The President's Message – 13 July 2018

Its been a busy month since my previous post, with lots of travel and some changes within the College executive team.

As many of you would have seen in earlier correspondence, Linda Smith has finished in the position of CEO after three and half years in the role and three previous years in a senior position with the College.

I would like to extend my thanks to Linda for her hard work and tireless commitment to the College. She has left the College in better shape than when she entered the role.

Dr Mary-Ellen Miller, a former RACP CEO, has been appointed as interim CEO for a five-week period while recruitment for a new CEO is underway.

During this transition, the Board’s focus will remain on our strategic priorities including:

  • education renewal and delivering the learning, teaching and assessment program
  • progressing the RACP Indigenous Strategic Framework
  • advancing the International Strategy throughout the South Pacific.

The Board will have a strategy day on 19 July, where we will discuss these and emerging priorities for the Board’s tenure. I hope to provide you with an update on these in my next bulletin.

I recently travelled to the United Kingdom (UK) to attend the 500th Anniversary of the Royal College of Physicians (RCP). The trip was an excellent opportunity to reinforce and continue our international connections.

Whilst there I attended a roundtable, hosted by the President of the Royal College, Professor Dame Jane Dacre with other attendees from the RCP, Hong Kong, Ireland, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

We discussed opportunities for collaboration, especially around medical education and the medical workforce.  Following the Barwa Garba case we had a detailed discussion about medical negligence and what this case means for our members. This gave me an opportunity to reflect on how the RACP should consider the implications of the outcomes of the case in our ongoing conversation about the health and wellbeing of trainees and physicians.

I met with Professor Russell Viner the President of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) later in the week, where we discussed one of the main goals of my presidency; to focus on a child’s health in the first 1000 days of life.

I was invited to attend the RCP’s Annual Conference Innovation in Medicine 2018 which was held over three days. The conference gave me an opportunity hear about the innovative work that is happening in other parts of the world and to appreciate that we are facing similar challenges - like how we use data to lead improvements in care, how we build sustainable systems and how we embrace technology in this fast-changing world.

I attended sessions focused on patient-centred care and working in partnership with our patients. Dr Danielle Fore from the New York School of Medicine gave a thought-provoking talk on the therapeutic power of listening to the patient and understanding what they really need rather than what we might think they need. 

One of the more interesting sessions talked about how medicine would be practised in the next 30 years. There is an expectation that genetics will transform the way physicians practise. The tools for engaging with our patients are rapidly changing and advancements in the pharmaceutical industry through digital platforms and artificial intelligence will change the way we diagnose and prescribe.

I had the pleasure of hosting a UK alumni cocktail reception at Australia House with nearly 30 UK based members. It was a great opportunity to hear about the issues that are important to them, and I was able to update them on the activities of the College.

I met with Professor David Black, the Medical Director of the Joint Royal Colleges of Physicians Training Board and Sir Terence Stephenson, Chairman and Una Lane, Director of Registration and Revalidation at the General Medical Council.

I also had the pleasure of meeting with the RCP Education Directorate during my visit. This was a good opportunity to discuss our similarities and share lessons learnt. We focused on different approaches to delivering CPD activities and selection into training. I hope this meeting will create further opportunities for collaboration and knowledge sharing.

One of the recurring themes over many of these meetings was the expanding opportunities for trainees and specialists who want to spend time in the UK working in the NHS.  The visa issues, registration complexities and curricula were all issues we wish to work with our UK colleagues to smooth the path for those who might wish to go.

Now I’ve returned, the Board and I have made a commitment to meet with as many members as possible so we can understand your needs. The first such meeting will take place at Royal Prince Alfred (RPA) Hospital in Sydney next week.

Kind regards,

Associate Professor Mark Lane
RACP President

Focus on sustainability

Environmentally sustainable healthcare was the focus during the most recent meeting of the Australian Council of Presidents of Medical Colleges (CPMC).

RACP President Associate Professor Mark Lane led a roundtable discussion on the health risks posed by climate change and extreme weather events, including the additional burden placed on healthcare delivery. To highlight concerns, the RACP developed a communique which eight medical colleges have signed.

The CPMC heard from Dr David Pencheon OBE, founding director of the National Health Service (NHS) Sustainable Development Unit in England. This unit reduced NHS carbon emissions by 11 per cent from 2007 to 2015, achieving a £1.85 billion saving while also increasing services by 18 per cent. Dr Pencheon cited these landmark developments in the United Kingdom as the first steps in a transition towards a more sustainable and resilient healthcare system, noting that “it is vital for healthcare services to address the nature of energy use of the healthcare sector as well as implementing effective risk management strategies".

Attendees noted the critical need for more energy efficient operations in Australian healthcare services, with recent findings from the Lancet indicating that Australia’s healthcare system now contributes to more than seven per cent of the nation’s carbon footprint, and that hospitals and pharmaceutical companies were together responsible for two-thirds of this carbon footprint.

The RACP has been advocating for:

  1. a national approach to achieve significant carbon reductions in healthcare, including appropriate metrics and measurements of the total carbon footprints of the Australian health sector
  2. the Australian Government to establish Healthcare Sustainability Units, similar to the model used by the NHS.

The RACP will continue to play a part in growing the network of health and medical organisations calling for action on climate change.

Grants on offer

Up to $10,000 in professional development funding is on offer to RACP Fellows who live and work in rural and remote Australia. 

The grants are being offered as part of round three of the Support for Rural Specialists in Australia Program.

