The President's Message 12 August 2016

We’re now approaching a further milestone in our Next Generation Learning with a focus on renewing the way we educate future medical specialists.

Later this month some of the College’s most experienced medical educators will take a critical look at how we assess and accredit the learning environment for advanced training.  

We currently have 535 hospitals, training facilities and training networks across Australia and New Zealand who are approved by us to deliver physician training. 

We’re currently reviewing the way we accredit all of them.

On 26 August in Sydney I will join members of the College Education Committee as well as Chairs of the Advanced Training and Education Committees from our Divisions, Faculties and Chapters, to look in particular at how we accredit advanced training.

Advanced training is arguably what ultimately defines us as specialists.

It’s when we truly begin to focus on one of the 41 rich and diverse specialties that our College offers.

Both basic and advanced training are equally important in their own respects, but each has different foci for accreditation.  

We have proposed that generic measures such as appropriate learning environments and the culture of training organisations should be used as a yardstick.

High quality management of training, skilled supervisors that are supported in their teaching role, and effective feedback are the sorts of things we believe we should be looking for.

We need to be confident that these high level principles are rigorous enough as a framework, to apply to advanced training organisations, as well as basic training providers.

This forum will be a chance to take a careful and considered view of these important proposed changes to accreditation.

As always, your College will rely on the experience and collective knowledge of its Fellows to direct us to the right outcome.

Dr Catherine Yelland
President, RACP


Competency-based Medical Education with Dr Jason Frank, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada

The RACP was ​​honoured to have Dr Jason Frank from the Office of Specialty Education, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC), present at its Competency-Based Medical Education (CBME) workshop in Sydney this week.

The RACP is working towards renewing its 40 curricula to make competency-based training and progression practical in the workplace, replacing tick-box training requirements with real-life work tasks.

International collaboration is important to the success of the RACP’s curricula renewal. With the RCPSC also in the process of renewing its curricula, Dr Frank discussed different strategies for leading and supporting the transition to CBME.

Consultation on the RACP draft renewed curricula for Basic Training in Adult Internal Medicine and Paediatrics & Child Health begins next week.

Be aware of false medical conference marketing

The College would like to caution members to be aware of online scams promoting medical conferences that do not in fact exist.

We have recently been alerted by one Fellow who signed up and paid for a conference in 2016 however when he and other participants turned up there was no event.  

The conference organiser’s website and brochures appeared legitimate and advertised an event on `Neurorehabilitation’ in Brisbane run by Conference Series LLC, based in Culver City, California. It featured international speakers and included references to an organising committee. Upfront payment was requested in US dollars.

When the Fellow contacted two members of the organising committee, they confirmed that they had no involvement with this and were not aware that they were being used to advertise this. One of these doctors is also a Fellow of the College. 

We would advise members to use healthy scepticism when evaluating conference offerings, particularly those being marketed internationally. 

If you are uncertain about a conference offering, let Fellowship Relations know at

RACP joins ‘Caring for Cognitive Impairment’ Campaign

The RACP has joined the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care national campaign to improve the prevention, recognition, and treatment of delirium, and to provide high-quality care for people with cognitive impairment in hospitals.

The RACP is committed to raising awareness of the impacts of cognitive impairment, and working proactively to promote best possible care.

The campaign website contains details on how individuals and organisations can support the campaign, and resources including:

  • tailored practical action lists
  • quarterly newsletters (subscription is optional)
  • access to webinars on key topics
  • campaign resources and information
  • tips from your colleagues on what worked for them
  • opportunities to share your ​support on social media
  • opportunities to share your stories

Medicines Australia member companies to publish information on payments and transfers of value

Medicines Australia has advised that its member companies will publish information on payments and transfers of value to health practitioners, with the first report to be published on 31 August 2016.

Member companies have contacted the individual health practitioners affected, to inform them of this and validate their data.

This is in accordance with the increased transparency provisions in the 18th edition of the Medicines Australia Code of Conduct. Further details can be found on the Medicines Australia website 

Language used in Down Syndrome pre-natal screening

Down Syndrome Tasmania has advised the RACP of its recent anti-discrimination complaint regarding language used to describe pre-natal screening, specifically the use of ‘risk’ to describe the probability of a Down syndrome diagnosis.

