The President's Message - 6 May 2015

06 May, 2015

The President's Message - 6 May 2015


The College Policy and Advocacy Committee (CPAC) Council, comprising 20 Fellow and Trainee Members, is the representative body that sets the strategic direction for College policy and advocacy and has oversight of numerous complex and sometimes sensitive matters. Since the start of the year CPAC - acting through its executive Advisory Committee comprising nine Fellows - has considered more than 80 matters on topics as diverse as Indigenous health, e-cigarettes, child protection and end of life care.

CPAC provides direction and oversight to the College's contribution on a broad range of issues including current health reform debates such as the provision of better integrated care, disability service provision and medicines policy. It also oversees the College's responses on topical issues where physicians' expertise is vital, for example medicinal cannabis, the health impact of immigration detention and alcohol policy.

The work that falls under CPAC is developed through different routes including Working Parties, Committees and consultation with the almost 500 Fellows and trainees who have registered their interest in policy and advocacy through the Policy Reference Group. I encourage members with a passion for health policy and advocacy to register their interest to join the Policy Reference Group or express interest to join one of the many working parties.

The College receives many requests (37 since the beginning of the year) from external bodies to provide feedback on issues from the physician perspective, including most recently telehealth, the National Diabetes Strategy and opioid prescribing. CPAC also supports policy and advocacy on education and workforce matters, for example by advocating for the continuation of the Specialist Training Program.

At its recent biannual meeting CPAC identifed a range of strategic policy priorities including integrated care, pain management, greater involvement of consumers, and the health impact of climate change. The Council's Communique provides an overview of the outcomes of the meeting.

In New Zealand, the Policy and Advocacy Committee (PAC), Chaired by Dr Chris Bullen and comprised of 12 members, leads the College's New Zealand health policy and advocacy activities. The PAC has overseen the progression of approximately thirty matters since January 2015, including the endorsement of the Heart Foundation New Zealand's Guidelines for Rheumatic Fever and preparation of a number of submissions for government and external organisations.

The PAC is also in early discussions with the Adult Medicine Division Council to develop a College-wide, collaborative response to address the issue of obesity. The PAC will lead discussions with CPAC in May to explore the common goal for reducing obesity and to discuss opportunities to work together.

2014 Annual Report

By now you should have received a link to the 2014 Annual Report and the Annual General Meeting notification. I encourage you to read about our achievements throughout the year, many of which would not have been possible without the strong commitment and collegiality of our Fellow and Trainee Members.

It is pleasing to note that following the independent audit of the College's 2014 Financial Report, our financial position remains strong and debt-free with minimal long term liabilities. The audited accounts also consider the value to the College membership. To increase transparency and to increase understanding of how membership fees are allocated, the 2015 Annual Report will detail where member fees are expended.

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to mention our Fellow and Trainee Members who have committed to supporting the relief effort in Nepal following the recent earthquake. In particular, I would like to acknowledge the dedication of those volunteering their time and expertise to assist these vulnerable communities.

Laureate Professor Nicholas Talley

President, RACP


The RACP website refresh project has been making strong progress, and is due to launch the new design in July this year.

It's an important project for the College. In addition to creating a more contemporary, usable design and content that's easier to find and easier to read, the website is a significant step in a longer digital journey. It lays the foundations for a series of projects over the next few years that will create a range of new features and functions, such as personalised information for members and online communities.

To develop the website, we have undertaken two rounds of member research comprising over 50 research sessions with medical students, Basic Trainees, Advanced Trainees and Fellows, in Australia and New Zealand. In these sessions, members and future members were asked to give feedback about the current website or (after the new the refreshed version of the website had been prototyped) to use and comment on the new design.

Once it launches, the website will create an easier and quicker experience that also better represents the College to the wide range of people and organisations that use our website.

Guided by the Career and Transitions discussions from the Tripartite Alliance meeting in March 2015, attendees will have the opportunity to add to the discussion in an interactive forum.

