EOI: Selection into Training Policy Consultation – now closed

The College seeks your opinions and feedback on a new Selection into Training Policy (draft).

About the Policy
The Selection into Training Policy is the first step in the College’s strategy to implement a more robust, fair, and effective process for selection.

The Policy is College-wide and introduces principles, standards and criteria that underpin the process for entry and selection into all RACP training programs. It clarifies the roles and responsibilities between the RACP, RACP accredited training settings, health service jurisdictions and employing institutions, together with a high-level process for selection.

In the first instance, this is a high level policy statement and the College will work in collaboration with employers and jurisdictions to develop resources, tools, methods and robust selection processes to support implementation of the policy, in line with the principles and standards.  This includes exploring the feasibility of using Situational Judgement Tests (SJTs) and Multiple Mini Interviews (MMIs) in the RACP context.

Peer Review Working Group

All feedback will be considered by a Peer Review Working Group.

If you wish to be involved in this Peer Review Working Group, please click here for more information.

Further Information
View all draft policies and information about policy development at any time via our members-only website.

EOI: Development Working Group Academic Honesty & Plagiarism - now closed
The College Education Committee (CEC) is seeking to appoint 10 members (Fellows and trainees) to join its Development Working Group on the Academic Honesty & Plagiarism Policy revision through an expression of interest process.

The key responsibilities of the Working Group are to:
• consider findings of the policy research undertaken
• draft a policy based upon the research findings
• develop implementation and communications plans
• draft documentation for consultation

The CEC-approved scoping paper on this policy can be viewed on our website.

Interested Fellows and Trainees must complete and submit the attached form, provide their CV and a supporting statement outlining how their knowledge, qualifications, experience and interest in policy development will contribute to the objectives of this Working Group. Please email the expression of interest form and CV must to

Successful applicants must be available to attend two full days of face-to-face meetings in Sydney.

For further information, please contact Nathasha Kugenthiran on

EOI: NSW/ACT State Committee Representatives - ​now closed

Seeking two NSW based Fellows to become members of the NSW/ACT State Committee. 

The NSW/ACT State Committee works with the NSW/ACT State Office to identify ways to increase the engagement of members across the region.

The successful candidates will collaborate with other Committee members on important issues that affect NSW/ACT members of the College. The key responsibilities of the NSW/ACT State Committee include:

  • act in the interest of the College in NSW/ACT
  • work with NSW State Office staff to support and progress College endorsed initiatives and activities
  • facilitate the engagement of Fellows in NSW/ACT in the activities of the College
  • in conjunction with other College Bodies and College staff, support the professional careers of Fellows and Trainees of the College in NSW/ACT
  • work with appropriate College Bodies and College staff in connection with:
    • education, training and assessment of trainees
    • training and continual professional development
    • identifying local policy and advocacy issues and supporting College policy and advocacy directions.

Please email your completed expression of interest form to the NSW State office at Click on the following links to access the Expression of Interest Application Form and Position Description. 

Conferences and Events

RACP Foundation

I would like to extend my sincere congratulations to the following winners of the 2015 Research Entry Scholarships

Award recipient




Dr Amanda Gwee

The Miriam Greenfield RACP Research Establishment Fellowship Basser Research Entry Scholarship(valued at $45,000)

A comparison of continuous or intermittent infusions of vancomycin in neonates

University of Melbourne

Dr Tejaswi Kandula

Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation Research Entry Scholarship(valued at $30,000)

Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy in the pediatric population: risk factors, assessment strategies and functional outcomes

University of NSW

Dr Marie Ashanya Malalsekera

VFFF Foundation Research Entry Scholarship in Rural Health(valued at $30,000 over 2yrs)

Understanding the Patient Journey to Diagnosis and Treatment of Lung Cancer

University of Sydney

Dr Atul Malhotra

RACP Fellows Research Entry Scholarship (II)(valued at $45,000 over 3 yrs)

Novel therapy to reduce white matter injury associated with fetal growth restriction

The Ritchie Centre, Monash Institute of Medical Research – Prince Henry’s Institute

Dr Anna Mohammedieh

ResMed Foundation/Sleep Health Foundation Research Entry Scholarship(valued at $30,000)

The Relationship between Obstructive Sleep Apnoea and Atrial Fibrillation

University of Sydney and RNS

Dr Kathleen Morrisroe

Shields Research Entry Scholarship(valued at $40,000)

Quantifying the Burden of Systemic Sclerosis in Australia: From Data Linkages to Patient-Reported Outcomes

St. Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne

Dr Gina O’Grady

NZ Fellows Research Entry Scholarship (NZ)(valued at NZ$45,000)

Improving diagnosis of Congenital Muscular Dystrophy by Next Generation Sequencing techniques

University of Sydney

Dr David Rabbolini

RACP Fellows Research Entry Scholarship (I)(valued at $45,000)

Platelet functional defects caused by mutations of transcription factor GFI1B: a new mechanism of human disease.

Kolling Institute of Medical Research, RNS Hospital

Dr Shobini Sivagnanam

The Joseph Thornton Tweddle Research Entry Scholarship(valued at $35,000)

Epidemiology and molecular diagnosis of Legionella infections in immunocompromised hosts

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre

Dr Anne Trinh

Osteoporosis Australia RACP Research Entry Scholarship(valued at $45,000)

The Optimisation of Bone Health in Chronic Neurological Conditions

Monash Health, Victoria

Dr Aditi Vedi

Arnott Research Entry Scholarship in Cancer Research(valued at $45,000)

Personalised Cancer Therapy for High Risk Childhood Cancer

Children’s Cancer Institute of Australia



NSW Health has published the Guideline: Work Health and Safety - Controlling Exposure to Surgical Plume. This Guideline provides assistance in the management of risk associated with exposure to surgical plume. The document is available on the NSW Health website.

This guideline applies to all NSW Health Organisations and all other bodies and organisations under the control and direction of the Minister for Health or the Secretary of the NSW Ministry of Health where facilities under their control create surgical plume, such as in: operating theatres, dental clinics, morgues during autopsy, laboratories/research and testing facilities.

Please refer to and/or distribute the guidelines as necessary.



The Motor Accidents Authority (MAA) welcomes applications from organisations interested in grants for projects that aim to positively influence recovery from injuries sustained in motor vehicle crashes. Eligible organisations include universities, hospitals, not-for-profit organisations and the primary health care sector, in both metropolitan and regional areas.

There are two funding opportunities this year:

Research Translation Grant Round, with a total of $500,000 ($50,000 to $80,000 per grant) is available for:

  •  Projects that implement research into practice and policy in an acute, rehabilitation and/or community setting.
  • Projects should predominantly assist people who have sustained injuries in a motor vehicle crash in NSW.

Small Grants Round, a total of $150,000 is available in 20I4/2015

  • There are two rounds remaining of $50,000, with up to $15,000 per grant
  • The two themes are: 1) Quality improvement and assurance, 2) Service development and delivery

For more information and to apply, please visit the NSW Government Grants webpage.


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