The President's Message - 7 October 2016

Member survey
As a member, next week you have a once a year chance to provide valuable feedback to us about how well your College is doing and where we can improve. 

I invite you to take eight minutes to fill out the annual member engagement survey online.

You can give us feedback on your level of involvement with the College, our website, and how we communicate with you. 

We also want your views on our events and services, policy and advocacy, how well you feel we represent you, and the continuing professional development opportunities we provide to you.

This survey is very important. Last year’s results led directly to significant changes. For example, we reduced our frequency of communication and improved the quality, made changes to our website and raised the profile of our advocacy – all in direct response to feedback you gave us.

Your College is listening – look out for an email direct to you from Woolcott Research containing the survey link and let us know how we’re doing.

Tri Nations Alliance
One of our most enduring partnerships is with our colleagues in Canada. What was the Tripartite Alliance between the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC), Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) and RACP, became the Tri-Nations Alliance (Canada, Australia and New Zealand) when the colleges of Anaesthetists and Psychiatry joined us. We share many similarities in medical education, and learn a lot from each other.

Over the past week, the Chief Executive Officer, Linda Smith, our Dean, Professor Richard Doherty and I travelled to Canada to attend the International Medical Education Leaders Forum. This brings together Presidents, CEOs, Deans and postgraduate Deans from medical education colleges and institutions around the world.

In one room, there were representatives from all continents, and it was an invaluable opportunity to discuss challenges and innovations related to postgraduate medical education and lifelong learning. 

We also attended the International Conference on Residency Education, which brings together more than 1,600 clinical educators and physicians from around the world to share ideas, challenges, innovations, and to improve post graduate medical training.

Many of you will be familiar with the CanMeds framework. The RCPSC leads the world in the implementation of competency based training for physicians, in which trainees are assessed on their demonstrated ability to perform a task or procedure, rather than simply completing an allocated training period. 

Many countries and colleges are taking a lead from the RCPSC or watching very closely as competency based training is embedded in other jurisdictions.  We are looking at this approach for many of our training programs as part of our renewal of the College’s education portfolio.

We heard what this may mean for training of physicians, and the implications for  supervisors and examiners. With plenary addresses by speakers from the University of Toronto, Harvard Medical School, and the Royal Society of Medicine, we heard from eminent international experts in their fields. It was an important opportunity to calibrate the changes we are proposing with the experiences and intentions of our peer colleges around the globe. 

It was a privilege to attend the RCPSC’s convocation ceremony, and to see the same happiness and sense of achievement for their new Fellows and their families that we see in our own Trainees as they begin their careers as new physicians. 

The Doctors’ March
We have been asked to let you know about a march to be held in Sydney on 5 November.

Dr David Berger, District Medical Officer in Emergency Medicine, Broome, WA, has notified us of the event. It aims to draw attention to the detention of children, the mandatory and indefinite detention of asylum seekers who arrive by boat, the standards of medical care in detention facilities, and the measures which may be taken about disclosure by those connected with detention centres. 

We remind Fellows of the College ‘Refugee and Asylum Seeker Health Position Statement’ published in May 2015.

Bullying, Sexual Harassment and Discrimination
At the Canadian meeting, I attended a session run by the RACS on the work they have done in this area. You will be aware of the attention this received last year, and I encourage you to visit their website. I would like to remind our own Fellows and Trainees that we also take this issue very seriously and draw your attention to the link on our homepage to our policies on professional behaviours. 

On a different note – we have now opened registrations for Congress 2017, which will have an exciting new format. Next year will see the launch of a new shared interests program, covering the big healthcare issues that unite us all as specialists. This may be the year for you to broaden your professional horizons, and attend the RACP Congress. I encourage you to visit the website and register now.

Dr Catherine Yelland
RACP President

Congress registrations are now open

Visit the Congress Website  to find out about VIP and Early Bird offers.