Find out more

Clinical Examination results and Advanced Training placements

The Clinical Examinations results have been delayed to Thursday, 23 August and we are working with state and territory health services representatives to reduce the impact on the Advanced Training (AT) recruitment and offer process. There was a higher pass rate for the Written Examination than in previous years which flowed through to a higher demand for Adult Medicine Clinical Exam places. Through the support of our networks and local health services in Australia and New Zealand all eligible candidates have a Clinical Examination place, demonstrating their commitment to trainees.

We understand this delay may cause some anxiety for candidates and if you have any further questions please email examinations@racp.edu.au. You ​can also discuss your concerns with your local Director of Physician Education (DPE).

Read the latest RACP Quarterly

Stories focusing on clinical ethics, what artificial intelligence can and can't do, a patient's view of medical education and managing mental health challenges feature in the June/July edition of RACP Quarterly.

Read now

Improvements to curricula standards to support Basic Trainees

The improved Basic Training curricula standards are now available on the RACP website for trainees, supervisors and DPEs to familiarise themselves with and to use as a learning resource to support Basic Training. Emails were also sent to supervisors, trainees and supervisors last week.

Basic Training curricula standards

The Basic Training curricula standards are made up of Competencies, Entrustable Professional Activities and Knowledge Guides.

Competencies – to guide the capabilities for clinical practice for trainees (be).

Entrustable Professional Activities (EPAs) – specify the key work tasks and guide trainee clinical experience or activities (do).

Knowledge Guides – the baseline level of knowledge trainees need to acquire. These help trainees prepare for the 2020 Divisional Written Exam (know).

The Knowledge Guides are the only components of the improved curriculum standards that will be used in assessment of final year trainees in 2020 and this will be limited to the Divisional Written Exam.

We are responding to feedback from trainees, supervisors and patients to make the curricula more relevant to everyday practice, provide better guidance for exams and increase the focus on professionalism.

Additional resources and improvements

  • In the coming months, further information will be provided to trainees, supervisors and DPEs on how to use the new curricula standards to support learning within the current Basic Training program. This guidance will relate to preparation for the 2020 Divisional Written Examination.
  • The College Learning Series is an online resource consisting of lectures and is based on the improved curricula standards for Basic Trainees.
  • We are in the process of developing improved learning, teaching and assessment programs, aligned to the Basic Training curricula standards. In the coming months members will have the opportunity to provide input into this program of work.

More information

We welcome feedback on the curricula standards and trainees are encouraged to complete the feedback form on the website.

Mid-year Progress Reports and ​Annual PREP tools

A reminder for trainees that Mid-year Progress Reports are due on 31 July for New Zealand trainees and 31 August for Australian trainees, if your Director of Physician Education or Educational Supervisor has not already submitted these on your behalf. 

Annual PREP Tools should be completed throughout the year and are due by no later than 20 December 2018 for New Zealand and 31 January 2019 for Australian trainees.  Visit the ‘Dates & Requirements’ tab on the Basic Training Portal for more details.

Mid-year Registrations

Registrations for the second half of the year are now open and close on 31 July for New Zealand candidates and 31 August for Australian candidates. If you have only registered for the first half of the year, ​remember to prospectively register your terms for the remainder of the year via our online registration system

Any prospective registrations not submitted by 31 August (Australia) and 31 July (New Zealand) will result in unapproved training time which will extend the length of training programs.

Support and information

If you need assistance to compete your PREP assessments and tools contact us via:

Discover your benefits

Partnered with Member Advantage, your RACP membership gives you access to exclusive discounts across a range of products, financial and lifestyle benefits.

  • Travel benefits including savings on accommodation, specially negotiated travel insurance and discounted corporate rates on airline lounge memberships.
  • Lifestyle benefits including savings on health insurance premiums, gyms, credit cards, international money transfers and financial planning.
  • Leisure activities including savings on adventure experiences and iconic activities, discounted dining and pre-purchased gift cards, movie tickets and package tours.

Visit your RACP Member Advantage website to discover your full range of benefits or call 1300 853 352 to find out more.

Become a clinical champion

Are you interested in getting involved in Policy & Advocacy within RACP? The Evolve initiative offers an opportunity to advocate for high-value, high-quality care in your specialty.

Visit the Evolve website for more information. 

How to have difficult conversations

The Evolve training ​resources listed below provide examples of how to include the Evolve Top 5 List recommendations in difficult conversations between:
   •   
a patient and physician (Associate Professor Mark Lane)
   •   
a carer and physician (Dr Sarah Dalton)
   •   
an Advanced Trainee and a Fellow (Dr Brendan Ng and Dr Nick Buckmaster)

Internal Medicine Journal July edition released

You can read the most recent Internal Medicine Journal (IMJ) online now. 

The Editor's Choice for the month is​ an original ​article about therapy-related acute myeloid leukaemia and  myelodysplastic syndrome in Victoria.

Read the IMJ

New Journal of Paediatrics & Child Health

The July edition of the Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health is online now.

Articles featured include:
  • Human immunodeficiency virus status disclosure and education for children and adolescents in Papua New Guinea
  • Parent–child genetic testing for familial hypercholesterolaemia in an Australian context
  • Paediatric thoracic empyema in the tropical North Queensland region of Australia: Epidemiological trends over a decade

Read now

TGA Advisory committee positions

Fellows with an interest in supporting the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and its function as a best practice regulator are invited to submit expressions of interest for positions on TGA Statutory Advisory Committees.

Find out more

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