The key discussion areas include:

Clinical leadership: Physicians of the future workshop

Don't miss this opportunity to attend the Clinical Leadership: Physicians of the Future Workshop aimed to improve your practice and assist you to drive and manage change. The workshop will be placed in the context of real world problems and will be of value to anyone who is developing an interest in clinical leadership and management.


The Medical Services Advisory Committee (MSAC) appraises new medical services proposed for public funding, and provides advice to the Australian Government about the level and quality of evidence relating to the comparative safety, clinical effectiveness, and cost-effectiveness of such services.

The Department of Health is seeking stakeholder feedback on new draft Guidelines for Preparing Investigative Assessment Reports for MSAC, developed to provide practical information on how to present evidence to MSAC when seeking Australian Government funding of a medical service.

The Guidelines can be accessed here:

Interested members can provide their feedback directly by email to - now closed


The NSW Ministry of Health has recently released a new website to assist medical students, interns and junior medical officers plan their medical careers. Map My Health Career provides essential information about 53 medical specialties in one place. The website offers a range of information about getting into a specialty training program, including the length of training and where training is available in NSW.

Further information is available on the website.


EOI: Working Together Project Cross College Implementation Working Party, now closed

At its meeting in March the Board agreed to establish a small cross College Working Party to develop an action/implementation plan based on the findings and recommendations in the WhyteCo Working Together Report (the Report) which was considered by the Board on Thursday, 4 December 2014.

The Report forms part of a broader cross-College project designed to identify optimal ways for Fellows, trainees and staff to work better, together and concludes Whyte Co's fact-finding exercise to identify if there were any behaviours that needed to be addressed.

Expressions of Interest in joining the Working Party are now invited from Fellows, trainees and staff members.

The Working Party will be led by Board member, Dr Helen Rhodes, and will consist of a representative group of Fellows, trainees and staff members. It will be facilitated and supported by Mr Phillip Bonser from WhyteCo with support from Dr Garth Britton and Ms Ann Whyte. It will be required to:

Review and further consider the findings of the Report.

Undertake additional inquiry and consultation, if required.

Develop a plan to guide action and responses across the College and to ensure a comprehensive, coherent and coordinated response occurs over time.

Make recommendations for the ongoing coordination, monitoring and review of the implementation of the plan.

Report to the Board as required.

It is anticipated that the final make-up of the Working Party will consist of approximately eight to ten people made up of Fellow, trainee and staff representatives from across the College. The membership of the Working Party will be decided by the Chair of the Working Party and the CEO, with assistance from Phillip Bonser to ensure an appropriate spread across Australia and New Zealand, levels of responsibility and relevant functional areas.

In determining the make-up of the Working Party it is acknowledged that a number of staff, Fellows and trainees who were interviewed by WhyteCo have already informally expressed an interest in being involved. It will be important, in addition, to ensure that it is representative of the most significant groups and interests that are impacted by the recommendations.

In addition to attending Working Party meetings, which will be held face-to-face and by teleconference and/or online, members of the Working Party will be expected to undertake a limited amount of consultation and discussion with their peers and identify and facilitate opportunities for discussion about specific implementation initiatives. The Working Party is expected to hold the first meeting in June 2015 and then more intermittently as it moves into a coordination and monitoring function during the remainder of 2015 and beyond.

Fellow and Trainee Members wishing to apply to join the Working Party must now formalise their interest through an Expressions of Interest process. Short Expressions of Interest (no more than a page) indicating reason(s) for your interest and any expertise or experience you would like considered should be emailed to Colleen Dargan, Project Manager at


EOI: Practice Review Support Working Group, one additional Australian member, now closed

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 more information please contact Michael Pooley on +61 2 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, now closed

Expressions of Interest are sought for two positions on the Continuing Professional Development Committee [CPDC]:

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), now closed

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.

MAAC Secretary


PO Box 5013


Or email




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


New Online application system

Award Terms and Conditions

For any queries contact


Recently, the College Contact Centre experienced a technical difficulty that resulted in a small number of members being left on hold. I would like to advise that the issue has since been resolved and apologise to those who were inconvenienced during this time.

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