2017 marks the beginning of a new era for the RACP Congress, a flagship event and meeting place for Australian and New Zealand physicians. Congress has been the College’s ‘stand-out’ annual event since 1939, bringing physicians together to celebrate medical progress and achievement, shape healthcare policy positions, accelerate education and training and enhance patient care. 

The new ‘shared interests’ focus of Congress 2017 is a landmark response to RACP research on the needs and interests of its 25,000 members.

Fellows of the RACP want their flagship event to deliver unique and collaborative conversations on the big issues that count, provide specialist and cross-disciplinary clinical insights, showcase cutting edge examples of ‘best practice’ and knowledge transfer and deliver highly relevant, professional development and skills building workshops.

RACP Congress 2017, Bringing Specialists Together. Sharing Knowledge. Building Skills is your opportunity to: 

  • learn about medical breakthroughs
  • hear the latest clinical updates
  • join the conversations on the ‘big issues’ that are relevant to all physicians; obesity, disability, ageing and end-of-life issues
  • attend high energy, cross-disciplinary think tanks
  • network with global thinkers and healthcare leaders, socialise with peers and forge new professional ties 

 A dynamic program of presentations, workshops and panel discussions is being developed which is sure to leave you inspired and energised.

Confirmed oration speakers.

Opening Keynote Address

Leading bioethicist – Professor Ross Upshur
Head, Division of Clinical Public Health, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, Canada
Professor, Department of Family and Community Medicine and Dalla Lana School of Public Health, Canada.

Ferguson-Glass Oration

Rheumatologist and OEM specialist – Emeritus Professor Nortin Hadler
Emeritus Professor of Medicine and Microbiology/Immunology, Division of Rheumatology, Allergy, and Immunology, Thurston Arthritis Research Center, USA.

For more information and the full program visit

twitter Twitter @the RACP
Join the conversation #RACP17 

EOI: RACP Congress 2018 and 2019 Lead Fellow and Lead Fellow-elect, closes 14 October 2016

Expressions of interest are sought from interested Fellows to nominate for the RACP Congress Lead Fellow and Congress Lead Fellow-elect roles for 2018 and 2019.

The RACP Congress is the largest annual multi-disciplinary internal medicine event in Australasia. Held in May each year, this premier event is expected to attract more than 1,100 physicians from Australia, New Zealand and around the world. We are looking for a Congress Lead Fellow and a Lead Fellow-elect to take Congress to the next level.  To enable the College to focus on a long term Congress strategy, these roles will assist the College in providing opportunities for strategic leadership in healthcare within Australasia and on a more international platform and attract more than 2,000 delegates by 2020.

The Congress Lead Fellow is mandated to work with the Fellowship Committee and College staff to implement the agreed Congress themes, a ‘Shared Interests’ focus and multi-delivery format, as contained in the Congress Guidelines and other communications issued for the purpose.  The Congress Lead Fellow is Chair of the Congress Organising Committee (COC) and a member of the Fellowship Committee. The Congress Lead Fellow-elect supports the Lead Fellow to provide guidance and leadership to the COC ensuring transparency and fairness in all procedural matters.  

The Congress Lead Fellow, Lead Fellow-elect and the COC will work with key stakeholders to drive implementation of the Board’s strategic vision for a ‘shared interests’ Congress model including: 

  • participation in the Congress Planning Forum to identify Congress themes, speakers and topics in alignment with long term strategic direction 
  • ensuring collaboration, moderation and inclusion to recognise the concept of Specialists. Together 
  • leading the Congress Organising Committee to coordinate the development of an innovative, cohesive, scientifically robust and market responsive cross-disciplinary scientific program for Congress which is aligned with the needs of Fellows and Trainees
  • superior relationship management skills to work with and engage the different stakeholders in our broad organisation while also realising the vision.

EOIs are therefore sought from Fellows across all Divisions, Faculties and Chapters, from Australia and New Zealand for both a Congress Lead Fellow and a Lead Fellow-elect.

