The President's Message - 29 June 2015

 LAUNCH OF THE RACP WEBSITE

The most important member of this College is YOU, whether you are a Fellow or trainee, whether you have been a member for one or 40 years. Accessing information, completing Continuing Professional Development, communicating with the Fellowship, updating your skills and other activities depends considerably on access to a fit for purpose, 21st century website. The College is committed to serving all members wherever they live and work in New Zealand and Australia. This is why I am delighted to announce the launch of a brand new College website with you at its centre. Please check the site out the new website here and give us feedback.

The Board, major Fellow-led committees and especially our dedicated and expert staff have worked very hard to bring the new website online. If you know anything about IT projects, you will appreciate this represents the culmination of many months of research, planning and implementation.

The website design has been based on extensive Fellow and trainee feedback from across different settings, regions, specialties and career stages. A number of elements were examined including members’ experience of our College’s existing digital platforms. Members also guided the design by sorting the information they need to access.  We listened to your needs, suggestions and frustrations, and used this information and best practice to benefit the planning process. It has been a huge project, and I thank everyone who contributed for their commitment to our College and members.

It was imperative that this new site have a contemporary design and a professional feel. More importantly, we aimed to build a site that would allow you to interact with the College in a way that was intuitive, easy and efficient. This is your website and it will be further modified to fit your needs in the future based on the feedback.

We have worked to put you, the member, at the heart of the website’s design.

Our new homepage will allow us to showcase the latest news, events and issues you have told us matter to you, and will provide users with quick navigation to some of the most frequently visited areas of the site such as MyCPD, Training portals, Specialty Societies, eLearning and our newly-launched podcasts. From the centrally located news and events pages, you will find filters and search features which will help you find the content exactly relevant to your needs. The whole site’s search functionality has also been greatly improved.

We have created a short video to introduce the new website – you can view it through this link to our YouTube channel .

We will be closely monitoring usage and feedback, and will use this to inform adjustments and improvements to the website as we move forward in the coming weeks. You are encouraged to play a part in this by sending your feedback to: webfeedback@racp.edu.au.

A few areas, such as the Training Portals, eLearning and Share site are out of scope for this initial development phase, but these will be assessed and prioritised for integration in future phases of development to further enhance your experience and provide value. The website has been designed to integrate with OSCAR, the College’s online member management system, which once live, will enable us to offer you a more personalised website experience and add greater functionality including online communities.

We are on a journey together. This is the sixth iteration of the College’s website. We’ve come a long way since the first site was launched in 1998, but there remains more for us to do. The staff and the Board are committed to serving the Fellows and trainees and welcome your feedback and suggestions. Please take the time to explore your new site here.

 

PODCASTING INCLUDING FREE CLINICAL UPDATES – A NEW SERVICE FOR ALL MEMBERS 

Pomegranate, a new medical podcast produced by the RACP, premieres with the College's website relaunch today, another example of our improved digital strategy and growing online presence.

Physician-specific podcasts have long been requested by the Fellowship as a tool for professional development; in the College's 2013 member survey on CPD needs, they were ranked as the third-most valuable resource.

While programs such as the ABC's Health Report offer science reporting for a mainstream audience, there are few high-calibre podcasts made with medical professionals in mind. Pomegranate aims to fill this gap, featuring peer-reviewed episodes on topics such as end-of-life decision-making, cultural competence, doctors' health, effective supervision, and more.

The program will also offer regular clinical updates for physicians outside a specialty: episodes on cardiology for non-cardiologists and multi-disciplinary stroke management are currently in production.

The podcast's name is a reference to the pomegranate's symbolic importance in medicine—historically considered a sign of healing; the fruit appears on many medical college crests, including on our own.

Oversight for the program is provided by the Fellow-led College CPD Committee, which works with the Learning Support Unit (a new resource-development team sitting in the Office of the Dean) to produce each episode. The program also undergoes a separate peer review process capitalising on the College's Fellow networks. The RACP End of Life Working Group, for example, served as peer review group for Pomegranate's episode on advanced care planning.

Pomegranate is now ​available on the College's new website at racp.edu.au/pomcast

The Learning Support Unit welcomes feedback on the program, requests for topics to cover, and expressions of interest from members wishing to provide peer review on future episodes. Fellows can direct all inquiries and comments to pomcast@racp.edu.au.

I trust that you will enjoy exploring our new website, and when the time allows to have a look and listen to Pomegranate.

MyCPD app - improvements for Fellows

The Board, the Fellow-led CPD Committee and dedicated professional staff work to continuously enhance Continuing Professional Development for all members. The introduction of MyCPD Mobile for Fellows to conveniently record their CPD activities “on the go” has been well received. Further information on the success of this resource and the development of other CPD improvements was  revealed at RACP Congress 2015.

To access MyCPD Mobile, navigate to http://www.racp.edu.au/MyCPD on any internet-connected mobile device.

The Australian border force act unacceptable to physicians

For some time, concerns have been raised consistently and publicly by Fellows of this College about the poor conditions that have been witnessed in detention centres such as Manus Island, and also Nauru. These concerns have been echoed by a broad range of peak Australian health organisations. 

This week, the Federal Government’s new Border Force Act takes effect. Under this law, it will be illegal for doctors and health professionals to disclose information about the quality of care in offshore detention centres, and if they do, they face the threat of imprisonment. 

This puts physicians, doctors and health professionals alike, in an impossible position.

The Federal Government have warned that it will now be a requirement for all Australian Border Force staff – including presumably medical personnel – to sign an oath affirming their loyalty to the organisation. A copy of the oath was recently tabled by the Immigration Minister, the Hon. Peter Dutton. It requires staff to affirm: 

“I will uphold the significant trust that is placed in me as a result of my role. I will, to the best of my ability, skill and knowledge, faithfully and professionally discharge all my duties according to law, and in such a manner that at all times upholds the good reputation of the Australian Border Force.”

What this law fails to understand is that the contribution made by health professionals who speak out about healthcare in situations such as detention centres is invaluable. 

This law has arguably been designed, to silence doctors whose duty it is to provide appropriate patient care and on occasions advocate for their patients, which in this instance also happen to be detainees. The new law is basically asking doctors to choose between themselves and their patients.

The law is arguably unethical and needs to be changed. Physicians and other health professionals must be able to advocate for their patients as a basic duty of care. The introduction of this law will also make it very difficult to attract quality healthcare professionals to work in these settings. 

The College will continue to argue there is no justification for this secrecy. 

 

RACP President, Laureate Professor, Nicholas Talley

 
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