The Tasmanian Anti‐Discrimination Commissioner found that this language is a possible breach of the Anti‐Discrimination Act 1998. 

The RACP will engage with Down Syndrome Tasmania and the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) on this issue.

RANZCOG has recently undertaken a review of their documentation, replacing words such as 'risk' and 'abnormality' with ‘chance/probability/likelihood/condition’.

Members may find the resources on the following websites useful to help communicate a diagnosis of Down syndrome and provide up to date information and links to support groups for parents.
Down Syndrome Diagnosis Network
Down Syndrome Australia

Draft Safety and Quality Model for Colonoscopy

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (ACSQHC) is inviting feedback on its draft safety and quality model for colonoscopy (the draft model) and its implementation.

This project was commissioned by the Australian Government in the context of anticipated growth in colonoscopy resulting from the planned expansion of the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program. 

The draft model was developed through a national consultation process and a review of Australian and international experiences and consists of three main elements: 

  • A clinical care standard for the delivery of quality colonoscopy services. 
  • Certification and periodic re-certification of colonoscopist performance. 
  • Collation and review of indicators and performance targets in accordance with a standard national data set. 

Members of the College are invited to provide their comments to ACSQHC via a short online survey.

You can read the ACSQHC’s consultation paper.

The consultation closes on Wednesday, 31 August 2016.

National Guidelines for On-screen Display of Clinical Medicines Information

The National Guidelines for On-screen Display of Clinical Medicines Information has been released.

The guidelines were developed by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care, with significant support from the National eHealth Transition Authority and the Australian Government Department of Health. 

The guidelines are intended for those developing, assessing, procuring and implementing electronic medication records and information systems for medication management and electronic prescribing. 

It’s time to put the brakes on Northern Territory’s open speed zones

This week the RACP has launched a campaign video highlighting the dangers of open speed zones in the Northern Territory.

The video is a joint initiative of the RACP, the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) and the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine (ACEM). It aims to boost public awareness of the devastating consequences of high speed road accidents and calls for an end to open speed zones in the Northern Territory.

Featuring Dr Christine Connors, ex-Chair of the RACP’s Northern Territory Committee, the video reminds us that where open speed zones are in place, everyone is at risk. A slight increase in speed can mean a huge increase in the risk of serious injury or death in a motor vehicle accident.

As the Northern Territory election on 27 August approaches the RACP, RACS and ACEM will continue to call on the Northern Territory government to end open speed zones and implement policies that put the health and safety of Territory road users first.

For more information about the RACP's advocacy to end open speeds follow #NTSafeSpeeds on twitter and Facebook or see the State and Territory Priorities page on the RACP website.

Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health

Read the latest articles including:

  • Anger and aggression
  • Variation in paediatric clinical practice: A review of care in inpatient, outpatient and emergency department settings
  • Vitamin A deficiency and xerophthalmia in children of a developed country
  • Parents as advocates
 Read the Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health July 2016 (member login required).

Thank you to outgoing members of the Continuing Professional Development Committee

The RACP would like to thank Fellows who have recently completed their terms within the Continuing Professional Development Committee (CPD Committee).  

The CPD Committee encourages and oversees CPD participation in the College. It works with RACP management to ensure the College CPD program meets the needs of the Fellowship. The Committee is also involved in creating valuable new content for Fellows, including the Pomegranate podcasts and Curated Collections.