For further details on the Congress Lead Fellow and Lead Fellow-elect including position descriptions and EOI forms contact 

To express your interest, please submit a completed EOI form, a supporting statement of up to 300 words outlining how your qualifications, experience and interests will contribute, and your current CV to by COB Friday, 14 October 2016.

Ideally the successful applicant will be available to attend a face-to-face planning meeting on Thursday, 24 November 2016 in Sydney.

The Board reserves the right to approve the final recommendation.


RACP Trainees Facebook Group

Exciting news! An RACP Trainees Facebook Group has been created. The purpose of the group is to provide a space for Trainees to meet and share their experiences, tips, events and ideas with each other as well as receive Trainee relevant material from the RACP. 

The page is a closed Facebook group, only accessible to RACP Trainees. It’s a place to meet online and swap news and views. 

The aim is to use this well-known social media platform to create a vibrant online Trainee community.

The ​RACP will post Trainee related news and material, but it’s up to Trainees to post regularly, sharing thoughts, ideas, links to interesting articles and more – which will make this page a must visit destination for the RACP Trainee community.

To join the group click ‘join group’ on the group page and email your MIN number and a link to your Facebook page to the ​RACP’s social media coordinator Once your RACP membership has been confirmed, you will have access to the group and can post. 

Please bear in mind when posting, that Facebook’s rules regarding comments apply, and that doctor-patient confidentiality must always be preserved.

Important changes to exams take effect soon

As examination registration dates near, it is important that you are aware of changes to exam policies that will impact all Trainees.

The Progression Through Training and Flexible Training Policies were reviewed in 2015 through a member-led policy revision process. As a result, a number of changes will apply from 1 January 2017 in Australia. For all New Zealand Trainees, these changes will apply to the 2017 year which commences 12 December 2016 for Registrars and 27 November 2016 for House Officers.

The changes include: ​

  • a reduction in the number of Divisional Written and Clinical Examination attempts, from five attempts to three attempts per examination. Transitional arrangements for the Divisional Examination will support the introduction of the changes without disadvantaging current Basic Trainees
  • new Trainees from 2017 (for all New Zealand Trainees this is from 12 December 2016 for Registrars and 27 November 2016 for House Officers), must now complete 36 months of Basic Training (BT), including examination attempts, within eight years. There will be a five year time limit between completing BT and commencing Advanced Training.

These changes aim to support timely progression through training while maintaining flexible training options for all Trainees.

Further information on these polices and the transitional arrangements, including the full policy document and At a Glance document can be found on the RACP website or by contacting the RACP at (Australia) or (New Zealand). 

Important changes to the 2017 Divisional Examinations 

There are a number of important changes to the 2017 Divisional Examinations that will impact all examination applicants. These include:  

  • changes to the 2017 application process  

- late applications for the Written and Clinical Examinations will not be accepted
- application reminders will be discontinued
- if you are an Australian candidate re-sitting the Clinical Examination in 2017 you may   be allocated to an examination site in New Zealand     

  • intention to sit examinations​

- you are requested to indicate your intended examination dates. 

Please see the Communications to Basic Trainees – 2017 Divisional Examinations on the RACP website for more details on these changes and additional application information.   

Examination dates 

The 2017 dates for the Divisional Written Examination and Divisional Clinical Examinations are now confirmed and are available on the RACP website

RACP Basic Training Curricula is changing

The RACP is seeking feedback from its members and external stakeholders on its revised curriculum standards for Adult Internal Medicine and Paediatrics & Child Health. 

The new curricula have been designed to make competency-based training and progression, practical in the workplace, replacing tick-box training requirements with real-life work tasks. The curricula consist of three main parts – standards, teaching and learning, and assessment.

In the same way our clinical practice needs to evolve in response to developments in our understanding of health and illness, so too does our physician education and training. This includes the way teaching, learning and assessment are designed and delivered.

