The President's Message - 31 August 2015

Board to open the doors

Fellows and trainees are invited to meet the Board and take part in a question and answer session at 5pm on Wednesday, 23 September.

It is important for members to meet their Board and have visibility of the work it undertakes in the interest of members. To enable this, and to provide members with the opportunity to ask their Board questions and raise topics of interest, we rotate the location of Board meetings around the country. The next full Board Meeting will be held on Friday, 25 September 2015 in Melbourne.

This event has been planned to align with the inaugural College Council Meeting which takes place in Melbourne on Thursday, 24 September. 

The Council will function as an Advisory Board to the College Board and is an important forum for representatives from our diverse membership to have their voice heard on matters important to the College’s future. 

Our first regional convocation, with 122 new Fellows in attendance, will be held in Melbourne on the evening of Thursday, 24 September.  A Sydney event, with 133 new Fellows, is being held on Friday, 4 December.  We look forward to welcoming our new Fellows to these events and celebrating this important milestone with them.

As our existing Fellows know, to reach this stage has taken huge dedication and hard work. I urge all of our new Fellows to continue to strive; to serve, educate, learn and lead. Through the contribution of all of our members we can continue the RACP's commitment to excellence in medical care, research and the education of new generations of Fellows.

Through the contribution of all of our members we can continue the RACP’s commitment to excellence in health, medical care and the education of new generations of Fellows.

Members help shape our College’s future

The 2015 Member Satisfaction Survey is now live. It is critical we understand the needs of our large and diverse membership and I urge you – if you have not yet completed the survey – to take a few minutes to submit your response. While we have already received more than 1,500 responses, your feedback will help shape our College, enhance your member experience and allow us to develop initiatives that improve your interactions with us. Surveys were emailed on Friday, 21 August with the subject line: Royal Australasian College of Physicians Member Engagement Survey.

Your input into the Consumer engagement project is also sought. Workshops held in various locations will canvass your views on delivering patient-centred care and engaging with patients and their families. Your input will help to create the College’s strategy for bringing greater focus to patients’ experience in the provision of high-quality care.  Please see workshop dates and details below or contact the Education Policy, Research and Evaluation Unit for more information:

Policy and Advocacy

We continue to advocate for issues that are important to members. This month the College endorsed the House of Representatives Standing Committee report Alcohol: hurting people and harming communities with the issue generating considerable media coverage.

Our position statement on Refugee and Asylum Seeker Health received national publicity and featured in the Medical Journal of Australia. The College maintains that:

  • all refugees and asylum seekers should be offered a voluntary comprehensive assessment of their physical and mental health on arrival
  • there is equitable access to health care for refugees and asylum seekers
  • there is equitable access to education, English language support, and opportunities to work and train for meaningful employment, to promote long-term health.

Specifically the RACP does not condone held detention in any form and considers held detention to be a significant breach of human rights.

We also express extreme concern that unaccompanied children in detention are under the guardianship of the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection. We await the release of the Senate Committee report into conditions and circumstances at the Regional Processing centre on Nauru, expected later this month.

MBS Review Taskforce

The RACP was one of a range of colleges and specialty societies invited by the AMA to discuss the Commonwealth’s forthcoming MBS Review. 

The review is significant for College members because it could have potential implications for standards of clinical care we provide for patients. Rather than get involved in the possible industrial debates over health workers’ terms and conditions that may happen as part of the review, our focus is purely on supporting excellent clinical care.

The MBS Review Taskforce has asked for nominations from our membership to a number of Clinical Committees. The College has been asked to provide nominations within a short timeframe; please see the MBS review story below for details.

International recognition

It is with great pleasure I share with you the news that Associate Professor Nathan Cherny MBBS (Hons), FRACP, FRCP (Lon.) (1983) will be honoured with the prestigious ESMO Award for his outstanding contribution to the development oncology in Europe.

The presentation will take place at the European Society for Medical Oncology Congress in Vienna, and will be the first time this award has been presented to an Australian trained oncologist. This highlights not only Professor Cherny’s excellent contributions but the high quality of RACP training. Please join with me in extending RACP congratulations to Professor Cherny.

Laureate Professor Nicholas Talley
RACP President

Nominations sought - Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) Review

The College Board is establishing an MBS Review Working Party to coordinate a consistent strategic response to the policy issues arising from the MBS Review Taskforce.  Read the Terms of Reference for the MBS Review Working Party; please note you will need to log in with your College user ID and password to access this document.

While our College is unable to participate in or comment on matters of an industrial nature, the Board looks forward to the advice of the Working Party and to providing members with further updates.

This week the MBS Review Taskforce asked the College for nominations by 1 September 2015 to their Clinical Committees on the following:

  1. Diagnostic Imaging (including priority reviews of: bone densitometry; imaging for pulmonary embolism and acute deep vein thrombosis; imaging of the knee);
  2. Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Surgery (including priority reviews of: tonsillectomy; adenoidectomy; grommets);
  3. Clinical Haematology (including priority reviews of: blood transfusion services; iron studies; coagulation studies);
  4. Obstetrics;
  5. Thoracic Medicine (priority reviews of: sleep studies; respiratory function tests);
  6. Gastroenterology (priority reviews of: upper and lower GI endoscopy and colonoscopy); and
  7. MBS Rules and Regulations.

Due to the very tight timeframe, the MBS Review Working Party is working with the Specialty Societies, Divisions, Advanced Training Committees and Policy Reference Group to identify and contact potential nominees for these initial committees. If you are interested in being nominated, please email by 9am, Tuesday, 1st September.