Outgoing members

Associate Professor Ruth Marshall: After completing the Learning, Evaluation and Planning (LEAP) framework auspices of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists about 10 years ago, I was inspired to take up the position of Australasian Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine representative. I realised that going to conferences was only a small part of lifelong learning. My position on the CPD Committee allowed me to get the message across that as physicians, training is only a small part of practice. It was exciting to see the College embrace MyCPD online and transition to one CPD program for all Fellows last year.
Dr Michael Watson joined the CPD Committee to promote the message that communication between Fellows is good for CPD, good for the College and great for Fellows, or as our College’s founding Fellows put it – to promote “friendship and scientific stimulus”.
Dr Hamish McCay: Working on the CPD Committee over the last five years has been challenging and stimulating. Trying to negotiate and balance increasing Medical Council requirements with acceptability and value to Fellows remains a significant challenge for our College. I encourage others to get involved and help guide the future of professional development for physicians.
Dr Rob Gillett has been a member of the CPD Committee for the past six years. During this time he has overseen the transition of the Australasian Faculty of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (AFOEM) based CPD program unified within the goals of the College-wide program. He has maintained a keen interest in education and has been a recipient of the College John Sands Medal as well as the AFOEM President award for services to education and training. He has kept abreast of the changes evolving in the area of revalidation and his current interests include the College Multi Source Feedback (MSF) trial as well as the concept of appraisal.

Attention Tasmanian trainees: abstract submissions for RACP Trainee Research Awards extended 

The deadline for abstract submissions for the RACP Trainee Research Awards for Excellence has been extended to Wednesday, 24 August.
The annual RACP Trainee Research Awards for Excellence identifies and acknowledges the best trainee research presentations in the fields of adult medicine and paediatric medicine. 
Abstracts are now being accepted for regional competitions from trainees enrolled in: 

  • Adult Medicine Division
  • Paediatrics & Child Health Division
  • Australasian Faculty of Occupational and Environmental Medicine
  • Australasian Faculty of Public Health Medicine
  • Australasian Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine
  • Australasian Chapter of Addiction Medicine
  • Australasian Chapter of Palliative Medicine
  • Australasian Chapter of Sexual Health Medicine.

This is an excellent opportunity for trainee representatives to present their ideas and research in a professional and public setting.

The RACP Trainee Research Awards for Excellence are funded from donations received from Fellows and trainees.

For more information, including abstract submission information, go to the RACP Trainee Research Awards for Excellence page.

Find out about abstract submission and event dates for each region.

Expression of Interest

Content Development Working Group – Diagnostic Error Qstream Course 

The Supporting Physicians’ Professionalism and Performance (SPPP) team is seeking to appoint up to six Fellows and Advanced Trainees to form a Content Development Working Group for the Diagnostic Error Qstream course. 

The College collaborated with the New South Wales Clinical Excellence Commission in early 2016 to develop a Diagnostic Error course. The aim of the course was to reduce morbidity and mortality by improving clinician awareness of risks associated with diagnostic error.

Following the course success, the College is now looking to form a Content Development Working Group to further develop the complexity of the course content for the physician audience. Key responsibilities of the Working Group include:

  • a four hour face-to-face workshop to learn more about the Qstream platform, review the existing course content and delegate writing tasks to refine/rewrite the case studies (meeting location TBC)
  • investigating different approaches to presenting the course questions to maximise the value of the content.

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 CV (relevant to the project). The CV 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.
Successful applicants must be available to attend the four hour workshop in late October/early November (date to be confirmed).

Expressions of Interest close on Thursday, 1 September 2016 and an EOI form can be downloaded from the SPPP webpage. For further information, please contact Lilian Tan at or +61 3 9927 7721.

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. 

Next Generation Physician Advocacy Working Party

The College Policy and Advocacy Committee is seeking Expressions of Interest from Fellows and trainees for its new Next Generation Physician Advocacy Working Party.

The Working Party will develop an advocacy strategy and provide jurisdictionally appropriate leadership to support the College’s education reforms covering new selection processes, new curricula and new services and support to address capacity to train issues. Further information on these reforms are outlined in the Next Generation Learners: Education renewal strategy paper.

If you are interested in joining the College’s efforts in this area please download and complete the Expression of Interest Application Form. When completing the application form you should refer to the Working Party’s Next Generation Working Party Terms of Reference.

Expressions of Interest must be submitted by close of business on Monday, 29 August 2016 to 

If you have any further questions regarding the establishment of the Working Party, please email Rebecca Warne, Manager – Policy and Advocacy at

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