The Basic Training curricula will be further developed over the next few years, led by the dedicated group of 36 Fellows and seven Trainees who make up the Basic Training Curriculum Review Working Groups.

The Working Groups would like your feedback on the proposed curricula. You can have your say via a series of questions on our webpage which is best viewed using Google Chrome.

For more information on the Basic Training Curricula Renewal, phone +61 2 8076 6390 or email:

Expressions of Interest for STP and IRTP 2016 opening soon

A new initiative to fund 100 additional training positions, Integrated Rural Training Pipeline (IRTP), has been announced by the Department of Health (DoH).  

Allocation of the IRTP training positions will be phased over two years, 50 released in 2017 and 2018 respectively.

The IRTP will be an extension of the existing Specialist Training Program (STP) and is focused on enabling a Trainee to complete the majority of their training within a rural region.  

To meet the criteria for IRTP a Trainee has to spend 66 per cent of training time in an RA2-5 setting.  

The RACP has been allocated six IRTP training positions for 2017.

The DoH recently approved an extension of the current STP and the Tasmanian Project, to include the 2017 academic year. Therefore, training posts and funding arrangements that applied in 2016 will remain as is until the end of 2017. 

Funding may be offered to a training position on the reserve list when an existing site has had funding discontinued.  However, there will be no new STP training positions available in 2017.

The Department of Health will be undertaking an Expression of Interest (EOI) process for facilities that are interested in hosting a STP/IRTP post in 2017, with the potential to host in future years. 

The EOI will be a simple online process that is expected to be open in October for a four week period. The RACP will advise on when the EOI period opens, when dates become available.

Training sites wishing to apply must meet the STP aims and objectives as well as the new IRTP criteria.

An EOI will also be conducted for the STP, for the purposes of building on the reserve list only.

For further information, please contact the RACP STP Unit at or on +61 2 9256 5476. 

RACP Quarterly – read it online today

Articles in the September/October 2016 edition of RACP Quarterly include: 

  • Patient centred care and consumer engagement
  • All in a good night's rest
  • Indigenous doctor dedicated to Indigenous health
  • Changing of the guard

Download RACP Quarterly September/October 2016 (PDF 4MB).

IMJ September 2016 issue

The IMJ September 2016 issue is now available. This issue covers:  

  • Pyrexia of unknown origin.
  • Gene editing and xenotransplantation.
  • Spinning-induced rhabdomyolysis in young females.
  • Dementia: standardising pathways to assessment.
  • Eosinophilic myocarditis: cases of a rare condition.
  • Omalizumab in a severe allergic asthma population with comorbidities.

The Editor’s Choice for the month is an original article by Socié, Gérard ; Schrezenmeier, Hubert; Muus, Petra; Lisukov, Igor; Roeth, Alexander; Kulasekararaj, Austin; Lee, Jong Wook; Araten, David; Hill, Anita; Brodsky, Robert; Urbano-Ispizua, Alvaro; Szer, Jeff; Wilson, Amanda; Hillmen, Peter  ( pages 1044- 1053) - Changing prognosis in paroxysmal nocturnal haemoglobinuria disease subcategories; an analysis of International PNH Registry.
This issue also features a Clinical Perspective paper titled ‘Pyrexia of unknown origin’ on which Pomegranate’s latest podcast “Fever of unknown origin​" is based.

Read the IMJ (Member login required).


Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health

Read the latest articles including: 

  • Power of visual images
  • Fifty years of paediatric neurology in Australasia 
  • Hospital admission for infection during early childhood influences developmental vulnerabilities at age five years
  • Evaluation of an e-learning resource on approach to the first unprovoked seizure

Read the Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health (member login required).

Doctors urged to march against treatment of asylum seekers and refugees

Dr David Berger, District Medical Officer in Emergency Medicine, Broome, WA, is calling on all doctors to march in protest of the treatment of asylum seekers and refugees, in Sydney 5 November 2016.