A further 28 Committees are also being established by the MBS Review Taskforce, and the College has been asked to provide nominations for these by the end of September. If you are interested in being nominated to one of these 28 Clinical Committees or would like further information, please email by COB, Monday, 7 September.

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.

A Discussion Paper is now available online. The Commission will consult with individuals and organisations through an online survey to gather feedback, comment and input on this work.

The Commission will also host 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

Expressions of Interest

EOI: National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA) eReferral Reference Group

Applications are invited from Fellows and trainees of the College who are interested in joining the National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA) eReferral Reference Group.

NEHTA is commencing work with a wide range of national stakeholders to develop national eReferral architecture and supporting clinical document specification to support improved management of referrals. They are seeking input on the business processes, information requirements and architectural solutions to enable the effective exchange of electronic patient information from healthcare referrers to healthcare referees. Please see the Terms of Reference for further information.

If you are interested in being the RACP representative on this group, please send your completed EOI application form and CV to by 5pm Tuesday, 1 September 2015.

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. 

If you are interested in being nominated to this forum, please send your completed EOI application form and CV to by 5pm Friday, 11 September 2015

Events and Conferences

NSW Basic Trainee Forum
16 September 2015, Sydney

This annual NSW Basic Trainee Forum is held by the NSW Trainee Committee and NSW State Office, for all trainees seeking further information on admission to Basic Training and job opportunities.

There will be several informative presentations from Fellows of the College on matters such as work/life balance, CV and job applications, and preparing for the exam, and the evening will conclude with a panel discussion to answer any further questions from attendees.

Venue: Lorimer Dods Lecture Theatre, Children’s Hospital at Westmead
Date: Wednesday, 16 September 2015
Registration: Email the NSW State Office at, by Wednesday, 2 September 2015.

SPDP 3 - Workplace-based Learning and Assessment
October 2015, Auckland and Sydney

This 1.5 day ‘train-the-trainer’ event assists physicians to gain experience in:

  • presenting the Supervisor Professional Development Program (SPDP) workshop ‘Workplace-based Learning and Assessment’
  • preparing and evaluating workshops
  • facilitating discussion and workshop activities.

Workplace-based Learning and Assessment has been developed in collaboration with Dr Gregory Williams and Dr Stephen Robinson to support supervisors with strategies to integrate work-based learning and assessments into the workflow.

In this workshop, participants will:

  • discuss the purpose and importance of work-based learning and assessment
  • analyse the cycle of planning for learning and assessment
  • identify the challenges and solutions associated with work-based assessment in a complex environment
  • draw on evidence of learning and achievement to determine overall performance and progression.

Venue: To be confirmed
Date: Thursday, 1 and Friday, 2 October 2015
Time: 10am - 4.30pm (Day 1) and 9.30am - 1pm (Day 2)

Venue: To be confirmed
Date: Thursday, 22 and Friday, 23 October 2015
Time: 10am - 4.30pm (Day 1) and 9.30am - 1pm (Day 2)

To register your interest, please email the Supervisor Learning Support team at before Friday, 18 September 2015. Please include any dietary and travel requirements in your RSVP.

NSW Advanced Trainee Forum
7 October 2015, Sydney

The theme of this evening will be ‘Transitioning from Trainee to Consultant Physician/Paediatrician’, and will feature engaging presentations from recently admitted Fellows and a panel discussion to answer all questions from attendees on admission to Fellowship and job opportunities.

As well as providing useful information, this is an opportunity to expand your contacts and network with other Advanced Trainees, College staff and Fellows.

Venue: Scot Skirving Lecture Theatre, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital
Date: Wednesday, 7 October 2015
Registration: Email the NSW State Office at, by Thursday, 17 September 2015.

Australian Clinical Trials Alliance Symposium Meeting
7 to 10 October 2015, Sydney

The Australian Clinical Trials Alliance (ACTA) Clinical Trial Symposium meeting, with the theme of ‘Better Evidence, Better Health’, aims to bring together a broad range of local and international experts in the design and conduct of clinical trials, clinical data and registry custodianship, healthcare funding, policy and regulation, healthcare service delivery, health information technology and patient advocacy.

Venue: Hilton Hotel, Sydney
Date: Wednesday, 7 to Saturday, 10 October 2015
Registration: Visit the conference website.

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 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 the theme of ‘Pathways and Progress’, the conference will focus on proactive and reactive approaches to optimising physician health. The two-day academic program will appeal to all who have an interest in the health and welfare of our profession. Sessions will showcase some of the advances in understanding the health of medical professionals and some of the initiatives to improve welfare and support systems for doctors and medical students.

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

2016 International Medical Symposium – Future challenges for the medical profession
11 March 2016, Sydney

This will be the fifth year of the International Medical Symposium and will bring together representatives of international and local specialist medical colleges, medical schools, health services and regulators for an inspiring day that will enable challenges to be discussed and new ideas to be explored.

The event is hosted by the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP), the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) and the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) in association with the Royal Australian & New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) and the Australian & New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA). 

Venue: Amora Hotel Jamison, Sydney
Date: Friday, 11 March 2016
Registration: Registrations will open shortly. For more information, please visit the International Medical Symposium website.

Awards and Grants

Nominations are now open for:

The RACP International Medal, which will be awarded for the first time to a member in recognition of a significant contribution made in providing outstanding service in developing countries. Nominations close Friday, 30 October 2015 (5pm AEST).

The John Sands College Medal, presented to a Fellow in recognition of a significant contribution to the welfare of the College. Nominations close Friday, 30 October 2015 (5pm AEST).

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 close Friday, 30 October 2015 (5.00pm AEST).

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.


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