Dr Berger said the march calls for:

  • an end to the detention of children
  • an end to the mandatory, indefinite detention of asylum seekers
  • closure of the Australian detention camps which have been outsourced to Nauru and PNG, which deliver appalling conditions at arms-length in a dark regime beyond independent scrutiny
  • standards of medical care for asylum seekers comparable with those for the Australian public
  • independent oversight of healthcare and conditions for asylum seekers
  • repeal of Section 42 of the 2015 Border Force Act, which gags disclosures from the detention regime under threat of imprisonment.

“I believe…that it is our ethical duty as physicians to protest such appalling treatment in any legal way we can…”, Dr Berger said.

For further information, please see Dr Berger’s September 2016 editorial ‘It’s time for doctors to march’ in The BMJ.

Expression of Interest 

EOI: Content Development Working Group – End-of-Life Care Qstream Course closes Friday, 28 October 2016

The Learning Support Unit (LSU) is seeking to appoint a group of six Fellows and Advanced Trainees to form a Content Development Working Group for the End-of-Life Care Qstream course. 

The course will be comprised of 10 case studies focused on end-of-life care.  The case studies aim to open up discussions amongst Fellows, resulting in a change of practise around end-of-life care.

The role of the Content Development Working Group is to develop the course content for the physician audience. Key responsibilities of the Working Group include: 

  • attending a face-to-face workshop to learn more about the Qstream platform, and establish the topics and content of the cases and delegate writing tasks (meeting location TBC)
  • finalising case development via teleconferences and emails following the face-to-face workshop.

Finalising the course content may span over eight weeks via teleconferences and emails following the face-to-face meeting.

Interested Fellows and Advanced Trainees must submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) form and a copy of their CV. You should include a brief supporting statement outlining how your qualifications, experience and interest in educational content development will contribute to the objectives of this Working Group.

Appointed members will be eligible for CPD credits.

The face-to-face meeting date will depend on availability, but will ideally take place in late November/December.

Expressions of Interest close on Friday, 28 October 2016. 

To request an EOI form, or for further information, please contact Rebecca Lewis: or +61 2 8247 6239. 

About Qstream

Qstream is a novel, evidence-based, online delivery methodology in which short case scenarios accompanied by multiple choice or short answer questions, are emailed to participants over a period of time. 

Learning is reinforced over time. Qstream has been demonstrated to significantly improve knowledge retention and have a positive impact on clinician behaviour.

​EOI: College Education Committee Member with specialist skills in education and training, closes 14 October 2016

The CEC is the College’s peak body for governance of education. It brings together educational expertise and representation from the Divisions, Faculties and Chapters to guide strategic direction and make key high level decisions on all aspects of training and lifelong learning. 

The College is now seeking to appoint a member with specialist skills in education and training to join the CEC. Meetings are held five times per year, three times at the College in Sydney and twice via teleconference.

Key responsibilities of the CEC are to: 

  • ensure consistent quality of education and training across all College training programs
  • consider the College’s strategic intent and ensure that it is implemented in education policy and program change
  • develop policy for all College training programs
  • monitor and evaluate all College training programs.

The successful candidate will possess the following:  

  • post-graduate qualification in medical education, adult learning or other higher education
  • experience in the elements of College programs, including curricula, assessment, teaching and learning, accreditation, and education policy 
  • experience in the development and evaluation of educational programs 
  • knowledge of the role of Specialist Medical Colleges within the Australian and New Zealand health systems.

Those interested are invited to submit an Expression of Interest form and CV, including a supporting statement outlining how their knowledge, qualifications, experience and interest in Education and Training will contribute to the objectives of the CEC. Documentation must be sent to by Friday, 14 October 2016.

Ideally the successful applicant will be available to attend a face-to-face meeting on Friday, 24 February 2017 in Sydney.

For further information, please refer to the CEC By-Laws or contact


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